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Heather Lende

HAINES -- Chip and I did not get a moose, but it wasn't from lack of trying. And as he said, now that the hunt is over, the stories can begin. And that's the fun part that could last all winter.

Until now, everyone was very vague about just what they saw out there, especially as this hunt, with strict restrictions on antler configurations, means that a bull moose is not always, or even usually, hunt-able. It may take a while to determine if he has three brow tines on one side, the minimum amount, and if indeed what you think is a brow tine really is one, and not a mid-bay tine. Or if that's a forked antler for certain -- and just forget about the 50-inch antler spread, as very few of our moose are that big, and close up they all look huge. (Yes, it's tricky, all of it.)...

Heather Lende

Yes, we are still moose-less after 10 days of hard -- and I think smart -- hunting. I figured Chip would be disappointed when we left camp last night without a moose, but he said, "That was another great weekend. We've had some really good hunting, haven't we?"

And the thing is, he meant it. Also, he was right; we have had a very good hunt so far. (And we still have a week left. There have been 18 bulls taken in the area, and the season runs through Oct. 7.)...

Heather Lende

I couldn't take many pictures, as two days of heavy rain fogged my lens, but I did get a few during breaks in the weather. It was even raining in the tent.

It's not that it leaked -- it was actually very dry and warm with Chip's little steel stove (he kept saying, "isn't this great?"). But what happened is that once the fire went out and we fell asleep, the condensation built up on the inside, and the rain beat down so hard on the outside that it knocked the tent walls making big drips every now and then as well as a continuous fine mist. It must be good for my skin, right?

All I could think of were the Klondike stampeders who lived for months like this in the mud and cold and rain with dried food and not nearly as good gear. They were so much tougher than I am...

Heather Lende

The first weekend of the Haines moose hunt is over, and we have survived. So have the moose -- near our sites, anyway. I hear four have been taken so far. We have until the first week of October -- or until 25 or so have been shot.

Chip and I camped out on the river so we could be hunting at first light on opening day. We were up Sunday at 4:30 a.m. When we couldn’t stand to wait another minute, we tiptoed through the woods to our tree stand -- through alder and cottonwood, wild roses and cranberries, Devil’s club, willow. Underfoot it’s rutted, riddled with blow downs, and the way is not clear. We tried not to crack dead branches, or trip, or snag the rifles. We climbed over and crawled under logs...

Heather Lende

My daughter said the birth of her second baby was so much easier than the first, which is proof that something Biblical really does remove our memory when it comes to pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

But in Juneau's Bartlett hospital on Saturday morning I did not want to remind Stoli about that August medevac to Anchorage, the measures taken to slow the early labor down and save little Silvia Rose, and six weeks away from home, because here she was, as perfect as a baby could be, plenty big, at 7 pounds, 8 ounces and with all that dark hair and her mother's nose -- and here was Stoli, in her pink pajamas going for a walk down the hall a few hours after delivering her, all smiles...

Heather Lende

I wish I had my camera yesterday when little Lani and I were on the beach, and saw two kite boarders skipping over the surf, flying between the cove and Pyramid Island in the strong wind. One of them, my neighbor James, who has a South African accent, came zooming right up to us on the shore, dumped the big sail, and stepped onto the beach in his wetsuit and harness, holding the slick board, and said hello.

It was a 007 moment -- I half expected him to peel off the suit and reveal a dinner jacket. After a little chat, he hopped back into the water, hooked up his board and said goodbye, waving to Lani, who blew him a kiss before he sailed off...

Heather Lende

HAINES, Alaska -- My schedule has been turned on its head thanks to a darling 17-month-old, which is a good thing -- as I'm a little tired, frankly, and appreciate the slower, gentler pace.

The best thing about having little children around is that as long you don't try to do anything else, caring for them is easy. The fine summer weather is wiping everyone out. I mean, when it's sunny and 70 for months on end, we have to ride bikes, climb mountains, garden, stain the deck, picnic, jam, fish and throw sticks to swimming dogs -- all of it. It never ends! What a life...

Heather Lende

At least for one week. As I typed my way toward the end of that new book deadline, I got an unexpected boost yesterday when I learned that “If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name,” my first book, made the New York Times Bestseller List for July 21 in ebooks.

It's No. 17. “Wild” is No. 18. Seriously? Pinch me. (Powers that be say it's real. If you get the Times mail me the list after you read it next week, okay? I'm at P.O. Box 936, Haines AK 99827. I'd like to frame it. Heck, it may never happen again.) I did ask my agent, Elizabeth Wales of Seattle, and my Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill editor if this meant I'd be rich and famous. I haven't heard back...

Heather Lende

I have been asked to audition for a new Alaska reality TV show made by the folks who bring you "Pawn Stars," called "Alaska Rivers" (and the people who live on them.) Apparently the producers like this blog, and as you know we do live in a photogenic place populated by interesting and eccentric people. Here is the questionnaire they sent that I'm supposed to answer on video, while having a really fun, friendly time of it:

1. What is your full name?

Heather Lende

2. How old are you?

For real, or reality TV? Can I say 45 if I'm almost 54? Call me dyslexic?

3. Do you live on/near a river? Which one?

Yes, the mighty Chilkat River.

4. What do you do for a living? How does the River affect what you do?...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- Our lumberyard did not burn down this morning, although the fast-roaring fire next door was pretty scary, and thanks to the great Haines Volunteer Fire Department it was contained to one substantial shed at Leo and George Ann Smith's place.

Leo lost his boat and tools, and they had full freezers in there. One window in the house broke from the heat, but that's it. (The shed is nothing but charcoal.)

The way the north wind was blowing off the cove, it's a miracle the 100-year-old Army sheds that Leo's newer outbuilding backed up against didn't catch. Or, for that matter, their house just feet away. Or the area shops. Or the Fireweed. Or our big sheds full of kiln-dried wood. The whole block could have been lost...

Heather Lende