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Showing posts from 2021

Easy Moose Sausage Recipe

For all the successful moose hunters out there, here is the easiest homemade sausage recipe I have tried. It's very tasty and easy to make.  It also makes a great snack on the trail. Easiest Moose Sausage Recipe 1 pound ground pork (or pork sausage) 4 pounds ground moose (or venison, caribou etc.) 1 Tbsp mustard seed 1 tsp liquid smoke 1 tsp garlic powder 2 tsp ground pepper 1 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp cayenne pepper 2 Tbsp brown sugar 1/2 tsp onion powder 2-1/2 Tbsp Morton Tender Quick 1 cup cold water 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (optional) 3-5 slices of jalapeno (optional) Directions: Mix all ingredients well in a glass mixing bowl. Put in refrigerator for 3-5 days to cure (depending on how much you want the meat to cure.) Mix every day. On the final curing day (3rd to 5th) day divide meat into 5 equal portions and roll each into a cylinder. Then wrap each roll in aluminum foil, ensuring that the foil’s shiny side faces inward. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Eagle and Symphony Lakes Loop

Why I Like This Hike: This colorful fall hike through the South Fork Valley and into Ship Creek offers stunning views of alpine lakes (Eagle and Symphony), tarns and valleys surrounded by rugged, glaciated mountains. During September and early October (until the first snowfall) you will have the added bonus of vibrant fall colors.  How to Get Ttere: To get started, take the well established trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes which starts from the South Fork trailhead parking lot. (This section can usually be hiked in October and well into winter depending on snow conditions.) For directions and details on the hike to Eagle & Symphony Lakes go here:  Hike to Eagle-symphony-lakes The Nitty-Gritty: Once you have arrived at Eagle Lake (second bridge), proceed across the boulder field to the west side of Symphony Lake where there are several camping spots if you decide to camp for the night. To take the Ship Creek loop back, you will need good weather and navigation skills. Don'

Hike to Eagle & Symphony Lakes

Fall Colors Along the River (Symphony Lake) About This Hike:   This hike through the South Fork Valley offers stunning views of Eagle and Symphony Lakes, tarns and valleys surrounded by rugged, glaciated mountains. During September and early October (until the first snowfall) you will have the added bonus of vibrant fall colors. This trail is considered easy and can usually be hiked well into winter depending on snow conditions.  Directions to the trailhead: Take the Eagle River Loop/Hiland Road exit off the Glenn Highway just past the weigh station. Turn right at the traffic light onto Hiland and continue about eight miles up the road. Take a right onto South Creek and follow it to West River Drive and take another right. The parking lot is on your left. Google Directions  (Eagle Lake & boulder field in the foreground)  The trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes starts from the South Fork parking lot.  It has become  extremely popular and the parking lot fills quickly even on weekday

The Canadian Papers - "Smoke and Mirrors?"

Canadian hypothetical risk assessments have been and are being used as a basis for banning pack llamas on public lands by various government agencies. Do they "pass muster" and are they based on science? Let's take a closer look. It was stated during the August 5, 2021 BLM Virtual Meeting by BLM biologist (Jim Herriges) that BLM’s decision to prohibit pack llamas is based on Canadian hypothetical “Risk Assessments.”  I’d like to point out that the authors of these Canadian papers state (1) “…there is insufficient data available to clearly assess the role of camelids as a source of disease at this time…..” and (2) “Risks from camelids to wildlife in British Columbia remain hypothetical after this risk assessment, as no direct evidence was found to implicate camelids as sources of significant diseases in wildlife in BC or elsewhere.”  So by their own admission, the authors conclude camelid disease transmission is hypothetical and based on conjecture (not science) Furthermor

Lower Eagle River or River Woods Trail (All Season Hike)

The Lower Eagle River trail (also called the River Woods Trail) runs along the Eagle River in Chugach State Park and it's just minutes from downtown Eagle River. Why I Like This Hike:  This is truly an all-season trail that can be hiked all times of the year including winter.  It's an easy walk that offers convenient access with intermittent views of surrounding mountains and opportunity for wildlife viewing. Due to the flat terrain and accessibility, it's a pleasant hike in any season and suitable for all skill levels including kids and elderly.  How to Get There: The trailhead can be accessed from the south side of the Briggs Bridge off the Eagle River Loop Road where there is pubic parking and a boat launch. Google Maps - Briggs Bridge Access The Nitty-Gritty:  From the Briggs Bridge access, the lower Eagle River trail goes east through birch and spruce forest over relatively flat terrain.  Sections of this trail can be very muddy during spring or early summer so waterpr

Attention Llama Owners & Supporters - Comments Needed!

The comment period ended August 20, 2021. Check back here for updates.  ***Thanks to all who made comments!*** The Alaska Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to restrict/prohibit the use of pack llamas in the Eastern Interior Resource Management Area (EI–RMA) based on a perceived disease threat to wild sheep through their Travel Management Plans (TMPs) for the Steese and White Mountain subunits which are currently open for public comment. The TMPs are part of the proposed rule making process that take their direction from a planning document BLM approved in 2016 called the Eastern Interior-Resource Management Plan (EI-RMP). This EI-RMP (planning document) prohibits/restricts pack llamas in the Steese and White Mountains subunits of the BLM-Eastern Interior Management Area based on an unsubstantiated disease threat to wild sheep. Consequently, we are asking for an amendment to the 2016 BLM approved Eastern Interior RMP (planning document) because this will also be necessary to

Hike to Williwaw Lakes and Long Lake

Walrus Lake (Uppermost Williwaw Lake) Overview: The hike to Williwaw Lakes is one of the most beautiful in Alaska's Chugach State Park. This trek which is a short drive from downtown Anchorage, offers a variety of options including day hikes, overnight or multiday adventures so you can make it as easy or difficult as you want. (In the winter, it is also a popular ski trail and can usually be hiked to the lower Williwaw Lake depending on snow conditions.) The trek takes the hiker through alpine tundra amid a variety of alpine flowers, grassy meadows and scrub hemlock. The pristine alpine lakes are situated in a mountainous valley above Anchorage at the base of craggy Mount Williwaw (elev. 5,445 ft.). If you make it to the upper lakes, you will be rewarded with stunning views of surrounding mountains and possible wildlife viewing of dall sheep, moose, coyotes, fox, and various waterfowl. There are plenty of camping opportunities around the Williwaw Lakes (as well as Long Lake if you

Celebrate Llamas!

