Alaska test

stuck karstesns

Real Alaskans – pioneers Hudson Stuck, left, and Harry Karstens, right/Wikimedia Commons

Given that Alaska is as much a state of mind as a state – think long-dead author Jack London’s “Call of the Wild’ which was actually set in the Yukon Territory but seems perfectly Alaskan – here’s a simple test to assess your Alaskaness.

First, the setup.

You’re a trapper, or maybe just a wilderness adventurer, using a cabin in a far, remote corner of wild Alaska for a regular winter stop. When away from the cabin, you cache some gear in a corner.

In the cache is food, some perfectly legal marijuana to enjoy on that rare evening of relaxation, a large-caliber handgun that’s just extra weight on the trail in winter and a box of ammunition.

While you are away from the cabin,  the cache is discovered by others touring the state. They get into it, eat some of the food, give the dope away to some friendly snowmachiners they meet traveling a nearby trail, and use your handgun and several rounds of ammunition to shoot holes in the cabin’s lone bucket.

So here’s the test to see how Alaskan you are.

What is the most egregious act?

  • A.) Wasting ammunition?
  • B.) Eating some of the food?
  • C.) Giving away the stash?
  • D.) Shooting holes in the bucket?



29 replies »

  1. Is this a trick question? All of the above. You don’t mess with other people’s stuff. Have some respect!

    • it’s all egregious, but you can rationalize the food – maybe somebody was really that hungry – and the dope – maybe they were in pain. and the ammo, well, some asshole fired off six rounds because i guess those people from urban America just have to see how a firearm works. but at least they left most of the box.

      but the bucket?

      the bucket is malicious vandalism. the bucket is “what kind of asshole does this” territory” the bucket is i can go without couple meals; i can survive without the dope; but why, oh why, do you have to complicate everyday existence out here by shooting holes in the damn bucket?

      WTF is wrong with you?

  2. No trapper worth his salt would short his cabin to the extent he’d have to rely on cooking with a bucket. He’d at least have a simple kettle and frying pan, and probably a coffee/tea pot.

  3. My thinking is the only real loss is the stash since it’s no longer there for that evening of relaxation.
    The rest is just a portion (food and ammo) of what’s stored in cache. The bucket can be patched to hold water and would still hold snow.
    Once rented a cabin in Yukon for a few months that had a high cache in the yard with stovepipe around the legs fixed with staples. The red squirrels had learned to run up the legs and hit the stovepipe running with their toenails occasionally catching the staples providing them enough boost to get up. They would only be successful about a third of their attempts but they had completely ruined what that cabin owner had stored up there. Had he stapled the stovepipe the right way it may have worked but as it was those staples were like a ladder for the squirrels.

    • When Laura and I were working for the park service in Yosemite a hiker had a heart attack in the wilderness and had to leave all his gear in the backcountry when he was flown out in the helicopter…
      I promised we would hike in and grab all his gear the next day.
      His party was concerned cause they had ganga edibles and a stash in their pack.
      I told him that after the 9 mile hike in that we would see no problem in putting his treats to good use.
      The patient fully recovered and the brownies sure hit the spot.
      I told him that “A friend with weed is a friend indeed.”✌

  4. I can patch or line a bucket to make it useful again. Without proper supplies, dies and press I can’t reload the ammo. I don’t smoke the narcotics, never even tried it and never will. I can get more food, especially if I have ammo. So I’m going with the wasted ammo.

  5. In the quarter century of rather anarchistic democracy preceding the Klondike discovery, cache robbing–which almost never happened–was judged a capitol offense by their only government, the Miners Meeting. Once an Irishman and a Dane were caught at the dastardly act. Anticipating the consequences, the Irishman instantly blew his brains out. Fifty lashes with a one-half-inch rope (probably soaked) was the Dane’s sentence. The offender was stripped to the waist and tied belly to a post. Lashes began to fall as Billy Onions, a mighty left-handed mule skinner lay the hemp to him. At lash number fifteen, one in the crowd with medical training implored them to stop the terrible strikes, assessing the Dane as half dead. They cut him loose, but he was forced to head for the coast the next day, provisionless. He staggered along with a sign bound to him reading, “THIEF.” Word went before him up the hundreds of river miles that no one was to help or feed him, and if seen without his sign he was to be summarily shot. (From TRAILBREAKERS–Pioneering Alaska’s Iditarod by yours truly.)

