Thunder Eggs and a Petrified Tree

round rocks

Thunder eggs

Thursday, September 4, 1980—did camp chores, then Mike and I walked the six miles to Little Nelchina airstrip. We were waiting for Ray to show up with the welder. On the way I saw three ptarmigan. He didn’t come, so we walked back to camp with our packs.

Friday, September 5, 1980—we rested up some and tied the dredge up on top of the buggy. Dug a garbage hole, buried our garbage, did some target shooting, carried in wood and caught four trout and two graylings.

Saturday, September 6, 1980—swamp buggy isn’t here with the welder and it’s been several days. We’re wondering where it’s at, so I left camp at 11:30 a.m. and walked 27 miles looking for Ray, not knowing just exactly what trail he might have taken to get to us. The last hour of walking was in the dark and as I came up on a long swamp, all I could see is the water in each track (vehicle track) shining from the stars. I decided to camp along the trail. I’m carrying a pack, sleeping bag, hip boots and some grub. I lay down along the trail on a small piece of canvas (in my sleeping bag) and pull the canvas around over the top of my sleeping bag (in case we get a shower in the night) and go to sleep. During the day I had seen two cow moose, and one calf and a very large bear track, along with lots of broken down ATV’s and swamp buggies. (There are lots of hunters traveling now and this country is hard on vehicles.)

Sunday, September 7, 1980—I was up real early and walked the last three miles out to the highway and hitched a ride to Nelchina. At Nelchina, I got reorganized and went to Gunsight Lodge. Whitey flew me to the confluence of the Little Nelchina and Flat Creek, where I waited again for Ray for several hours. While I’m waiting, I’m walking around this large gravel bar that Whitey landed his plane on and I found a rock that is called a thunder egg. I kept looking and found eight of them. If you cut these rocks in half, they are beautiful in the center. I gather these all up and I have them ready right beside my pack so I can take them with me when Whitey comes, but somehow I didn’t pick them up and take them when I left. When I got to the camp at Flat Creek, the welder had already been delivered.

Monday, September 8, 1980—got up real early and welded the buggy wheel back together, mounted it on the buggy and loaded up our camp. Mike feels that his wife would like to have him back home now. On the way out to the highway we saw three caribou. On the Nelchina, there was a huge piece of petrified tree (I had seen it previously) that I thought I could lift and put on the back of the swamp buggy to take back with us. As we went down the trail, I lost track of where it was and we got past it, so I didn’t turn around to go back and look for it again. It was going to be dark anyhow. Even so, it got quite dark on the trail the last hour that we were coming out. When we got out to Cal’s, Ray Kole was there. Ray is the man that brought the welder out for me. We visited there for a while.

Tuesday, September 9, 1980—went to Gunsight and saw Sylvia. (She’s been working there and rather than drive the 20 mile back and forth each way, she would stay overnight and work another day.) Then we stopped at Cal’s and drove the buggy home. Mike and I unloaded the gear and got him ready to go home. Dan Billman stopped by and then I went back to Gunsight and stayed the night with Sylvia.

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