Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Gloria McNutt, Part 2

This is a continuation of the interview with Gloria McNutt on January 23, 2015 by Karen Brewster and Rachel Mason at her home in Anchorage, Alaska. Gloria's daughter, Terry Stone, assisted with the interview and added her own memories to the discussion. Terry's husband, Roger, was also present during parts of the interview. In this second part of a two part interview, Gloria continues to talk about her husband's guiding business based out of Chisana and Horsfeld in the Wrangell St. Elias Mountains. She talks about the areas used for hunting, making a living from guiding and changes in the guiding business. She also talks about living on a homestead and how her husband cared for the horses he used in guiding.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2013-14-15_PT.2

Project: Wrangell-St.Elias National Park
Date of Interview: Jan 23, 2015
Narrator(s): Gloria McNutt, Terry Stone
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster, Rachel Mason
Transcriber: Sue Beck
People Present: Terry Stone, Roger Stone
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
Slideshow
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Sections

Creeks around Chisana and Horsfeld used for guided hunts

Changes in Chisana and use of her property

Changes in the guiding profession and difficulty in making a living from it

Ray McNutt getting started in the guiding business at Chisana

End of McNutt's guiding career

Special clients

Role of guides and clients in a guided hunt

Becoming friends with clients

Lack of female clients

Berry picking and gardening

Learning to live on a remote homestead

Homestead in Sterling, Alaska

Heating and cooking at homestead in Chisana, Alaska

Caring for the horses at Chisana

A big horse named Pink, and using pack and riding horses

Buying the outfit at Chisana

Hardships and joys of living at Chisana

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Transcript

RACHEL MASON: Okay, you said that your husband fished -- or guided all between Horsfeld and Chisana on all these different creeks here? GLORIA McNUTT: Yes, he did.

RACHEL MASON: So, what about Beaver Creek? Was that one of them? GLORIA McNUTT: Yes. Uh-huh. RACHEL MASON: Okay. And then Carl Creek? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh my, yes. Carl Creek.

RACHEL MASON: And -- and Klein Creek? GLORIA McNUTT: Klein. RACHEL MASON: Creek. TERRY STONE: Klein. Ophir. ROGER STONE: Wilson. RACHEL MASON: Ophir. Wilson.

TERRY STONE: Wilson. RACHEL MASON: Wilson. I don’t see Wilson.

TERRY STONE: Wilson’s up close to Chisana. RACHEL MASON: Oh, okay.

TERRY STONE: I don’t know if it’s called Wilson on the map, but -- KAREN BREWSTER: That’s what you guys called it? TERRY STONE: Hm-mm GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

RACHEL MASON: Yeah, I don’t see a Wilson on this. TERRY STONE: Yeah, I think it's not called Wilson.

RACHEL MASON: There’s a James Creek. Was that one of them? GLORIA McNUTT: I don’t remember that name. RACHEL MASON: That might be Wilson.

And you talked about another guide that was working in that same area, who -- who had a different territory. KAREN BREWSTER: Overly. GLORIA McNUTT: Terry Overly.

RACHEL MASON: Terry Overly. Where -- where did he take his clients? GLORIA McNUTT: Let’s see, where’s the airstrip?

KAREN BREWSTER: The Chisana airstrip? GLORIA McNUTT: Right.

RACHEL MASON: Uh, right there. TERRY STONE: He might have gone more Euchre (Mountain) sometimes.

GLORIA McNUTT: Yeah, he hunted down further away. TERRY STONE: Towards the other -- towards the river the other way. GLORIA McNUTT: He hunted across the way there. RACHEL MASON: Oh, okay, okay. The other --

KAREN BREWSTER: So he went west? TERRY STONE: Yeah. GLORIA McNUTT: Yeah. He went up.

KAREN BREWSTER: And your -- and Ray went more east and north? GLORIA McNUTT: Yes.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. How far -- well, I guess he just stayed in the mountains.

GLORIA McNUTT: Why didn’t he stay in the mountains?

KAREN BREWSTER: No. He did. I was just thinking, how far up the Chisana River and north towards the park boundary did he go? But I would guess he just stayed in the mountain area.

He didn’t go out into the flats very much? GLORIA McNUTT: No. Uh-uhn.

RACHEL MASON: Was he primarily a sheep guide, also? GLORIA McNUTT: Yes, uh-huh. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And sheep don’t go down in those river valleys a lot. GLORIA McNUTT: I’m sure they don’t. RACHEL MASON: No, no. KAREN BREWSTER: No.

TERRY STONE: They come down towards the bottom of the mountain once in a while. KAREN BREWSTER: Towards what? TERRY STONE: Towards the bottom of the mountain. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah. But not -- I was thinking of those flats out there. GLORIA McNUTT: No. Uh-uhn. KAREN BREWSTER: No. Although I suppose you could get a moose out there.

