I called Luke one week following my retirement date and booked a trip to the Brooks Range with tags for Moose, Grizzly Bear and Caribou. It was for the latter part of September and the weather turned out to be scripted; blue skies, sunshine, and little to no wind. Nights were cold and days chilly. Every day I was amazed at the landscape surrounding me; green/white muskeg, stands of spruce, blue water lakes and snow topped mountains.
My guide and packer for the 10 days were friendly, highly experienced and professional, making sure that I was comfortable and capable of completing each day’s efforts. The Brooks can be challenging regardless of prior physical preparation. They worked constantly, glassing and evaluating routes to get me within shooting distance of the massive grizzly (69 yds) and moose (131 yds) that I took on the trip.
The Arctic Oven tent had cots and a heater and was very comfortable even when the temperatures dropped into the teens at night. (Make no mistake though, good gear and a very good sleeping bag is essential.) Meals were cooked in the tent and the only freeze dried eaten was while on a knoll one evening when a cow moose prevented us from leaving during daylight. (Yes, my packer carried a stove, utensils, and meals every time we left camp.)
The planes to access the remote camps were first rate and everything was executed like clockwork. No delays and prompt removal of meat and trophies from the field. When my moose was down approx 2.5 miles from camp an additional packer was provided to assist.
On the final day I stayed in a very nice wood stove heated cabin at the lodge and had access to a hot shower.
With 55 years of hunting behind me, this trip was the highlight. I am very seriously thinking about calling Luke about a return trip for Caribou.