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Adventure Travel Magazine

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Nenana Cabin in the North Alaska Woods

Primitive camping in Alaska has always been on my wish list. In this case, after our grayling fishing trip, we spent the night in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, and it was a fabulous experience.

Lilliam fishingAfter fishing a couple of Nenana tributaries from the boat all morning, the guys dropped me off at the cabin at around noon and left to continue fishing while I began to prepare the place for our stay. Even though we were there in early September, nighttime temperatures dip into the 30's so I quickly brought in enough wood for the night. I lit the wood stove (actually a metal drum converted into a wood stove) to start warming up the cabin. Then I started a nice fire in the outdoor pit just to stay warm and have a place to sit, drinking hot chocolate.

CreekThe one thing we did not plan well was the amount of food we needed to bring. But fortunately, previous visitors to the cabin had left behind coffee, sugar, pancake mix, powdered soups, canned foods, etc.  The cabin also had large jugs of fresh water.  For some reason, when it's cold, we eat more! A two-burner Coleman stove was sufficient to heat as much food as we needed.

After preparing our sleeping bags, I took my fishing gear (and bear repellent) and walked the various trails to fish.  Although it's not FirePiteasy to walk through the brush and into the boggy edges of the river in hip boots, I managed to find several spots to fish.  The fish were not cooperating, but the quiet surroundings with the beautiful colors of early fall were just what I needed!

After Larry returned from the afternoon fishing, we sat around the outdoor fire and listened to the sounds of birds.  Large V-shaped flocks of Canada geese kept flying over us heading south.  Afterwards, we prepared our evening meal (hamburgers and soup) and got ready for the night. No electricity – only a Coleman lantern . So as soon as the sun went down (around 8PM) we got into our downed-filled sleeping bags.

It was my job to keep the wood stove burning all night, which Larry Fishingwas easy. As soon as the wood burned out, it got so cold in the cabin it would wake us up! So I just leaned over, picked up a few pieces of wood to throw into the wood stove and got back into the sleeping bag.  How did the first explorers to Alaska survive these winters with no protection or heat?

Fishing was great, topped off by a wilderness night. This is a great experience offered by outfitter and fishing guide Reed Morisky of www.wildernessfishing.com. Give it a try!



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