Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I Saved Larry Czonka's Life This Morning

Yeah, you heard me right. Larry Czonka, who is apparently and avid fisherman and has a cable TV show, has a film crew in camp right now to tape him and his guides fishing Brooks River. I was working the corner when he and his crew tried to cross the bridge today, but of course a bear was in the area and decided to graze right next to the bridge. So I got to hold them at the corner, and stand next to the fullback of the 71 Dolphins' undefeated season. Let me tell you that ring is huge (as is the finger it's attached to). I don't know what I was more afraid of, getting eaten by the bear or getting eaten by him. In any case when Larry pops that cork this winter, he has me to thank that he is still around to do it and was not eaten by some bear.

It was actually a pretty eventful day all in all, we saw a couple more bears plus a sow with three cubs. The cubs were almost the size of their mother, so we are guessing they are 2 and a half year olds. This is somewhat unique because by this age many cubs have already been kicked out by their moms.

As you can tell we are getting into the full swing of things here at Brooks Camp. We currently have a good number of hardcore fly fisherman (including some non-Super Bowl winners) out here for the opening of rainbow season on the river. And we are even starting to get some day visitors now, though they are often disappointed if they are expecting bears. Although the ones today saw plenty of action, and 4 of them we lucky enough to attend my first cultural walk (I am sure I'll get into that later). I never got to write an entry about the opening of camp, so here goes:

Brooks Camp officially opened to the public on June 1st, much to the delight of women everywhere who could not wait to see me in uniform. My first duty was to staff the lower platform, a bear-viewing platform that overlooks Brooks River as it feeds into Naknek Lake. I got out there at 8 o'clock to find a calm and sunny morning, with no sign of the hellacious east wind that had swept us for the previous week. Since the bears (and people) have not yet arrived in full force, platform duty is largely a formality at this point in the summer, so I spent two pleasant hours with nothing but a multitude of birds and a sunset to keep me company. I can think of much worse ways to start my day.

I hiked up Dumpling again with ElderHostel, a lifelong learning group that was in camp for the week. This is a much better picture of the view I tried to show you before, with Naknek Lake, Mt. Katolinat (above-right of me), and the mouth of Brooks River where our camp is in the lower left.

My dad has been bugging me about putting up some pictures of my living arrangements and such, so here it is:

They call this a tent-frame "cabin", which is a nice name for a wood frame of 2x4s and plywood covered with a canvas top. Here is the inside of my hovel, check out my loft up top:

One last thing: if you leave comments, don't forget to check back at the page of that particular entry because I usually answer them. Later folks.


Anonymous said...

Did you mention to Csonka that you are from Jacksonville? He spent time here as director of scouting and then as General Manager for the United States Football League (USFL) Jacksonville Bulls in the mid-1980's. That was one of our former attempts at getting a football team. I saw him here in town a few times, most often at the Shogun Restaurant on Atlantic Blvd. He is a friendly, likeable fellow and as big as a barn. Mention the Jacksonville Bulls to him.

Anonymous said...

Love, Dad

Reid said...

I think Larry's show would get better rating's if you HAD let him wrestle bears. And please tell me you congratulated him on his best/most famous acheivement- the host for AMERICAN GLADIATORS!

P.S. The guy from 'Man vs. Wild' is way more of an outdoorsman than you. Next time you go into the 'Desolation Station,' or whatever, you do it with nothing but a parachute and a jackhawk 9000. Then we'll talk.

Chris 'urban jungle' Maddern

Nader said...

You are doing a great job out there. You definitely should have asked Larry to let you take him in a headlock for a picture. That also reminds me that I finally saw that episode of Hogan Knows best with Brian Knobbs, hilarious. Keep rocking out man.

Mason said...

Chris, that guy from Man vs. Wild is a pansy British fraud. He has a whole film crew following him around when hes doing that stuff. They probably break every afternoon for tea. Nader, with my luck Brian Knobbs will actually show up here. We can only hope.

Anonymous said...

Mason, Mason, Mason... What can I say about these pictures of you? True Duval County Resident. You look like the downfall of "an entire ecosystem, the survival of a community of brown bears, the strength of a regional economy, and the spiritual fulfillment of thousands of people."

May God have mercy on your soul.

Rachel said...

Hey Mase!

I just got a chance to read your blogs again -- pretty awesome! It sounds like you are totally in your element and I think the beard suits you quite well. Take care and come back to us in one, non-mauled by a bear, piece.