RACHEL MASON: Were there any miners living in Chisana when you were there? GLORIA McNUTT: No. Uh-uhn.

TERRY STONE: Up at Bonanza, there’s somebody mining. KAREN BREWSTER: Bonanza? Somebody was mining while they were there? TERRY STONE: There’s some people still mining. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I know there’s still mining. RACHEL MASON: Oh, yeah. GLORIA McNUTT: Bonanza Creek. RACHEL MASON: Okay.

KAREN BREWSTER: And Gold Hill. That area. You missed the big 1913 gold rush. GLORIA McNUTT: Yes. Thank goodness. RACHEL MASON: By a long shot. I think we can put this away (referring to map).

KAREN BREWSTER: So when was the last time you were out in Chisana? GLORIA McNUTT: Let me think. KAREN BREWSTER: Five years ago? TERRY STONE: No, it's probably -- I think it was --

KAREN BREWSTER: A couple years ago? TERRY STONE: A couple of years ago. KAREN BREWSTER: Couple of years ago. GLORIA McNUTT: Yeah. Hm-mm. Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what did you think? Has it changed? GLORIA McNUTT: Not much. Thank goodness. KAREN BREWSTER: Thank goodness.

RACHEL MASON: What’s going on with your property out there? Is it -- Is it -- Is anybody living out there?

TERRY STONE: We go out there in the summers. When I retire, we’ll stay longer. RACHEL MASON: Oh. GLORIA McNUTT: I just gave it to the family. TERRY STONE: We're working on fixing up the place.

GLORIA McNUTT: And grandson and somebody -- he took somebody out there to hunt, and he didn’t like the situation so he brought 'em back.

RACHEL MASON: Oh, what -- what didn’t he like about it? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, the way the man acted. RACHEL MASON: Oh. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

TERRY STONE: He wanted to shoot anything in sight. They actually saw a wood bison come up the airstrip, and the guy he was with wanted to shoot it.

So that’s when he said, “I need to get him out of here.” RACHEL MASON: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So is it being passed down through the family then? TERRY STONE: Yes. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: That your grandson is wanting to be a guide? GLORIA McNUTT: I doubt it.

TERRY STONE: Not wanting to be a guide. Just hunt for his own personal -- GLORIA McNUTT: Just hunt. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, he just hunts for his own --

TERRY STONE: Guiding is kind of a lost, you know, profession.

KAREN BREWSTER: Is it? Guiding’s a lost profession? People aren’t doing it anymore? GLORIA McNUTT: A few but -- TERRY STONE: Well, most people don’t get into it that are young. There’s no money in it. It’s just for the enjoyment of it.

GLORIA McNUTT: And there’s no areas left to, you know, start out on. So they have to just start with somebody who’s already there.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, what happened to your husband’s business? When he stopped guiding --? TERRY STONE: He sold Horsfeld.

KAREN BREWSTER: He sold his -- TERRY STONE: -- rights to Horsfeld. KAREN BREWSTER: -- rights to Horsfeld?

GLORIA McNUTT: Mm-hm. And the man is there, but he’s just --

TERRY STONE: No, he sold it again. Jack sold it to somebody else.

GLORIA McNUTT: He came over. Was it last summer or the summer before last? On horseback, just bringing horses over.

KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. But they're not -- whoever bought it is not using it as a guiding operation? TERRY STONE: I think at Horsfeld they are, yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: In Horsfeld, they are?

RACHEL MASON: Is it possible to make a living doing that nowadays? GLORIA McNUTT: I doubt it. TERRY STONE: If you have a pretty substandard living, yeah. RACHEL MASON: Or another source of income?

KAREN BREWSTER: I wonder why the difference? I mean, your husband obviously was able to make a living as a guide.

What’s changed that people can’t do that anymore? GLORIA McNUTT: Hm?

KAREN BREWSTER: How is it different? Are -- are people -- are clients not hiring guides anymore? Are there not enough animals?

GLORIA McNUTT: I have no idea to be truthful. There’s no new areas to -- You know, you’d have to inherit something, and it’s been hunted for so long, there’s probably not as many animals around.

TERRY STONE: It’s expensive. I mean, he never made a really good living at it. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-uhn.

TERRY STONE: Because you have to have airplane insurance that’s very expensive. And insurance for the horses, and all the groceries and flying everything in. Very expensive.

KAREN BREWSTER: So did he -- did your husband have other work to supplement the income from guiding? Like, in the winter did he do other jobs?

TERRY STONE: Yeah, sometimes he flew for other people. GLORIA McNUTT: Once in a while.

KAREN BREWSTER: He was a pilot for other people? GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: He didn’t go back to work at the fire department? GLORIA McNUTT: No. Uh-uhn. We were living on the Kenai Peninsula then.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hm-mm. So you lived off your postmistress salary? GLORIA McNUTT: Postmaster. KAREN BREWSTER: Postmaster.

