April is a slow month for Alaska outdoor adventures. Thus it is a great time to just work on getting into sheep shape. The weather is cool, the trails are not busy, and I can get a headstart on training for upcoming Alaska hunting trips this fall. Although I have four months until I will be sheep hunting in Alaska, at 55 years old, I need all that time if I expect to have a successful, enjoyable hunt.

This weekend my sheep hunting partner and I went to the Eklutna Lake State Recreation area and climbed up the Twin Peaks trail. We only carried 35-lb. packs, but it was enough on this relatively steep trail for this early in the season. Plus my partner is still getting over a respiratory illness and is not nearly at 100%.

The views of the lake and the long, mountain-fringed valley are a great reward for a difficult climb. Plus, grouse are out looking for mates this time of year so my Labrador was enthused. He even held still while they flushed because he knows that’s the deal if I don’t shoot. Still, he was not dissuaded and continued on looking for more.

Climbing companions

This was a great use of a Saturday morning in late April. Lakes are still too ice-covered to fish, but not by much. Things change fast this time of year. By next week at this time there will be several Matanuska Valley lakes open enough to fish. Both my wife and I are looking forward to that. I just inspected by 4-weight fly rod and got it ready for the first trip of the open-water season. Now I’m just waiting on Mother Nature.