Caribou Float Hunt and Driving The Dalton Highway (2009)

While planning the 2008 caribou hunt I became acquainted with Troy Olson. He was one of the references provided by our original air taxi pilot in 2008. Troy had always wanted to do a caribou float hunt. We visited several times during the winter and decided to team up. Troy, two of his friends, Cory Brunclik and Greg Lyga, all from Wisconsin, along with a colleague of mine, Dick Nicolai and myself would make up the hunting party. Dick and I drove the 3200 miles from South Dakota to Anchorage where we met Cory and his crew. We all drove to Fairbanks where we purchased supplies and drove the Dalton Highway (locally known as the “Haul Road”) over 400 miles to Happy Valley. The air taxi picked us up there and flew us along with our gear and rafts to the base of the Brooks Range. We hunted caribou and floated out 45 miles to the Haul Road where we had parked one of the vehicles. Below is a picture log of that adventure.

Dalton Highway Scenes North Slope
Caribou just off Haul Road Grizzly next to pipe line just off Haul Road
Air Taxi Headquarters Breaking Camp at Happy Valley
“Alaska Time” - Waiting for Air Taxi Loading to take off at Happy Valley
Flying in to drop off location - base of Brooks Range First load unloaded and air taxi rady to get 2nd load
Dick Nicolai, first caribou down by 10:30 am the first day Terrain where Dick harvested his caribou
Cory and Jim loading Dick's caribou to pack back to camp Dick headed across the ice towards camp with his load of caribou
Cory Brunclik's first caribou Packing Cory's caribou across ice back to camp
Cory packing his caribou to camp
Greg's first caribou
End of the first day. Dick cooking up grayling for supper Camp-morning of second day
Troy, Greg and Cory found this herd the 2nd morning, just north of camp Troy's first caribou
Troy and Cory dragging raft up river to get Troy's caribou across river End of 2nd day
Greg with a Grayling
Grayling Cory with Arctic Char
Good eating!
Loading rafts to move camp down river Jim makes final adjustments
Loaded ready to go
Loaded ready to go Everything is going smooth
  Stop for a break
Jim's first caribou, gravel bar Heading back to raft with Jim's caribou
Camp site after first day's float - out of wind Storm moving in
Greg shot his 2nd caribou jut after making camp
Ready for the 2nd days float. Notice snow on hills in background
Ready for 2nd day's float. Cold and snowy
View down the river
Coming out point - END
Packing up waiting for vehicles Jim's pickup loaded for trip back to Fairbanks
Jim's loaded pickup Nap time along the haul road
END of a successful caribou float hunt