...Memory Lane...


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I'm getting ready for another trip across Great Bear Island.
Scenario: Stalker, no feats... selected starting region - Mystery Lake.

This time I'd like explore across Great Bear Island, but in the order each region was "discovered"

Region Discovery
Mystery Lake 22 Sep 2014
Coastal Highway 30 Oct 2014
Pleasant Valley 7 Feb 2015
Desolation Point 18 Sep 2015
Timberwolf Mountain 16 Dec 2015
Forlorn Muskeg 19 Dec 2016
Broken Railroad 1 Aug 2017
Mountain Town 1 Aug 2017
Hushed River Valley 14 June 2018
Bleak Inlet 10 Dec 2019
Ash Canyon 7 Dec 2020
Blackrock 6 Oct 2021

Hoping to get started sometime later today... 

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I came to and found myself under the railway bridge leading right to the Carter Hydroelectric Dam.  I took a moment to take stock of what I had on and in my pack... things were a bit scant, but considering I was close to shelter I knew this wouldn't be a problem for long.  I had a few things in mind to try to put together an essentials kit, but it wasn't likely I'd find it all at the first stop.

It was fairly early in the morning... I knew I wanted to search through the entirety of the dam and get to another stop-over point before bedding down for the night.  I knew I'd be racing the clock a little bit, so I'd have to make it quick.

I didn't find much under the bridge, but I knew that even just a box of ammunition was still a valuable find (if not now, most certainly will come in handy later).

I knew I had to be careful approaching the gate... so I took the long way around up the bank and kept close to the ridge leading to the two trailers.  I also kept low until I'd gotten a better vantage point (in the meantime I just had to listen carefully for paws traipsing through the snow).  Once I saw the way was clear, I went to the railway service truck first.  I did find a note, but I'd have to investigate that later... right now I had to make good on what daylight hours I had.  I quickly searched through the two trailers, and noted I'd have to come back with a prybar later.  I still didn't have any gloves or head covering, so I had to hope the Cater Dam would be kinder to me than the trailers were (though to their credit I did find a wind breaker... a big help this early on).

I was pretty sure I'd spotted a ravaged doe carcass there across the river... (nothing I could have done with it, but a good thing to remember for later)

At first, things inside the dam seemed like they were going to be rather sparce.  Nothing of note in the entry/reception area... and all that was in the control room's safe was an MRE and a common book.  The lockers were either locked or empty... so nothing noteworthy there either.  The upstairs and other nearby offices didn't yield much either (though I did find a little bit of food, another pair of jeans, and in the bathroom I did find some trail boots by the toilet 🤭).

As I was getting ready to head downstairs to search around the generators (along with the rest of the dam), I found something I'd almost missed in the low light...
A pair of "decent" gauntlets just lying there on a table.  That was a lovely find.  I quickly put them on and continued onwards.  I knew it was going to take a while to sift through the entire dam.  Having almost missed these gauntlets, I knew I needed to be thorough... but I also needed to be fast if I was going to make back out before dark.

There wasn't much in the generator room (a small bit of food, but mostly just unusable debris).

It's been a while since I'd been back here... I remember many skirmishes with the wolf that used to terrorize unfortunate souls who trespassed here.  I had to get a move on, no time to reminisce (though I hope Fuffly is happy in her new home, and I hope I can leave her in peace when I do find her).

Hmm... an invisible metal container; will have to report that later. 🤭

I didn't find as much as I was hoping to in the dam, but I did manage to sweep and clear before dark.  Even after so much searching I still wasn't over encumbered, so I opted to just lug everything with me as I went outside to decide which place to head for next.

As I crossed over the railway bridge, I took a closer look at the far side of the bank.  Sure enough, there is a doe carcass... even though I did now have a hunting knife, this was no time to haul around raw gut/meat/pelt.  I'll come back for that later.

I decided my next best bet was most likely to be the Camp Office, and if I was lucky, I might be able to check on the train derailment on the way.


The way had been clear so far... but I heard howls off in the distance.  It was a good bet there were wolves just ahead... I decided I'd need to get a better vantage point.
As I made my way up, I did spot two groups of wolves.  One that was prowling closer to the car I'd just visited, and a couple more on closer to the derailment.

Fortunately, the derailment itself was didn't have any furry woodland friends skulking about... so I made my way down (though still carefully scouting ahead).

The train car was pretty barren... there was a metal container inside, but it was empty.  By the time I'd gotten done searching the surrounding area, the moon was on the rise.

