By the1960s, the Munseys spent most of the year at Munsey’s Bear Camp, their lodge in Amook Pass, where Park guided bear hunters in Uyak and Spiridon Bays. He soon established another hunting camp at the south end of Becharof Lake on the Alaska Peninsula, where he guided bear, moose, and caribou hunts. Park was a registered guide and eventually became a master guide, holding master guide license number twelve.
Munsey’s Bear Camp was not just a lodge, it was a home. Pat cooked for the hunters and then held school for the kids in a corner of the living room. Mike and Bob assisted their father during the hunts as soon as they were old enough to climb the mountains. Toni, Patti, Jeri, and Peggy helped their mother in the kitchen, and all the kids learned how to safely run boats and shoot rifles.
Fish and Game employees and others often brought the Munseys sick or orphaned wild animals to nurse back to health or to raise. I’ve seen 8mm-movie footage that shows Pat, dressed in a raincoat and hip boots, standing in the ocean gently urging a baby harbor seal to swim. The pup had been abandoned by its mother soon after birth, so Pat assumed the maternal coaching responsibilities. Other pets included foxes, a magpie, and even a bald eagle that had fallen out of its nest. Their favorite pet, though, was a seagull they named Herbie. Once Herbie mastered flying, he would often fly out to greet members of the family when they returned home in their skiff.
During the March 27th, 1964 earthquake, Mike remembers walking to the generator shed with his father when the first jolt hit and sent him sprawling. They returned to the house and switched on the single-sideband radio, where they heard people yelling for help. The marine operator told listeners that there had been an earthquake and to standby for a tsunami warning announcement. Park and Pat gathered supplies and led the children up the hill behind the lodge, where they sat, huddled in sleeping bags, and waited for the water to subside.
The Munsey children have all carried remnants of their unique childhood into their present-day lives. Cooking is Toni’s passion, and she owns The Rendezvous, a bar and restaurant near Kodiak. On her menu, you will discover a few items that were inspired, at least in part, by recipes she learned from her mother at the lodge in Amook Pass. Patti and her husband, Rick, are both captains and have spent many years running large yachts. Their busy schedules have taken them to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific, among other places. Jeri and her husband, Mark, are also captains and operate a number of tour boats as well as a beautiful, 57-ft. sailboat on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Bob is a commercial fisherman and fishes a gill-net site at Chief Cove in Uyak Bay. He also guides bear, deer, and goat hunters alongside Mike. Bob’s wife, Linda, is a nurse. Peggy lives in Oregon with her two, beautiful children. She is a nurse like her mother, but she now operates a dog kennel and an animal sanctuary.
Mike and I still run Munsey’s Bear Camp. In 2016, the business will be sixty years old, and for fifty-eight of those years, Munsey’s Bear Camp has been in Amook Pass in Uyak Bay. Mike and I have expanded the activities at the lodge to include wildlife-viewing and sport fishing. Both Mike and Bob are master guides, and they still guide bear, deer, and mountain goat hunts in Uyak and Spiridon Bays.