GLORIA McNUTT: They don’t pay you enough to be anybody’s mistress!

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that’s -- you know -- yeah, that’s hard. That’s not a big salary and -- GLORIA McNUTT: Well, everything we had was paid for.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hm-mm. But it’s interesting that -- how, if he sold the guiding business it didn’t contr -- like he bought his guiding business from somebody else and was able to get into it that way. TERRY STONE: No, it wasn’t the guiding business.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, he bought the outfitter -- he bought the outfit, right? TERRY STONE: Just the land and the buildings and equipment. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I see. Okay. He still had to go get his own guiding gear? GLORIA McNUTT: Yes. Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: He just bought the property and buildings. Okay. And some of the equipment maybe? That’s interesting. GLORIA McNUTT: Most of it that he got was all worn out, so he had to buy new.

KAREN BREWSTER: And how did you guys -- how did you afford to do that? To buy all new equipment? GLORIA McNUTT: Well, not all new, but some.

TERRY STONE: A little at a time. He would buy certain -- some things every year, depending on whether he had a good year hunting or not so good.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, oh, this year that tent needs replacing or --?

GLORIA McNUTT: Right. I remember patching tents over in the big house. I still have a big sewing machine that patches tents. RACHEL MASON: Hm-mm. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And did -- did you provide clothing and equip--? Just tents and sleeping bags? GLORIA McNUTT: Correct. And food. KAREN BREWSTER: And food?

GLORIA McNUTT: And the horses. KAREN BREWSTER: And the horses. And the guide? GLORIA McNUTT: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: The knowledge. He brought a lot of knowledge, I’m sure.

So, when did -- when did Ray stop guiding? When did he close down the business?

TERRY STONE: I think about 2003. Somewhere around there.

KAREN BREWSTER: 2003? And when did he pass away? TERRY STONE: 2005. KAREN BREWSTER: 2005?

TERRY STONE: So, he guided up until about 78. When he was 78. KAREN BREWSTER: He was 78? TERRY STONE: Hm-mm. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. GLORIA McNUTT: And he was in good health.

RACHEL MASON: Did he slow down with the guiding over the years or, you know -- GLORIA McNUTT: Yes. RACHEL MASON: -- do fewer hunts? TERRY STONE: Yes. GLORIA McNUTT: Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: So did he retire from guiding because of his age and his -- declining health? Or why did he stop guiding?

GLORIA McNUTT: Just got to be bothersome. And we were living then on the Kenai Peninsula, and that was a long way to go. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

TERRY STONE: Well, you were living up in Anchorage. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh. Living here.

KAREN BREWSTER: You were living in Anchorage by then? It’s still a long way to go from Anchorage. GLORIA McNUTT: Right. Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: When you’re 78, it’s hard work being a guide. But he must’ve been in really good shape from all that mountain climbing. GLORIA McNUTT: Yes, he was. Hm-mm. He didn’t have any fat on him!

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and was it hard for him to stop doing that? GLORIA McNUTT: I think so. But he didn’t say anything. He was not a complainer. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm-mm. Yeah. He sounds like a man of few words. GLORIA McNUTT: He was.

KAREN BREWSTER: But it sounds like he was a good guide and -- GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, I’m sure. Everybody seemed to love him.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And he was good with people. GLORIA McNUTT: Must have been. Even the Germans all loved him.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, good. Terry, are there other things that you can remember that we're not --?

TERRY STONE: I remember the German hunter named Bruno. Do you remember him? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yes! TERRY STONE: We’d have to shine his shoes. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh. RACHEL MASON: Really? TERRY STONE: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: You had to -- he had to shine Bruno’s shoes? GLORIA McNUTT: He set them outside the door -- front -- you know, outside the door of his room and he expected me to have them polished by the morning. RACHEL MASON: Yeah.

TERRY STONE: And he was real nice. GLORIA McNUTT: Very nice.

KAREN BREWSTER: And did you polish them? GLORIA McNUTT: No. KAREN BREWSTER: No? GLORIA McNUTT: No, I didn't.

TERRY STONE: You made us polish them! KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, the kids polished them? TERRY STONE: The kids.

KAREN BREWSTER: The kids polished them. Did you add a little spit in there?

TERRY STONE: There was one hunter from Anchorage, when he was hunting moose -- Lester somebody? Remember him?

GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, Lester Snow. Uh-huh.

TERRY STONE: He would always gut-shoot his moose. And he always thought that was a real big joke, because -- 'cause gut shooting an animal is not good, but -- RACHEL MASON: Yeah. GLORIA McNUTT: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: It makes a big mess.

TERRY STONE: Big, big mess. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes.

TERRY STONE: But he came back every year for a moose.GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: And he’d always gut-shoot it? TERRY STONE: Always. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh. Yes. TERRY STONE: He just wasn’t a very good shot.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so that actually leads me to a question that as the guide or maybe assistant guide, you’re cleaning the animal and butchering it and --? GLORIA McNUTT: Right. TERRY STONE: Doing all the work.

