We had friends over for dinner on Sunday evening and my friend asked if I’d been watching the new series on TV called “The Last Alaskans.” He said…”well its on right now”…so we turned on the television and as the highlights were running I recognized Heimo!…”hey I know that guy!”…and I rewound the DVR and sure enough it was Heimo Korth who came to Alaska as a 19 year old around 1974 while I was living in Fairbanks.
I don’t recall exactly how he came to be one of the comrades in our camaraderie, but he showed up fresh out of Wisconsin in Fairbanks and bunked at one place or another within the group. Jerry my roommate (OH) worked as a carpenter and spent 3 months of the fall in the Brooks Range first as a packer and then as an assistant guide under his cousin Keith, who was a Registered Alaskan Guide and had an exclusive hunting area in the Brooks Range.
The hunters came from around the world to hunt with Keith and once the bush plane landed at base camp in the Brooks Range, everything was moved by man and back pack frame. Heimo was eager to get out into the bush and jumped at the opportunity to pack for Jerry’s cousin that fall.
I was more interested in canoeing in those days and each fall would make a major canoe trip on one many drainages of interior Alaska. I was around Fairbanks for the first few years of Heimo’s tenure and whenever he was back in town he would have remarkable tales of his “green horn” days living in the bush…he is fortunate to have survived and its been especially special for me to get reacquainted and learn of his success living off the land in Alaska’s remote interior these past 40 years since I’ve last seen him!
The year that we left Alaska I knew that Heimo had spent the winter on St. Lawrence Island with the Inuit in the community of Savoonga AK. Keith was married and lived there as well when he wasn’t guiding in the Brooks Range. Jerry and I had spent five or six weeks out there as well as a few years before when we framed a new house for Keith and his family.
Later I had heard that he had married a gal from there and they had moved to a trap line in NE Alaska. Since then I’ve lost track and its been really fun to see how he’s made out over the years. Its been especially fun to see that he is the same enthusiastic, good natured, and enjoyable person that he was back in the early 70’s! Way to go Heimo!
I did notice in one of the episodes he was using a new Arctic Cat snow machine for his trapline and that he was towing kind of a crappy plastic sled (in my opinion anyway). I’ve been thinking that maybe I should see about hooking him up with a dandy new Wooden Trapping Toboggan!…a likeable guy if there ever was one!