Life in Alaska: Safeguarding Provisions High and Dry

Life in Alaska: Advice from an Alaskan trapper on safeguarding provisions high and dry when you have to be away from your home or camp deep in the woods.

| September/October 1982

Life in Alaska: Alaskans in the bush use a cache — an elevated storage shelter of one kind or another — safeguarding provisions high and dry. 

Life in Alaska: Safeguarding Provisions High and Dry

Just about everybody in the Alaskan bush uses a cache — an elevated storage shelter of one kind or another — to keep food and gear high and dry. You see, when a person is living many miles from the nearest store, protecting his or her vital supplies from the elements — and from four-legged marauders — is a downright necessity. But I'll bet that a lot of you folks in the lower forty-eight (and in the Aloha State, as well) could sometimes — for any of a number of reasons — also make use of a sturdy and secure storage loft.

Now I don't suppose that many of you are likely to need anything quite as elaborate as the big 10 foot by 10 foot log-cabin-on-stilts caches that a lot of settlers up here have built at their permanent homesteads . . . but you might have occasion to use a more temporary sort of stash. Say, for example, that you're on an extended hunting trip, and you plan to leave your base camp for several days to scout the surrounding territory. You wouldn't want to carry all your provisions with you . . . but you wouldn't want to leave any of them unprotected, either. That's one instance when you might choose to build a treetop cache of the sort my partner, Jeff Coe, put together one spring.

Jeff and I had just finished trapping in the area surrounding a tiny outpost cabin some 22 miles from home. We planned to be away from camp all summer . . . but we also knew that we'd be back later in the year to resume our activities. So it made good sense to us to construct a critter-resistant cache for storing our supplies until the next trapping season.

Well, within just a couple of hours, Jeff had assembled a strong, rustic repository . . . using little more than a few nails, some heavy wire, and two tin cans! Here's how he did it:


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