Backpack Sheep Hunt…With The Goats

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For the second time this fall Sarah and I dragged our Dad up into the Mountains for an epic sheep backpack sheep hunt.

We woke up with the sun and started hiking. After four hours of hiking in the timber we started breaking out in to the open. Half an hour later we had found an old outfitters camping spot, and set up our tent. We all took a little rest and then started hiking up the valley that was adjacent to us. We sat and glassed for a while, but it started to rain and Sarah and I were getting quite cold. Dad turned around and pointed to a really big mountain that we were at the foot of. “Let’s go up there”, he said, “that will warm you girls up!” So we hauled ourselves straight up the mountain.

Backpack Sheep Hunt

There should have been sheep crawling all over the mountain face but there was not one. We sat and glassed, then walked a little further, then glassed.

Backpack Sheep Hunt

It was getting late and the wind was whistling across the mountain so we started slipping and sliding our way back down to camp.

The next morning, we hiked up a different valley. Half an hour into the hike Dad spotted a mule deer at the top of one of the mountains beside us. Then around noon we spied three mountain goats. We were hiking up the mountains and had just ran out of water when we walked around the corner and almost stepped right in a little stream.  It was trickling right out of the mountain! We drank our fill and replenished our water bottles with the water from the spring, and continued walking. The three of us had just crested the mountain when out of the corner of Dad’s eye he spotted a small herd of about 7 or 8 mountain goats. The herd of goats soon disappeared and we continued on our way. Soon after we had seen the goats we came across a whole bunch of sheep tracks. There were some fresh sheep droppings, and a sheep pee that was only a few hours old! We were really exited for a while, but were disappointed that by the time that we had got to the timber we hadn’t seen, heard, or smelled any sheep. We got back to camp just shy of dark, ate our homemade de-hydrated lasagna, crawled in to bed, and fell into an exhausted sleep.

Backpack Sheep Hunt

The rest of the week followed the same sort of pattern, get up, hike up a mountain, glass all day, and somehow managed to avoid all sheep encounters. We never ended up seeing any sheep on the trip, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Abigail

Backpack Sheep Hunt

Sick of all the words? Check out our videos at our YouTube Channel.

Have you ever been on a backpack sheep hunt?  Tell us about it.  Think separating the sheep from the goats is super biblical?  Whatever.  I’m kinda thinking you should share with your friends anyhow.

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Hunting in the Mountains: Grizzly Bear Encounter

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It’s time to hunt.  I’m not sure what else to say.  Hunting in the Mountains is such a powerful experience.  It’s beautiful, it’s challenging, it provides food, it’s how people survived for a long, long time.  It’s also how they died.

This was more of a scouting trip for a future trip, and as it turned out, a beary exciting trip:

We are no strangers to bears, black or grizzy, they come with the territory up here.  We’ve had a fair number of encounters, even some that raised our blood pressure a notch, but I’ve not surprised a sow Grizz with cubs at short range till now.

hunting in the mountains

We were dragging ourselves through snow and sleet across an alpine meadow when we spotted her at only 20 yards.  To our collective delight, she did not immediately spot and kill us.  We managed to sneak away to about 40 yards before she pinned us.  She popped her jaws as she began to circle us with a nervous lope.  We were definitely not within her circle of trust.  As it turns out, we were also just outside of her kill-before-being-killed personal space, the importance of which should not be understated.  When she got our wind she was quick to turn, leaving the .243 an unproven Grizz defence system.  It was awesome!

hunting in the mountains

hunting in the mountains

hunting in the mountains

The rest of the trip was loaded with beautiful mountains and valleys and streams.  That’s why we’re here, to be amazed.

hunting in the mountains

We were looking for sheep country and I think we found.  There were a few mule deer but no giants, which is all that was open.  We embraced some typical early season snow, which is good for us.  Being stuck in a cold, wet weather with few provisions makes our little house seem so much bigger and warmer when we get back home.

hunting in the mountains

Are you a mountain hunter? Married to a mountain hunter? Want to be a mountain hunter? Think mountain hunters smell funny?  Me too, lets spread the word.  Share this post on your FB or at least write a letter to your grandma and tell her about the awesome blog post you found about hunting in the mountains.

Sick of all the words?  Just go to our youtube channel for pure, don’t-gotta-read-nuthingness.

