A Northern Diary

Carolyn Vincent taught in the Yukon in the 1970s and also cooked for an outfitter for a few months in 1976. She typed out a diary of what her life was like during that time. We are reprinting it here with minimal editorial tampering. Last time we left her, hunting season was just starting. Here is the fifth excerpt:

On Wednesday evening, our two hunters flew in. They were David and Melvin from Wyoming and were real nice average Joe kind of people. I had been expecting the stereotype rich American hunter.

Since they were the first hunters, I got very much caught up in their anxieties about getting a sheep. It rained the first day or so, which really drove them crazy. They had borrowed money to come on this once-in-a-lifetime trip, so it was very important to them.

Then it cleared up and we had our hot spell for the summer. We went fly camping down the canyon and the men got their rams!

Our second set of hunters were from very different backgrounds. One was a vet from Wisconsin. He was down-homey, easy-going and very kind — he loved it out here. “Big” John (as distinguished from Indian John) wasn’t too excited about the sheep. He had hunted before in other places and had had no luck, so he wasn’t selfconfident, I guess.

The other hunter was an aristocrat from Spain. He’d been all over the world hunting everything! He’d written a book, and was compiling information for another one. Ricardo only stayed three days because he got a caribou, then a sheep the next day, and since his knees were really giving him trouble, he had Perry come in and fly him out.

The day he left, the exploration camp was moving, too. Also, John and “Big” John went flycamping on their own. So, for four days Ormand and I had peace and quiet. Goodness — and it was quiet. Too quiet. I soon got over it, though, and then I enjoyed the total solitude.

By this time, so far, so good. Everyone got a sheep and was satisfied. Even Big John—although he missed one time when his scope hit his face. The impact knocked out his contacts! John was yelling, “Shoot! Shoot!” and Big John was saying,” I can’t see!”

Aw well, he did get a nice ram in the end.

The third set of hunters arrived on Wednesday afternoon with Perry. The weather had been nice, but, as usual, it turned foggy and rainy that night to welcome the hunters. The next day we all had to stay in camp — the men played a lot of crib.

Our new hunters were Dick from New York, and Dick from Washington. The first one was older and was nice and humorous as could be. Young Dick was too, but he was loud! He drove a cement truck, so he always sounded like he was trying to talk above the roar. 

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