KAREN BREWSTER: Doing all the work. The hunter doesn’t do any of that? GLORIA McNUTT: No. He stands over with the horns and has pictures made. RACHEL MASON: All he does is pull the trigger? GLORIA McNUTT: Yes.

TERRY STONE: And sometimes the guide or the assistant has to back him up if, you know, they don’t get the animal.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, if you -- if the -- if the client takes a shot that’s not a kill shot, I’m assuming the guide would -- would help so the animal doesn’t suffer. GLORIA McNUTT: Right. Correct.

TERRY STONE: And sometimes, you know, they get buck fever. Or they try to shoot something, and so you always have to kinda be in control of your client.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Yeah, you have to make sure they have the right distance and shooting at the right animal.

But yeah, to think that then the guide also has to clean the animal and butcher it and carry it all out? GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm. Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: Does the hunter carry anything? TERRY STONE: Yeah, they help carry some of it. KAREN BREWSTER: They help carry? GLORIA McNUTT: Right, they help. TERRY STONE: It's not --

GLORIA McNUTT: But not the heavy pieces. TERRY STONE: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: No. And they don’t get all bloody and dirty? GLORIA McNUTT: No. RACHEL MASON: Do -- do --?

TERRY STONE: Well, one time -- you can tell them about the time. I don’t remember what hunter, but he had the sheep horns and the hunter -- and he threw them down the mountain and the hunter almost dived after them because he was so worried they would get broken. KAREN BREWSTER: They'd get broken. RACHEL MASON: Oh!

TERRY STONE: And he was just making a joke. Saying it’s not going to get broken, you know.

GLORIA McNUTT: I'd forgotten about that.

RACHEL MASON: Are there any other notorious clients or -- that you remember or ones that --?

TERRY STONE: There was a guy from Texas. What was his name? He flew his own plane up. Elmer someth -- ? Not Elmer.

He had a Bonanza airplane. He and his wife lived in Odessa.

GLORIA McNUTT: Oh! What was their name? TERRY STONE: He flew up a -- a -- a lot of different years. I don’t know. But he came up.

GLORIA McNUTT: Elmer Smith. TERRY STONE: Elmer Smith, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what was -- what was special about him?

TERRY STONE: Just a real big Texas personality. He was an oil guy, wasn’t he? GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh. TERRY STONE: Really nice.

GLORIA McNUTT: Yeah, we went down and saw him later when we went to the States. They were --

TERRY STONE: So, a lot of his clients became really good friends.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Became friends. Well, also, you know, from Texas -- you -- you being from Texas and that man being from Texas, I think, yeah, you would have connected with each other. GLORIA McNUTT: Had something in common. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

RACHEL MASON: Were there very many female clients? GLORIA McNUTT: No.

RACHEL MASON: Were they all -- They were all men? Or mostly men? TERRY STONE: Mostly men. GLORIA McNUTT: He had a woman, I remember.

TERRY STONE: Yeah. Maybe a couple. But mostly men. GLORIA McNUTT: Mostly men.

KAREN BREWSTER: Would -- would wives come? TERRY STONE: No. Not usually. The men wanted to get away. RACHEL MASON: Yeah, yeah, right.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I was wondering if sometimes maybe the wife would come and stay in Chisana or Horsfeld?

TERRY STONE: Yeah. Sometimes they did that. Once in a while.

KAREN BREWSTER: That they’d stay with you in Chisana and then -- while their husbands went off. GLORIA McNUTT: Once in a blue moon. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, not very often? TERRY STONE: Not too often. GLORIA McNUTT: No. Uh-uhn.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, did -- were -- are there berries? Did you go berry picking? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yes. TERRY STONE: Yeah, you did. GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: And made jam? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh my, yes!

TERRY STONE: Yeah, you used to go cranberry and blueberry -- GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh. Mossberries.

KAREN BREWSTER: What are mossberries?

GLORIA McNUTT: I don’t think I made any jam with them. They’re little dark things. KAREN BREWSTER: Those little black ones? GLORIA McNUTT: Mm-hm. Right. KAREN BREWSTER: They kinda have a little seed in them? GLORIA McNUTT: I don’t remember. KAREN BREWSTER: I don't know. GLORIA McNUTT: Maybe that’s it.

TERRY STONE: But you made cranberry -- different kinds of cranberry jam. And then --

GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yes. Cranberry banana jam, I made. Everybody loved it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I'd think at your bed-and-breakfast those jams were probably popular. GLORIA McNUTT: Yes. Uh-huh.

RACHEL MASON: Well, I saw the four-foot-tall rhubarb plant in your -- your pictures, too. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yes. Uh-huh.