I'd been out and freezing a little while now, and I could feel the cold wearing away at my condition...  I pressed onwards cautiously (though I did stop for whatever sticks I could find).

It wasn't too long before I came to the Camp Office.  I took a few minutes to just kind of admire the first night back on Great Bear Island... but then the biting cold reminded me I needed to get inside.  I had found a lantern in the dam.  It's a bit beat up but had a decent amount of fuel (easily enough for a quick search of the camp office and then bed down).



I have found a striker, mag-lens, even a can opener.
I have two wool toques, an ear wrap, windbreaker, a down vest, trail boots, and the gauntlets.
All-in-all, not a bad first day... 

Edited by ManicManiac
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The Prince of the Forest has returned!
I know I've mentioned this story before, but since this run is more a walkabout for the sake of reminiscence:

This was the location I'd first encountered wildlife when I started exploring Great Bear Island back in late 2014.  A lone deer was there to greet me warily; perhaps wondering what to make of me.  It was then and there that I decided that this would be the only creature on Great Bear Island that was truly safe.  I vowed to never harm him, nor to allow him to come to harm, and avoid even disturbing him whenever possible.

I've had to take down wolves that were skulking too close.  Once I'd even been pursued by a wolf as I tried to make it back to the Camp Office... but when I noticed that the wolf had peeled off and started hunting the Prince, I rushed back and had to fight the wolf with my hunting knife (lacking a firearm at that moment).  Over these many years, I've never failed him.


I'd gotten up a little before dawn but took a couple hours to get things sorted and dropped all non-essentials.  The plan for the day was to head for the railway tunnel, then on to Trapper's Homestead... the ultimate goal was to take the long way around to the Forestry Lookout before dark.

Found a wolf skulking around near the railway tunnel, so I took the route over the rock formation to slip past.

It's good to see the old Trapper's Homestead again... hopefully I'll find some useful things left behind by Jeremiah.

It's been literal years since I've found a rifle in a rifle rack... oh well, the Parka more than makes up for it. 🤭

I'd also found a snare... a little bit more food, and a pot I decided to leave behind for later on.  I didn't linger long, but I sit down a while and reminisce about all the old tales Jeremiah used to tell.

I kept to the high ground as I approached the Unnamed Pond...
There wasn't much to find... but thankfully there were also no bears denning here the winter.  I remember years ago when I've had to use that Hunter's Blind for shelter... even for protection when I've run into bears here in the past.

I decided I wasn't going to try and find the Prepper's Cache that Jeremiah said was packed somewhere around these parts... I have a feeling that the entrance is likely snowed in and would probably remain too well hidden to find for the time being.  Hopefully sometime in the future I will be able to track it down.

As I approached the Lonely Cabin near the clearing, I was surprised to see a moose (though at the moment I don't have the means do anything about it🤭).20221226084217_1.thumb.jpg.c502cc64fcd25a95cc7c858d2accb361.jpg
Thankfully, around back I found a prybar... I was hoping to find one.

Found a nice polaroid slid partway under the door.  I'll have to go visit that spot later...

There wasn't much to find inside, and I kind of just wanted to leave this unfortunate soul in peace (after checking their pockets, of course).

I had to give the moose a wide berth but pressed towards Clear Cut.
Spotted a doe on the way but I didn't want to see her come to harm, so I got low and slipped past (there are wolves nearby... I didn't want her running off in the wrong direction).

And it seems that in addition to wolves... there's also a bear denning here.  Again, nothing I can do about that now... but I will take note for later.

I was tempted to head up to the Destroyed Lookout... There are a lot of memories there, but I was running short on daylight.  I'll come back to see it tomorrow.

I kept to the high ground (spraining a wrist in the process) and soon came to the route I'd need to reach the Forestry Lookout.
There was nearly a full set of tools to be found up here... but the rifle rack was of course empty. 🤭

Another fine day in Mystery Lake.  Tomorrow I will circle back to the Destroyed Lookout... perhaps stop by the Camp Office to drop things off before planning the rest of tomorrow's route.

Edited by ManicManiac
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22 minutes ago, ManicManiac said:


The dice sometimes take funny bounces...
Most places were pretty lean (as to be expected I suppose), but the Expedition Parka at Jeremiah's and the embarrassment of riches at the Forestry Lookout:


Very true..  

I'm not surprised you saw more predators though,it is stalker after all😊.   No maulings shows your evade tactics still work well.

