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POSTCARD - Rich, Wrangle, Alaska

I found Rich by mistake, you see all I wanted to do was Kayak from Wrangle across the channel to a river and walk up to a lake. But I found myself off course and while it was a trail it was a trail into Rich's camp and not the lake. Rich had been living in the wilderness of South West Alaska for more than 10 years with only a few simple luxuries to get him by. A few tarps to keep him dry, a pressure cooker to preserve his game for winter and a small row boat so he could fish and go to town when needed. He is one of the most genuine people I've ever met and one that I'll always remember.

He told stories of hunting and the best ways of preserving meet for the winter when the animals were hard to hunt and I listened with intensity. "Do you have a gun"? I said to him as I had never really seen a gun before, "of course" he replied "would you like to see it and shoot a few rounds" Sure! But after he shot the first round out of the 12 gauge that he had gleefully retrieved from under a nearby fallen tree I was so piss scared that I politely declined. It was intimidating in every way the sound was deafening, the kickback looked painful and I just didn't want to touch it after I saw what it did to the target log.

Even tho I declined to shoot it he still offered it to me so I could go shoot some salmon in a near by stream but again I declined. So I just took his net instead as he was so graciously generous by nature, even after giving me some of his prised preserved moose. This man I almost sure would seem dangerous to most people but I had no reason to think that and had nothing to lose by spending some time with him. Tho when he made the joke about usually killing people with the 12 gauge it was a bit of a conversation killer.