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Lottery winner scratches one off list

Gary Holk

BY Sarah smith

It was the trip of a lifetime, a real bucket lister.

When Gary Holk of Park Rapids won the lottery scratch off prize of $100,000 in November 2012, he dusted off a lifetime dream that had been shelved, he thought forever.

Last month he and son Scott spent 12 days in the Alaskan wilderness near Denali National Park, hunting moose.

Holk gets so excited peeling out his album of pictures that he’s at the end of his story before you realize they never shot a moose. Up in Alaska, they must measure 50 inches or more before hunters can fire a weapon.

For Holk it didn’t matter.

They flew to Anchorage, took a three-hour float plane inland, then took a three-hour boat ride to their spike camp where they met other hunters and guides.

“It was something I always wanted to do even if we didn’t get a moose,” Gary Holk said.

The Holks could have taken a grizzly bear with their permits, but just photographing a grizzly’s monstrous footprint in mud convinced the elder Holk “that was as close as I wanted to be.”

The two men hunted from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., covering the vast wilderness.

They saw plenty of moose, just none the magic size.

But Holk is still optimistic he might strike gold again in the lottery and return someday soon.

He looks a bit sheepish when he says that, realizing his once-in-a-lifetime adventure might not be a twice-in-a-lifetime deal.

“I think I had my one strike,” he admits.

But if the lottery gods are listening, Holk still has some of his initial winnings left and he wouldn’t need another jackpot to add to that.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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