RACHEL MASON: Did -- did you have a garden out there? TERRY STONE: She tried.

GLORIA McNUTT: A little one. Uh-huh. I had -- my husband fenced it off to keep the horses out of it. And I’ve tried. Seems like I had about ten rows about twelve-foot long or something.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what did you try and grow?

GLORIA McNUTT: Everything that didn’t grow.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what did you grow? GLORIA McNUTT: I was from Texas and I tried to grow -- what was it --? TERRY STONE: A watermelon?

RACHEL MASON: Okra? GLORIA McNUTT: Yeah. I tried -- I tried okra, and I tried watermelon. I don’t remember now, but it was a disaster.

TERRY STONE: You'd grow carrots and radishes. KAREN BREWSTER: Carrots and radishes? RACHEL MASON: Yeah.

GLORIA McNUTT: They always grew.

KAREN BREWSTER: Lettuce? TERRY STONE: Lettuce. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yes, and lettuce.

KAREN BREWSTER: Potatoes? TERRY STONE: I don't think you grew potatoes. GLORIA McNUTT: I can’t remember. Did I?

TERRY STONE: No. GLORIA McNUTT: I don't think I --

TERRY STONE: You had strawberries when you were in Sterling. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yes. I had lots of strawberries. TERRY STONE: They had a great strawberry patch.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, in -- in Sterling, yeah. But not in Chisana? TERRY STONE: No. GLORIA McNUTT: No, uh-unh.

TERRY STONE: But people from the post office would go over and pick her strawberries and really make her mad. RACHEL MASON: Oh, I bet.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, if you weren’t there. You were in Chisana, you know -- TERRY STONE: No, she was --

GLORIA McNUTT: No, I was in the post office! And they'd go across -- Yeah, they'd go across the road there and pick the cranberries -- KAREN BREWSTER: The strawberries. GLORIA McNUTT: Strawberries. KAREN BREWSTER: Strawberries.

GLORIA McNUTT: But when one of them came into the post office eating one. That’s when I finally figured out what they were doing.

He hadn’t checked his mail. He’d check the strawberries before he did his mail.

KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh. Well, yeah, I would think out in Chisana and Horsfeld having a garden would've been very helpful. GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: To have some good produce.

GLORIA McNUTT: No, not really, but anyway we had some. RACHEL MASON: You'd think it would be. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, some fresh lettuce or some carrots. Something. GLORIA McNUTT: Right. Right, uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: A little bit to supplement. GLORIA McNUTT: Correct. KAREN BREWSTER: Since it was hard to get fresh vegetables. GLORIA McNUTT: Correct.

KAREN BREWSTER: And I -- I love berry picking. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh! KAREN BREWSTER: So, I can imagine up there it must’ve been good. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh. KAREN BREWSTER: Good berry picking up there.

GLORIA McNUTT: Yeah, I remember going across the strip, past our buildings, and up on the hill. And there was a lot of berries up there. KAREN BREWSTER: Blueberries? GLORIA McNUTT: Mm-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: 'Cause, yeah, my image -- well, I guess the pictures -- my image is all above tree line, but the pictures, there are trees there. TERRY STONE: Oh, yeah. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yeah.

TERRY STONE: Yeah, a lot of trees. Big, big spruce trees.

KAREN BREWSTER: Big, big spruce trees? GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. I guess 'cause I think sheep hunting, which is all above, I -- I have Chisana in my head as having no trees. But, it looks like it was a very pretty spot. GLORIA McNUTT: I thought so.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you miss it? GLORIA McNUTT: At times, yes.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. But living there in the winter sounds like it was pretty hard. GLORIA McNUTT: You get used to it.

KAREN BREWSTER: You get used to it. Well, somehow you arrived in -- in Alaska and were put on a homestead. GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Somehow you learned how to live that way. GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm

KAREN BREWSTER: How did you learn that? I mean, you didn’t grow up that way, did you? GLORIA McNUTT: No, I grew up in the middle of town. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

GLORIA McNUTT: I guess you could just say you learn if you have to get something done, you do it.

RACHEL MASON: Yeah. Did you learn how to heat your house in the freezing cold? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh my, yes.

RACHEL MASON: How did you heat it?

GLORIA McNUTT: With a woodstove. RACHEL MASON: With a woodstove? GLORIA McNUTT: And with blankets over doors that we didn’t -- on the rooms we didn’t need heated. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh.

RACHEL MASON: That must’ve been hard coming from Texas to Alaska.

GLORIA McNUTT: Well, I didn’t think about it hard at the time. I was on my honeymoon. RACHEL MASON: That's right.

KAREN BREWSTER: What a great honeymoon. So, your husband had already started the homestead down in Sterling? When you arrived?

There was already a building? You already had a house there? TERRY STONE: No, I don't think so.

GLORIA McNUTT: No, not when I first arrived. TERRY STONE: You were in Anchorage for a while. RACHEL MASON: They were in Anchorage.

