THE 1988 EFFORT
Prospective participants dropped out one-by-one as the departure date neared.
Only my brother Fred and I remained on the departure date.
We set the date of departure for Sept. 26the same date the actual event took place.
We chose the Indian River route to Katlian Bay.
We estimated it to be nine miles distance and we thought we could do it in one long day.
We left early in the day carrying light packs and walked all day in a heavy rainfall.
We could not locate the bear trail that is supposed to go up the saddle between the Three Sisters and the Old Sitka mountain range.
We turned west and began to climb a 2,400 foot mountain even though we knew we could not possibly make it to the top before dark.
We climbed to the 2,200 foot level and made camp.
It was too wet for a fire. We settled for an emergency camp and prepared for a long wet night. I strung a 100 foot nylon cord from our emergency shelter to a small tree about ninety feet away. Whenever we got too cold we jumped up and walked or ran between the trees until we warmed up again. We did that all night.
We rose at daybreak and climbed the remaining distance to the top of the mountain.
We continued along toward Katlian Bay on the alpine tops.
We descended into Katlian Bay down a route I knew years ago. We rapidly moved down the mountain until we ran into an area that had been "clear cut." We spent the entire afternoon crossing that clear cut.
We arrived in Katlian Bay and found large numbers of dog salmon still in the river and still in fairly good condition.
A Coast Guard helicopter flew over us when we were less than 300 yards from the beach. Apparently it was looking for us, but we signaled him that we were alright and heading for the beach.
We arrived on the beach exhausted, soaking wet, hungry and about ten pounds lighter than when we left Sitka two days before.
We conferred with Bill Brady and agreed with his advice to go back to Sitka to confer with the elders.
We did meet with the elders and we agreed that it would be better to postpone any further effort for one year.