“Humming Along With Llamas” A conversation with previous President of GALA and current Llama Promotion Committee Chair, Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt Why is National Llama Appreciation day June 21? Over the centuries the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere has been celebrated as a time of re-uniting with and appreciating the natural world. The summer solstice and the appreciation of llamas is a natural and historical fit. Our summer solstice is the winter solstice in the Andes, ancestral home of our llamas. The Andean June solstice celebration continues today with traditional recognition of the power of the natural world, including attention to llamas. ​ What better symbol to acknowledge our summer solstice than to honor and appreciate llamas, one of the world’s oldest surviving animals. And to recognize the gentle nature of these animals who are often referred to as “old souls” as they seem to understand so much about human nature. More here:   LLAMA APPRECIATION DAY June

Awesome Arctic Valley

(Photo: View of Eagle River Southfork Valley from above the Saddle.) The climb to either Mt. Gordon Lyon (elevation 4,134 feet) or Rendezvous Peak (4,101 feet) are shorter less demanding climbs with a breathtaking 360 view of Anchorage, Eagle River, and the South Fork Valley. Starting north: Denali and the Alaska Range (on a clear day) Knik Arm, Highland Mountain, the town of Eagle River (and the river), its surrounding peaks (Magnificent, Baldy, Black Tail Rocks, Harp, Vista & Roundtop), the south fork of Eagle River with Eagle and Symphony Lakes in the distance, Rendezvous Peak, Ship Creek and Indian Valley, Anchorage, Turnagain Arm, and Cook Inlet. You will also get a good view of the Site Summit where Nike Missiles were held years ago. (As a side note, take care not to trespass on the military instillation which borders the trail near the trail head. There may be fines if you are caught.) Why I like this hike:  Good for all skill levels, trail is easy to follow with var

Llama Beans - What are they good for?

What are llama beans? "Llama beans" or “Alpaca Beans” are the droppings / poop / manure produced by these animals. These droppings do look like brown beans so that's where the name comes from. Alpaca or Llama Beans can be used to enhance your soil and produce superior flowers and gardens and are considered to be environmentally friendly. What are llama beans good for?  As per  Home Guides  by Gemma Craig-  How to Use Llama Manure Llama beans or llama manure "is used as a potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous-rich organic fertilizer in gardens and flowerbeds. Unlike fertilizer sprays and sticks, llama manure is earthy-friendly, and reduces your carbon footprint by recycling a part of nature; it has the added benefit of being odor-free. You can either gather llama manure yourself from your own llamas, or order it from a llama farm, then use it as-is to improve your soil and provide plants with much-needed nutrients. Shovel llama manure into a bucket, then moisten the man

Bear Busters!

When walking or hiking with llamas I'm often asked "Do llamas attract bears?" Bears have been known to attack llamas but our experience has been that llamas don't attract bears anymore than other pack stock or pets. In fact the llama's "alarm call" may act as a good deterrent for bears. Llamas are instinctively alert and aware of their surroundings, and usually draw attention to an intruder by making a startling "alarm call" when it senses danger. A llama is usually aware of a bear long before we can see or hear it and will let off their "alarm call" when the unwanted intruder is around. Click on the hyperlink to hear our Raul llama making an alarm call - Llama Alarm Call However, I would not recommend leaving llamas tied out unattended while camping. In that situation llamas would not be able to defend themselves from predators such as bears or even an aggressive dog. Even in suburban areas such as Anchorage, there are

Hike to Heritage Falls, Icicle Creek and Beyond

  View of Eagle River Above the Perch Overview:  The Historic Iditarod (aka Crow Pass) Trail which spans the Girdwood Valley to Eagle River is considered one of the  best trails to hike in the Chugach mountain range because it offers such diversity including glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife. It’s not only a quintessential hiking/backpacking route but an historic portion of the Iditarod Trail that led from Seward to mines in the Interior. It was (reportedly) rebuilt in the 1970s with girl scout labor.  This section of the Historic Iditarod Trail starts from the Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC) and makes for a versatile spring, early summer hike or overnight.  Driving directions to the ERNC :  ERNC Driving Directions Why I Like This Hike: It's a lovely all-season hike (or overnight) suitable for most skill levels. You can make this trek as easy or challenging as you want. If you want a shorter less demanding hike, just make your end point the Perch (mile 4.0), Heritage Falls (mile 5

Attention Travelers: Rental Car Shortage in Alaska

Just a heads up for those planning travel to Anchorage, Alaska this summer, expecting guests or clients,  be sure to check rental car availability before booking a flight.   An unexpected result of the pandemic is a serious shortage of rental cars in some cities including Anchorage. Also check hotel reservations too because staffing shortages are causing problems at hotels and restaurants. To find out more, go here: Hotels and restaurants that survived pandemic face new challenge: staffing shortages Anchorage Daily News: National Shortage of Car Rentals Affecting Alaska