 

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Hunting Haida Gwaii

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Fishing in Haida Gwaii is awesome.  It’s just too bad there’s nothing else to do when your not out on the water…. Oh wait! You can hunt deer all day long! Deer Hunting Haida Gwaii is like duck hunting; you’re definitely gonna get an opportunity and if you’re successful you can stuff it in your backpack.  This makes it the ideal hunt for the kids:

There are plethora deer on the island, so many that the bag limit is 5 each.  They are tiny and tasty and easy to hunt.  We mostly drove to old clear cuts and walked through them nice and slow.  If we were out for a couple hours we would typically see 5-10 deer.

hunting-haida-gwaii

The season is any buck in the summer and any deer the rest of the year (closed April-June).  With a couple new hunters hoping to harvest their first big game we made certain to wait for the best circumstances.  We passed on a number of bucks that were too far or did not provide the best shot.  Both new hunters got their deer with one shot for a quick, clean kill.

Even I was allowed to shoot one, I think the kids just wanted me to feel like I was contributing.

haida-gwaii-deer-dad

And, as always, we end up having to deal with steak on the beach, Unbelievable!

haida-gwaii-steaks

Check out all our videos on our youtube channel.

 

Feel something about hunting Haida Gwaii?  Feel like telling us how you feel?  Use the feeling buttons to share how you feel about all your hunting feelings!

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Fishing Haida Gwaii

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Looking for an epic hunting, fishing, gathering do it yourself adventure?  Like the kind of trip where all you bring is a fishing rod, firearm and salt and pepper?  You’ve got to consider Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and you’ve got to check out the video, Fishing Haida Gwaii:

The ferry trip between Prince Rupert on the mainland and Skidegate on the island is cool but perhaps the most inhibitive part of the trip (approximately 8 hours and a couple hundred dollars each way).  You can get the ferry info here.  It’s a little pricey compared to staying home but is way cheaper than taking a boat to Maui.

Once on the island there are a couple small towns but mostly it’s a lot of mountain and coastal wilderness.  We headed out on the logging roads to Rennel Sound on the west coast and set up at a forestry site right on the beach.

fishing haida gwaii

In order to tame the wild waters of the north pacific we enlisted our sturdy 14′ aluminum Lund. While it is not advertised as an ocean vessel, I’m certain that Mr Lund had this purpose in mind because it handles the rollers and chop in style.

Once out on the water it was three priorities: 1) don’t die 2) catch fish 3) don’t die

fishing haida gwaii

We managed pretty well, no one died and we ate like Kings.

Jigging for bottom fish is wonderful for the kids or any beginner.  It is as simple as dropping your lure to the bottom and jigging it up and down until dinner strikes.  The other awesome aspect of jigging is the excitement of what you may bring up.  Rock fish are common and super yummy, Ling cod are great and look like mini-water-dragons while halibut are the steak laden cattle of the sea.  We caught them all and even hooked a spring salmon on the halibut rod.

fishing haida gwaii fishing haida gwaii

fishing haida gwaii

We ate fresh fish and chips, roasted halibut fillet, sushi rolls with tempura cod and crab but perhaps none was better than freshly campfire-smoked candied salmon.

fishing haida gwaii smoked salmon in Haida Gwaii

fishing haida gwaii

Fishing Haida Gwaii is a serious adventure for the serious adventurer.  Even for the not-so-serious it is seriously a world class adventure.  Of course, sometimes going to the public library on a Friday night can be an adventure, so whatever floats your boat, seriously.

Think you can stomach the seafood while fishing Haida Gwaii or do you imagine you would become food for the sea while fishing Haida Gwaii? Either way is fine by me and either way you should probably subscribe to the blog and leave us a comment or something.

Sick of all the words? Just check out our videos on the gridlessness youtube channel.

fishing haida gwaii

 

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Gridlessness Explained

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Hey All, it seems we finally have a video that explains a few things.  Our friends at Exploring Alternatives made a beautiful video that we happen to be in, Gridlessness Explained:

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The Perfect Kid Caliber: 243

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Well, it’s time to usher in a new big game hunter, and you can’t be a big game hunter unless you shoot a big girl gun.  The perfect kid caliber for us is the .243:

It’s a pretty special birthday when you get Federal .243 shells, hearing protection and a couple paper targets.  Time to do some target shooting!

The .243 has been a huge success for us.  Not only has it cleanly killed a variety of big game animals, but it can be safely shot by the smallest of kids.  Without much kick, it offers them a chance to target shoot and hunt with the same gun.

Not bad for the fist time shooting a centre fire:

perfect kid caliber

We had just put a new scope on the Tikka so we had to sight it in.  Her first group was taken at 25 yards and was under an inch.  Confident we would hit the target, we moved back to 100 yards and she piled them up in a two inch group high and to the left.  After making necessary windage and elevation adjustments to the scope, she put down another nice 2″ group at an inch high.

I’m thinking she’ll have no problem when we put a deer in front of her.

Check out last years moose hunt with the same gun, and the first Annual All Girls Tannerite Shooting Competition.