GLORIA McNUTT: In Anchorage. Uh-huh. And then down at Bing Brown’s. And his dad and brother and uncle came down and helped him build our first building

RACHEL MASON: Were -- were you already there then? GLORIA McNUTT: I don’t think so. TERRY STONE: I don't know. That was before my time.

KAREN BREWSTER: You were in Anchorage and they went down and built a house for you? TERRY STONE: They were working on it. KAREN BREWSTER: Something -- GLORIA McNUTT: I can’t -- I can't remember for sure.

KAREN BREWSTER: By the time you moved to the homestead, there was a house for you to move into? GLORIA McNUTT: Right. Hm-mm. Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. And did you have horses down there, also? GLORIA McNUTT: Not then. KAREN BREWSTER: Not then. TERRY STONE: Later on. KAREN BREWSTER: Later? GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: 'Cause how big was the homestead? How many acres?

TERRY STONE: Eighty. GLORIA McNUTT: Eighty. TERRY STONE: The first one. And then they homesteaded on the other side of the lake. And it was a hundred and sixty there, I think.

They sold the first homestead -- GLORIA McNUTT: Right. Uh-huh. TERRY STONE: -- and then built it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay, so you did two homesteads? GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh. KAREN BREWSTER: And so --

GLORIA McNUTT: And then when I moved out to Chisana, I consider that a third homestead.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I would think so. Well, and then Horsfeld. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, uh-huh. KAREN BREWSTER: So now you have four, if you add Horsfeld. That’s a lot of homesteading. GLORIA McNUTT: Right. But, I enjoyed it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hm-mm. And did you heat water on the woodstove? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh my, yes. Mm-hm. In a big number-three tub. KAREN BREWSTER: Hm-mm.

TERRY STONE: She had a special woodstove that had a flat top that she could make pancakes on. Didn’t Dad do that for you? Or have it welded? GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm. Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, so you could cook right on -- well, there are wood -- there are wood cookstoves, but you -- this was your hea --?

TERRY STONE: It was an old fifty-five-gallon barrel. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, an old fifty-five-gallon barrel that he converted? TERRY STONE: Kinda like that, yeah. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it sounds like he was very handy. GLORIA McNUTT: Yes, he was. Thank goodness. RACHEL MASON: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And so the homestead down in Sterling -- or both of those homesteads, you had horses and garden and -- Did you farm the --? GLORIA McNUTT: No. Uh-uhn. KAREN BREWSTER: No. You just lived there.

TERRY STONE: He only brought down horses in Sterling that he didn’t think would survive the winter in Chisana.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. So he’d walk -- TERRY STONE: He'd walk 'em out. KAREN BREWSTER: The Chisana ones, he’d walk them out? TERRY STONE: Yeah, and bring 'em --

KAREN BREWSTER: In the fall time and bring them out and keep a better eye on them? TERRY STONE: Hm-mm. GLORIA McNUTT: Correct. So they wouldn’t die. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

RACHEL MASON: He’d walk them out and then drive them down there after --? TERRY STONE: Yes. GLORIA McNUTT: Right. He’d walk them out to Beaver Creek in Canada. RACHEL MASON: Oh, okay. GLORIA McNUTT: And then drive them back down the highway. RACHEL MASON: Interesting.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, he had a truck and a horse trailer? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yeah. TERRY STONE: Not a horse trailer, just a big truck. GLORIA McNUTT: Not a horse trailer, just a big truck.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. And the horses would go in it? TERRY STONE: The horses would ride in the back, yeah. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh. This one, this one --\ TERRY STONE: Some of them didn't like going in it. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Wow.

GLORIA McNUTT: I think he put four in there at times, didn’t he? TERRY STONE: Mm-hm. In the small truck. Then he got a bigger truck where he could hold more.

KAREN BREWSTER: Huh. I guess those horses had good balance. TERRY STONE: Yeah. GLORIA McNUTT: They’d have to.

KAREN BREWSTER: Because that road -- all the way, Beaver Creek to Sterling would not have been very good.

GLORIA McNUTT: No, it wasn’t. TERRY STONE: It wouldn't have been a very fun ride. KAREN BREWSTER: No.

GLORIA McNUTT: They were happy to get out, I’m sure. KAREN BREWSTER: I'm sure. Yeah.

GLORIA McNUTT: Then I remember the one time there in Sterling, where he had the -- oh, what was that horse’s name that was so friendly? TERRY STONE: I don't know.

GLORIA McNUTT: Well anyway, I had the post office, and he had gotten out of the fence over there where he -- by the airstrip. And so when my customers drove up, he just decided to come over and see ‘em and stick his nose into their window.

And I’m in the post office and I hear somebody go and screaming. And I go out there. It was just Spades looking to see who was coming by. RACHEL MASON: Oh.