  6. I think theres a 12 step program for serial bucket shooters.Thats hands down the most egregious (thank god for google!) trespass

  7. Craig…. I am heading to Central on May 18……. a Celebration of Life……! Call me at your convenience. Thanks Chris Martin

  8. The Bucket. Everything else can be survived without for a while.
    If you can’t carry water or melt snow, that is the most immediate problem.

  9. Alaskans for sustainable buckets!
    These are rude dudes and karma is going to get them. One should always leave a place better than found.😎. Duh…

  10. Wasting ammo. As much of a transgression as purposefully damaging one’s own bucket is, any good sourdough can easily plug a hole in a bucket. Getting more ammo while alone in the bush? That’s a bit tougher.

  11. Obviously shooting holes in the bucket, that’s just wasteful. Who’d shoot the bucket any way, this is just hypothetical right…. right?

  12. Going with the bucket as well. Carrying water, boiling water, varmit trap, carrying supplies, toilet if need be, cooking food, a helmet from the elements, storage/fridge container, a fish trap, a coal carrier, yadda.

  13. You did what to my bucket?!?!
    If I had a stash left you might it outta this ok. Maybe if I eat a steak I’ll feel a little more forgiving….why is my steak gone?!

    Where’s that big ass gun I never need?!

  14. A) Wasting ammunition.
    No brainer, ammo costs money and bullets are never to be wasted.
    I purchased my first rifle in AK in 1977, single shot, long barrel Remington shotgun. With a wooden stock.
    Bird hunting on the CR delta, in the fall during Coho season. On the closures, we would go up the sloughs, shoot birds and have dinner. No shells no food. All of those widgeons, cackling goose & dusky geese were all mighty fine eatin’.

  15. Who shoots holes in a bucket? Right now, I bet I have at minimum 30 buckets around my house. Some have or have had shit in them, those are what I call the shit buckets…not mine, the dogs…but if need be. Some have dirt in them, for plants. Some are for brewing, those are for me. Some are on the boat, for general boating purposes. Some in the garage, just for storing stuff. Not a single one has a bullet hole in them, many have holes drilled for the various purposes mentioned above. You never waste a bullet shooting a bucket, that is just too much waste all at once, wasting a bullet and a bucket in one fell swoop is just madness. It’s hard to imagine a point in time where I would need to shoot a bucket for any good reason.

  16. Toss-up between non-emergency food consumption and dead bucket IMHO. Water is essential – can’t melt snow in the summer – but if you need food quickly both for calories and escaping delirium for essential proactive planning, the food. Since the utter bozos were wastrels of essentials – add cartridges for hunting and protection – they clearly were not in need, but just thoughtless, wasteful and yeah criminal in their destructive behavior. Bush justice could prevail in the future absence of awareness/continued destruction, ie hole their spare gas tanks, so yeah, ammo.

  17. I’m going to say the bucket. Reasoning: 1) you should always have a little food with you while traveling in the bush. 2) While it sucks to have a weapon w/o ammo, how often have you had to use it in self defense in the past 20 years…. Really… I’ve only fired my weapon out of fear 1 time. Ever. I think that the odds are with me that I won’t need that ammo today. 3) My stash. That sucks, but if it’s that important to you, you’re probably carrying some along with you anyways.

    The bucket – what would you do without any way of bringing water up from the creek, pond or spring? You can bath, cook (if it’s metal!) and, as Kim eloquently pointed out, you can use it as a toilet… might not want to bath or cook in it after that though…


    PS – I dig that pic of Karstens and Stuck. If you haven’t read the book 70 mile kid, I highly encourage it for some epic Alaskan adventure reading.

    • Jack, here is my favorite bucket story from a gillnetter friend from Oklahoma: He tells a girlfriend about his deckbucket and she says that she couldn’t pee in a bucket. He said then that he didn’t bother to tell her that they also would crap in that bucket, hold their clams in it and wash the dishes in it.

  18. 1. I think you sent that on a date. 2. I think you stole the stash and we’re enjoying it just prior to this email. 3. I’d vote bucket. It’s cold and dark out there in the middle of the night and a girls gotta have a bucket!

    That was hilarious. Thanks for the chuckle.

    • *DARE, not date… WERE, not we’re… I’m as bad at proofreading as Craig is! Ha ha ha…

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