What’s the perfect kid caliber for you? Let us know, throw us a like or share us with your circle of shooters.  Think kids and guns should be separated?  Me too, lets expose this nonsense to the world by exposing this post on facebook!

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Kissing Fish: Eat Your Heart Out Boys!

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Catching fish is so 90’s, kissing fish is what all the cool kids do these days. See if you can stomach your fish this fresh:

Here in Northern BC we have lots of great fishing lakes. This last weekend we went fishing at one of these stellar lakes just a few hours from our place. We headed out for a weekend of camping and fishing with our 14’ aluminum boat loaded down with all our gear and
kids (amazingly we came in just under the 400lb weight restriction for passengers and cargo).

kissing fish

This lake is teeming with 1-2lb Rainbow Trout and Ling Cod (Burbot) of various sizes. We trolled along with our Minkota electric motor dragging 3 lines at a time. There was so much fish catching action going on it was hard to keep the lines in the water. Three would be fishing, two would be baiting hooks, one would be manning the net and one left to steer the boat.  Somehow it was never Roses turn to bait the hooks (in fairness, she did try once, it’s in the video, and it’s pretty funny)

kissing fish

The Ling Cod were caught on a set-line baited with a trout head and laced with halibut hooks. The set-lines are meant to sit on the bottom of the lake, tied off to a float. We left these overnight and gathered our bounty in the morning. Everyone wanted to pull in a set-line in the morning, its like christmas morning, so Jeff made a rule that anyone who pulled in a Ling had to kiss it! The kids were up for the challenge. The biggest Ling was 7 lbs 4 oz. These yummy fish are just as tasty as any cod from the ocean.

kissing fish

Our favourite way to prepare the trout is to brine it in brown sugar and salt for a
few hours and then smoke it over an alder campfire. We also canned some of
the smoked trout when we got home. It turned out great! The Ling Cod was
breaded and deep fried along with hand cut fries in a cast iron dutch oven over
the fire.  The only thing worthy of chasing deep fried Cod and home made fries? Doughnuts, of course.

This plate here was fried trout, deep fried ling cod and some wild gathered greens; false Soloman Seal shoots and Fiddle Heads.

kissing fish

If you remotely like this post or the video, you should share it, and like it and comment just for good measure.  Actually the best thing to do is subscribe for weekly off-grid adventures.  Think that kissing fish is just a passing trend?  Share it with all your FB friends to let them know how out of date we are, that’ll learn us!

Need more gridlessness right now? check out Beer for Children !

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I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

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People used to be able to pee wherever they wanted.  Not so much anymore.  So often we are left to clench and hold it, hang our head in shame and meekly ask “can I use the bathroom?”.  I’d had enough, and now, I’m off grid and I’ll pee where I want!

Gridlessness is a state of mind. It’s hard to describe, so I won’t try, just watch the video:

(The awesome new song in this video is Chopping Wood by our friends Last Horse Standing)

Going off grid is basically about doing what you want.  Want to build a house but don’t have a permit?  Sorry… a permit?  What’s that?

Can’t afford a house? No problem, just whip up a little hovel.  A nice big house won’t make you happy anyways (we had dirt floors for the first year and Rose loved it!)

I'm off grid

We love to travel and adventure together as a family and homeschooling lets us do it. Wherever or whenever we go, the kids studies can be worked around it.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Wanna be a part of getting your own food?  Collecting and making our own food has got to be the most rewarding work we do.  Hunting, fishing, foraging and gardening is our favourite pastime.

I'm off grid

I'm off grid

Want to build a culvert house? A forced air incinerator? Blow something up?  Go off grid baby!  No one is out here to tell you what to do or how to do it. 

I'm off grid

Tell us what you think of I’m off grid. Try out one of the fancy new “feelings”, or leave us a comment. Even better, subscribe, for weekly off grid adventures, emailed right to your doorstep.

Have you seen Beer for Children?  You should check it out, it’s an off grid essential.

Think that being off grid is just for granola eaters and not for girl breeders? Share this post with all your FB friends to show them how confused you are.