KAREN BREWSTER: Nice, friendly horse. RACHEL MASON: At least he wasn’t eating the mail. GLORIA McNUTT: No. So people got used to him.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And so in Chisana and Horsfeld during the summertime, the horses were in corrals? GLORIA McNUTT: No. Uh-unh. They were loose. KAREN BREWSTER: They were loose in the summer, too?

GLORIA McNUTT: Right. TERRY STONE: Well, during hunting season, though -- GLORIA McNUTT: He'd keep them up.

TERRY STONE: He had a big pasture at Chisana, and they’d keep them in the pasture for the hunt. KAREN BREWSTER: They'd keep them in pasture? GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

TERRY STONE: Have to feed them all the time because there wasn’t enough food in the pasture.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. ‘Cause I was thinking, when he was using them during guiding season -- GLORIA McNUTT: Yes, he had to keep them up. RACHEL MASON: He'd want to have them right there. GLORIA McNUTT: Right. KAREN BREWSTER: He'd have them -- I was just wondering if he -- if he had them at close hand? TERRY STONE: Hm-mm. GLORIA McNUTT: Correct.

KAREN BREWSTER: He could gather them up.

TERRY STONE: And then out on the hunts, they would be hobbled while they were hunting. And then a guide, the assistant guide would have to go round them up. GLORIA McNUTT: Give them a nosebag.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. When they’re hobbled they don’t go very far? TERRY STONE: Not usually. KAREN BREWSTER: Probably.

GLORIA McNUTT: We had one that went -- where did he go? TERRY STONE: I don't know. GLORIA McNUTT: I forgot how many miles he went with hobbles on. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, my.

GLORIA McNUTT: He went all the way back to Chisana -- to Horsfeld. RACHEL MASON: Wow,

KAREN BREWSTER: That’s a long way. GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm. KAREN BREWSTER: He was a determined horse. GLORIA McNUTT: He was. I forgot his name.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I -- With that many horses, I don’t know how you could remember any of their names. That's --

GLORIA McNUTT: Well, I wasn’t around them a lot either. My husband could have told you exactly, but not me.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. But from 1989 to 2003 is when he guided in Chisana? GLORIA McNUTT: Okay,

TERRY STONE: Well, he was guiding up there a lot longer, before they moved up there fulltime. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yes. RACHEL MASON: Yeah. GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when did he get the business from Folger? TERRY STONE: In the late ‘60s. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, late '60s? GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So I would say, all that time, that’s a lot of horses that he used. So I’m amazed you remember any of them.

‘Cause he -- he must’ve used -- gone through quite a number.

GLORIA McNUTT: I remember old Pink. He was a great big horse. And he was named Pink, I guess, wasn’t he? When we got him? TERRY STONE: He was a pack horse, but he wore a number four shoe. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: I don’t know what a number four shoe --? RACHEL MASON: Is that shoe -- ?

GLORIA McNUTT: A big -- one of the biggest ones. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh-huh.

TERRY STONE: A lot of horses wore zero-zero or zero or one. GLORIA McNUTT: And he had -- TERRY STONE: He had a number four.

KAREN BREWSTER: So are pack horses usually smaller horses? GLORIA McNUTT: Bigger. KAREN BREWSTER: They're usually big horses? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, yeah. So they could haul more. They'd have the strength to do it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hm-mm. So, Pink was a good pack horse?

GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, my yes. That was all he was.

And one time, it seemed like I remember Mac saying that -- whether it was he or a guide -- they were somewhere and they just jumped on Pink’s back to ride somewhere. And he said, “Boy! Pink just perked up -- I’m the -- I’m the ridin’ horse now!”

RACHEL MASON: What -- where did they get the horses from? GLORIA McNUTT: Canada.

RACHEL MASON: From Canada? From a specific dealer in Canada or -- ?

GLORIA McNUTT: No, different. He would go down to -- what was it, Fort St. John? TERRY STONE: Hm-mm.

GLORIA McNUTT: Fort St. John. And there was a man down there that he worked with that would -- knows people. You know, out around. And tell them that Mac was coming. And so he would go look at the horses.

TERRY STONE: He got a couple of horses in Palmer and different places. They just -- GLORIA McNUTT: They didn’t last.

TERRY STONE: Most of the time he wanted bigger horses.

KAREN BREWSTER: The -- the better horses came from Canada? GLORIA McNUTT: Yes.

KAREN BREWSTER: They were bred as pack horses? I mean, so he went and looked specifically for a pack horse? GLORIA McNUTT: Right.

TERRY STONE: Or riding horses. He had to have riding horses -- GLORIA McNUTT: Well, he used riding horses, both. KAREN BREWSTER: He had both? GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So, one horse -- you have riding horses and you have pack horses? GLORIA McNUTT: Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: Not -- They don’t overlap? GLORIA McNUTT: No. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay, They’re different breeds or they’re different --?

