After spending Sunday night at the lodge and enjoying a couple of great meals prepared by Rocky, Sharon, Sunny (the youngest (19) of Rocky and Sharon's four daughters) and Nancy, Bill and I loaded my stuff back into the 206 and we headed for Aniak. Yes, it was still raining and windy. We had to fly around some of the mountains because the ceiling was so low. I am grateful that Bill delivered me safely every time we flew. I then flew back to Anchorage via PenAir, once again staying at the Puffin Inn overnight. As soon as I got checked in, I called Knight's Taxidermy in Anchorage and arranged for the owner, Russell Knight, to come pickup me and my bears. He arrived in short order and took me to his shop (more closely resembling a factory.) There were mounts and hides and skulls everywhere. His is a world-class taxidermy studio, proved by the works in progress of animals from all over the globe (he even had a giraffe in the showroom.) He took my bears and assured me that I would have two beautiful rugs in only eight to twelve months! He asked if I needed a ride back to the Inn. I did.
The atmosphere at Alaskan-Adventures on the Holitna River is very Christian oriented. Rocky is the son of a missionary who, although he admits to sowing some wild oats in his younger days, has spent most of his life trying to live for The Lord just as his father did. The slogan of his hunting and fishing guide business is "Restoration Through Recreation." According to his first book, "Wild Men, Wild Alaska", experiencing God's creation at its rawest and sometimes most dangerous level is one of the best ways to truly feel the power of our Creator. Rocky believes that by giving men an opportunity to be rid of the distractions of life while thrilling to the natural world of remote Alaska, they can renew their inner fire to live a better professional, personal and spiritual life. Did I feel closer to The Lord after my hunting experience? I did.
While at Alaskan-Adventures, I shared the lodge for one day with a group of fishermen from an organization called Stadia, a Christian Church planting organization. These men (about 15) had Bible study each morning before heading out on the river to fish. I really enjoyed their company. They are someway connected (although I am not sure how) to the Church Development Fund, a credit union type organization that only loans to build churches. One of their head guys was also fishing. I found it very comforting to know that even in remote Alaska, Christians were all around me. We prayed before meals, and we prayed and offered thanks after taking my bears. All in all, I had a great time in Alaska on my bear hunt. I really did!