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Free Camping in Maui

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Camping in Maui Part 2: Free Camping in Maui

What’s better than camping in Maui? Free camping in Maui. Yep, I’m cheap, but I also just like to get away from the crowds and create our own adventures. We found a couple awesome, beautiful, free places to camp, did some boogie boarding, hiking (pig hunting without killing any pigs), spearfishing and made some killer beach sushi.   We’ll tell you all about it, but first check out the video:

We hiked south of La Perouse bay along the shoreline, in and out of lava fields and forest and found a perfect place to pitch our tents for the night.   free camping in maui - camping south of la Perouse bay It was totally quiet except the sounds of the waves and perfectly dark except for the stars. In the evening and early morning you will have this place all to yourself. The diving and spearfishing can be amazing with good water clarity and was ok with limited visibility (still good enough to get dinner). This is a reasonably popular hiking route and so it’s not a place to set up and sprawl. It is, however, a great place to explore and throw together a quick camp for the night. You could easily hike along the trail and find a half dozen or more places to pitch a tent.

free camping in maui - south of la Perouse bay

The other great place we found for free camping in Maui was along the southern shore between Kula and Hana.

free camping in maui - south side beach

It’s about an hour drive from the airport at the mile 30 marker. You’ll pull off on the south side of the road into a grove of kiawe trees. There is a black boulder beach which offers an amazing view but will not likely allow easy water access. The diving and spearfishing can be great off the lava flows to the east (drive to a gated, but not locked, 4×4 road just a minute up the road). There are a number of “camping areas” spread out nicely so you are likely to have an area to yourself. I loved this place because it was so easy (you drive right to your spot) and was still very quiet and private.

free camping in Maui - camping on the south shore

Ok, the beach sushi (my name for it) is my interpretation of this recipe from Dana at minimalistbaker.com.

free camping in maui - beach sushi

With limited kitchen equipment, a beach towel and Ziploc bag were sufficient for the mechanical portion of sushi roll construction. We added tempura fish into the roll and topped it with raw black durgeon (one of our go-to reef fish).

free camping in maui - beach sushi rolls

What to bring?

If you’re thinking of joining the gridlessness nation next year in maui, consider Rose’s camping essential list:

  • Swimsuits x2
  • Shorts and tee shirts x2 (you won’t need any, or have room for, additional cloths)
  • Flipflops/Crocs
  • Light coat
  • Travelling pillow (or, if you’re tough, just roll up your light coat)
  • Tent (full fly if you’re going to Hana)
  • Thermorest
  • Light sheets (no sleeping bag necessary)
  • Table cloth
  • Spices (for all your fish)
  • Two-cup measuring cup and spoon/fork (one per person, the only dish you’ll need)
  • big knife (fish, bread, pineapple etc)
  • Cooking pot
  • Little propane or backpacking stove (a lot of cooking can be done with charcoal briquettes, but a stove is pretty handy for boiling water, rice, noodles etc)

This is Important: Consider owning a good cooler with wheels and a handle. Pack your camping gear in the cooler and check it at the airport as one of your bags. Once in Maui, spill the contents of your cooler into your rental and fill cooler with ice and drinks. Enjoy.

Did you already see our first instalment of camping in Maui?  If not, check it out here.

Let us know what you think of Free Camping in Maui.  Got questions on how it works, what to bring etc?  Leave us a comment below and we’ll tell you what we know.  Feel free to try out the fancy like or share buttons below.  If you like it, subscribe, you’ll get the next off grid adventure video emailed right to your doorstep.

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Making Deer Sausage: Jalapeno and Cheddar Smokies

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Hunting and harvesting our own food is a humbling, rewarding and primitive endeavor. Making Jalapeno and Cheddar Smokies with the deer we shot, however, is pure artistry.

Check out the hot and cheesy video here:

Thanks to Sarah, we had 125 pounds of deer meat to process this fall (check out the picture of her and the handsome buck in the picture gallery). We put aside twenty pounds, plus a pork belly from our Burkafest pig, in the freezer to make smokies this winter.

Grinding it up is always a family affair. Until this year we had the classic “Porkert” hand grinder, which was always good for a workout. It wasn’t that I minded the exercise, it’s just the sweat that dripped in, made the meat a bit salty.

Check out this short video of Sarah helping me to grind fat (for making soap) when she was 3:

Besides the 13 jalapenos and 10 cups of cubed extra aged cheddar, there are really only a few other ingredients to gather. We followed the awesome instructions and recipe from Carolyn Parker at ificandoitmyself. She does a great job explaining the whole process, which we followed to a tee (with the exception of the Morton Tender Quick, we used a combination of Prague Powder #1 and regular salt instead).

The hog casings are great; easy to stuff and easy to eat. The collagen casings on some of the sausage you buy in the store can be tough and kind of papery.

Alder is our go-to smoke wood as it’s prolific around our place. This summer, I plan to build a brick smoker to improve control over the temperature. Currently it’s a full time job babysitting our repurposed outhouse and deep fryer combo.

As with other types of artwork, smokies don’t always turn into masterpieces, but these ones did. The perfect mix of spicy, cheesy and meaty. The kind of smokies that Rose dreams of.

Let us know what you think of making jalapeno and cheddar smokies.  Feel free to try out the fancy like or share buttons below.  Leave us a comment and subscribe, you’ll get the next off grid adventure video emailed right to your doorstep.

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