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I jolted awake form a horrible nightmare...



It took me a few moments to shake off the terror... but then I realized I had to get up and get moving if I wanted to make my route today.
I had a feeling the fog could be a problem if it didn't clear up this afternoon.  Regardless, I wasn't going to sit around waiting to see what the weather was going to do.  I quickly started to make my way back down from the Forestry Outlook, but it occurred to me that I had a safer path to the Logging Camp first.

That face looks treacherous but makes for a good makeshift bridge that left me pretty much right on top of the Logging Camp.

Once I got to the bottom of the slope, I tried to sift through the trailers as quickly as I could. 
I left the cooking pot behind; the trailers didn't have much... but I did come away with a new pair of work pants (certainly better than just jeans).

On the way down the slope, I did sprain an ankle... so that was going to slow me down.
A heavy pack, a sprain, and a bear... it seemed the safest course of action would be to stick to the high ground (and likely sprain everything else).

It feels so good to be following this old roadway again.  The views were always pretty spectacular...

I remember the first time I make the trek up to the Old Forestry Lookout... 
[I had to visit the archives to dig up this photo from the early days:]
But that was a long time ago...

As I made my way up to the top of the increasingly steep slopes, I had to stop for a moment.
It always makes me feel a little sad to see what became of the old tower.

I was so lost in old memories that I hadn't noticed that another fog had started rolling in... and it was getting dense rather quickly.

This was going to be my way down... I couldn't really see much of the surrounding terrain, but the hope was to shimmy down and feel my way along to the Frozen Creek.  If I could find that (and not get turned around in the fog... or ambushed by wolves), then I'd be able to make it back to the Camp Office.  If I made a mistake and ended up wandering off in the wrong direction, then my evening was likely to get much dodgier.

Albeit slowly, I was able to find my way to the Frozen Creek.  However, there were seemingly wolf howls in every direction.  If I followed the creek the wrong way... I'd end up back at the Unnamed Pond (with my only good refuge nearby being the Lonely Cabin).  If I'd managed to keep my bearings, then the Camp Office is about two hills away.

I kept low and slowly working my way along the creek.  When I saw the small frozen waterfall that fed the creek, I knew I was on the right track.  I stuck close to the ridgeline...
:D Of course the fog would lift after I was already sure of where I was :D 
Oh well, never question providence, I suppose.

The sun was setting fast... but "home" is in sight.  Just had to hope wasn't a small pack of wolves weren't prowling too close on either side.  With everything sprained, I couldn't run and couldn't throw stones to try and ward them off.  I had to keep limping along and hope the way was clear.

It took a little while to sort and drop some things outside... by then the fog was gone, and a beautiful night sky revealed itself.

It was a bit of a tough day... but it was still a good day.
[For those interested]



Edited by ManicManiac
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Today... today was not as productive as I would have hoped. 🤭
What I had in mind was to make a trip around Mystery Lake, then up to the Lake Overlook, and the cozy cave I once used to hunker down in (that first time the night felt that it had lasted four days).  Instead, what I got was a bit of a mad scramble and wild weather swinging to extremes...

The day started out well enough, though I did have to spend a couple of hours organizing and stowing the non-essentials.  Setting up an encampment at the Camp Office always feels like a homecoming.

Once I was done getting things situated, I decided I'd head out on the lake to start prospecting the Fishing Huts.
As I made my way from Fishing Hut to Fishing Hut, I was surprised by how well stocked they'd been left.
(Another had a book about Ice Fishing, yet another had a box of revolver cartridges, and I ended up finding enough material for three sets of fishing tackle)

I got further out on the lake... I found a pack of four wolves were prowling rather close to one of the Fishing Huts (and between it and the second set of Lake Cabins).
I decided to give them a wide berth.  I'd go on to check the last Fishing Hut & Lone Lake Cabin before sneaking back for this one and the other Lake Cabins.

As I made my way around, I was able to confirm that there wasn't a bear denning on the lake this season, but as I was working my way back... the weather was taking a turn for the worse.

As I waited for a good opportunity to make a break for it... the wind had kicked up into a full-on blizzard.
Visibility was terrible and I knew I'd have to try and make it back to the Camp Office.  However, when I ventured out, one of the wolves had caught my sent.
I did my best to put some distance between my pursuer and I, but while I was trying to get away... I managed to get turned around.  By the time I'd gotten my bearings again, I found myself following the river.  I'd made a very wrong turn, and the wolf was still hot on my heels.  I pitched a few stones (which thankfully bought me a little time), but the wolf was very quickly back on my trail.  I kept pushing forward following the river until I was able to feel my way to the slope leading up the back way past the Mystery Lake Overlook.