TERRY STONE: But not necessarily. GLORIA McNUTT: They’re just different sizes. RACHEL MASON: Different animal? KAREN BREWSTER: Different sizes, yeah.

And, yeah, there're certainly horses who don’t like to have riders on them, I’m sure. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So you keep saying “Mac.” Was that your husband’s nickname?

GLORIA McNUTT: Right. Ray McNutt. And when I met him down in Texas, everybody called him Mac.

And went back up here, everybody called him Ray, because he had so many -- he had his father and his uncle and a brother up here. So they’ve -- all by their first names.

KAREN BREWSTER: But you -- you -- you called him Mac? GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh. But everybody else called him Ray.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it makes sense. Mac’s a good nickname. It makes sense given his name. Yeah.

I kind of wanna just know more about life in Horsfeld and Chisana. I’m not sure I have the years right. So they lived there --

TERRY STONE: They only lived there full-time for three years. KAREN BREWSTER: And that was?

TERRY STONE: But after she retired -- RACHEL MASON: '89 to '92. TERRY STONE: -- they spent summers there and hunting season, of course.

KAREN BREWSTER: Right. TERRY STONE: And came out from there. KAREN BREWSTER: So the three years were ‘89 to ‘92?

TERRY STONE: I think somewhere right around there. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Yeah.

TERRY STONE: But he would have spring bear hunts down in Port Heiden. And they never really lived at Horsfeld. That was just used as a hunting camp.

KAREN BREWSTER: Hm-mm. But they -- but he started going up there -- up to Chisana in the ‘60s?

GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm. When Folger was there. And then he decided he liked it, so then he bought the outfit from Folger. Because Folger wanted to retire and go south. RACHEL MASON: I see.

KAREN BREWSTER: And maybe Folger showed him some of the good areas to go hunting?

GLORIA McNUTT: Well, I’m sure he showed him what he could. Or he should have. KAREN BREWSTER: He should have, yeah. Okay.

GLORIA McNUTT: If you want to sell a place, you kinda talk it up, I’m sure.

KAREN BREWSTER: I would think so. Well, it looks like a beautiful place. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, it is.

TERRY STONE: Oh, actually, he didn’t buy it from Folger. Folger got killed in the car accident. GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, that’s right. We bought it from --

TERRY STONE: But Paul Jovich was a Native that was in there working for Folger. And he somehow inherited it. So Dad bought it from him. RACHEL MASON: Oh.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. But he was going -- he was probably going to buy it when Folger -- GLORIA McNUTT: Yes, uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then Folger was killed in the process? GLORIA McNUTT: Right. Uh-huh. KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. And ---

TERRY STONE: Paul was from Cordova. And once he sold the place, he went back to Cordova. GLORIA McNUTT: He was happy to.

KAREN BREWSTER: He didn't want to -- Paul didn’t want to stay? RACHEL MASON: He didn’t want to run it himself? GLORIA McNUTT: No. Uh-unh.

TERRY STONE: He didn't know how to fly. Didn’t have any way to run a business.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, so are you glad you got to spend that time out in the Wrangell Mountains? GLORIA McNUTT: Oh, my yes! I loved it!

KAREN BREWSTER: And what was the hardest thing about being out there? You said how nice it was. You liked the wilderness. But what was hard about it?

GLORIA McNUTT: Well, at different -- when I first went out, it was hard to get used to it. To get accustomed.

And then later on, it was hard to leave it because I really liked it.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what was -- hard to get used to what? To get accustomed to what?

GLORIA McNUTT: Well, to being out of town. To being away from the telephone and such.

RACHEL MASON: What -- what do you miss about it now?

GLORIA McNUTT: At my age, nothing. I like the convenience of being here.

But just the -- just what I liked about it. The being out by yourself.

KAREN BREWSTER: The peace and quiet? GLORIA McNUTT: Hm-mm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, it’s nice to know that it’s still there and your family’s taking care of it. GLORIA McNUTT: Uh-huh.

KAREN BREWSTER: And hopefully people will be able to enjoy it in the future. GLORIA McNUTT: I hope so. I imagine they will.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's good. Well, thank you so much. RACHEL MASON: Yeah.

GLORIA McNUTT: Why, you’re welcome. My goodness. RACHEL MASON: Thank you, yeah. It's been very interesting.

GLORIA McNUTT: I hope I gave you something that you wanted or so. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yes. Very interesting.

RACHEL MASON: Very interesting.

KAREN BREWSTER: Is there anything else that we haven’t asked you that is in your mind you want to tell us? Some story or something?

GLORIA McNUTT: I can’t think right now. Will after y’all leave.

RACHEL MASON: It’s all right. KAREN BREWSTER: That always happens. Thank you very much.

GLORIA McNUTT: Thank y'all very much for being interested even. RACHEL MASON: Yeah.