I stopped off at the cave for a few minutes, to see what I could find... but decided that I just needed to push on and get back to the Camp Office.  If I was going to be snowed in... I may as well be where I could do some clothing harvesting and get some water prepared.  I was dangerously low on water, and while I had found enough soda to get me through another day... it just seemed a better use of time to get a fire going and make use of the cooking pots I'd left at the office, and the water purification tablets I'd managed to find while out and about today.
I did venture see the view from the Overlook... but, there was nothing but a "wall of white." :D 

After a little more fumbling along the path down the slopes... I was finally back at the Camp Office, safe and sound.

I spend the rest of the day (and about half the night) working on building up my water supply.  By the time I'd decided to let the fire burn out I had 16 liters prepped.  Those purification tablets were a godsend. 🤭
While tending the fire and seeing to the water... the storm broke.
Soon after it was dark, and another unexpected weather event started...
Not only had today brough the first blizzard, but the first aurora as well!

It didn't take long before the aurora was in full force... I had to venture out again to take a look.

This very quickly reminded me of why Great Bear Island has been one of my favorite places in the world.  Brutally harsh, yes... but also soul stirringly beautiful for those who can struggle hard enough to bear witness to it.

What a wild day... 🤭
I'm going to bed, hoping for a better tomorrow.



Edited by ManicManiac
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On 12/26/2022 at 8:19 PM, ManicManiac said:

On the way down the slope, I did sprain an ankle... so

“that was going to slow me down.”
A heavy pack, a sprain, and a bear...

“Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke”

Nice implementation of in-game dialogue! ✌️😀

On 12/26/2022 at 8:19 PM, ManicManiac said:
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Today, is more-or-less a repeat of yesterday...  The wolves and blizzard were disruptive enough to warrant a second circuit for that route.

However, this time I decided to visit the Lake Overlook first.  I'm not really concerned with surveying this time around... but I'll certainly go see (and use) the vistas for any polaroid's I find.  I did also waste a few hours... after I got back down to Mystery Lake, I realized I forgot to take a snapshot... so for the sake of chronicling, I hiked back up there to get one. :D  The rest of the day was spent visiting the Lake Shore Cabins, but I didn't find much.

It seems that Dave's last visit to his Quiet Clearing, really was his last... not entirely sure what happened.  Either way it clearly wasn't a happy ending.

The sunlight through the fog looked hauntingly beautiful... I just had to stop for a moment to appreciate it.

I took an extra trip to set up a snare in the clearing just across the tracks from the Camp Office.  While I was there, I saw this fella leisurely grazing with a couple of doe friends... I wanted to leave them be, so I slowly backed away and headed back to the Office for the night.

I had a couple of cans of cooked peaches, but they were in pretty poor condition... so I had to take some antibiotics.
I knew I wasn't going to be in very good shape in the morning, so I'll have to take it easy tomorrow.




Edited by ManicManiac
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Yeah, the Peaches were 18%... so I knew they were a guaranteed bad time, but I still decided I would rather eat the worst food first (so that better quality stuff should sit out a while longer).  With the snare and fishing tackle... I'm considering whether to build up a healthier food supply, or just keep visiting locations and move on to the next region on the list.  I kind of don't want to stick around any one place for too long... so I think I'll keep on the move.  I do hope for a rabbit in the morning though, I need the material to make another snare for later on in the run.


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42 minutes ago, ManicManiac said:

Yeah, the Peaches were 18%... so I knew they were a guaranteed bad time, but I still decided I would rather eat the worst food first (so that better quality stuff should sit out a while longer).  With the snare and fishing tackle... I'm considering whether to build up a healthier food supply, or just keep visiting locations and move on to the next region on the list.  I kind of don't want to stick around any one place for too long... so I think I'll keep on the move.  I do hope for a rabbit in the morning though, I need the material to make another snare for later on in the run.


I know any low condition food is supposed to be almost  guaranteed trouble but I find it's so random. I've had food poisoning from 90+ sardines at level 4 I think, before yet I've seen someone eat ruined food at level 1 and be perfectly fine.   

Well it never hurts to have a few  bits of food in stock and fish come in handy for the fuel as well so you could just do that for a short while before moving on?    

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