Life in Alaska

The Passage

The Passage

"The Passage" A Story of Fathers and Sons Traveling Alaska's Inside Passage About "The Passage" In 1974, Nathan Dappen's 20-year-old parents and uncle, Andy, built their own canoes, launched them into the Pacific, and became some the first people in modern history to...

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The Good Old Days

The Good Old Days

The day before was one of those warm sunny days in Palmer, Alaska, when at 40 degrees students ran around in t-shirts, or at least short sleeve shirts, and a spring was in everyone’s step. School was almost over for the year and we were all excited for summer vacation to begin.

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Fleas, Refrigerators and Fur Fish

Fleas, Refrigerators and Fur Fish

Moran made it as far as Juneau where he found an Eskimo who spoke no English. Charlie Pastolik bought the icebox for “$100, two fox furs and a piece of ivory.” But that wasn’t the end of Moran’s Alaskan adventure. In addition to his broadcasts on NBC, he hacked 300 pounds of “Arctic ice” from the Mendenhall Glacier—which was quite a feat since the Arctic Circle was 1,000 miles to the north—and collected two fleas from the back of Pastolik’s husky which he secreted in a matchbox. From Juneau he went directly to Hollywood where he pitched Paramount Pictures on using the fleas in a movie.

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A Quick Bite of Alaska

A Quick Bite of Alaska

The fishing was great! We averaged one to two fish per drift, including two fish over 25 inches. The time flew by, and after countless fish, it was finally time to head back to camp. At day’s end, I thought about an old Will Rogers quote: “If all politicians fished instead of speaking publicly, we’d be at peace in the world.” Mr. Rogers hit the nail on the head with that one.

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Flying, Oysters and a Day at the Spa

Flying, Oysters and a Day at the Spa

We met up on the helicopter pad located behind the lodge, and after receiving our safety instructions and meeting with our pilot, Leif, myself, and two other guests boarded the R44 helicopter. As it warmed up and the rotors started spinning, all of my trepidation subsided and was replaced with sheer exhilaration. We twirled our way into the sky and up the Knik River Valley.

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“Goodbye, Little Cabin”

“Goodbye, Little Cabin”

All good things must come to an end After living in Alaska as a young man in the military, my dream was to return someday. That dream became a reality when I moved my family to Alaska in September 1971, to accept a job about 20 miles east of Fairbanks at Eielson Air...

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Our Survival Story – Part I

Our Survival Story – Part I

Standed, alone, and fighting for survival on Monahan Flats My Name is Vivian (Cotter) Mayo, and with my husband, Scott, I reside in Cantwell, Alaska, where we’ve lived, loved, and nearly frozen to death—this is our survival story. First, I should lay some groundwork...

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Cross-Country Ski Adventure to Whittier

Cross-Country Ski Adventure to Whittier

Excerpt from the book “A Normal Life“ Looking back, I see many ways I might have died exploring Alaska’s vast wilderness. I knew some people who did. Somehow, my friends and I survived, although given some of the risks we took, we were lucky. One overnight winter...

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Hack! Pack! Crack! Stack!

Hack! Pack! Crack! Stack!

I used a National Guard re-enlistment bonus to buy a new Stihl chainsaw, a peavey, an axe, and a splitting maul. My friends in the National Guard gave me a hard time. They had heard of people re-enlisting to get money to buy a new car but never a new chainsaw.

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Going Over The Edge

Going Over The Edge

The dangers of landing on a mountain top When flying a small plane there is always a chance of encountering unfavorable weather conditions. In mountainous regions one common risk is downsloping wind, a wind that comes from the top of a mountain and stops you from...

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Experiencing Talkeetna in Winter

Experiencing Talkeetna in Winter

Alaskan winters are long and cold, so I’m always looking for new ways to make the season fun and exciting. I contacted the Alaska Railroad to find out about their winter schedule, and learned that the Aurora winter train runs on the weekends. It starts out on Saturday...

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Our Survival Story – Part 1

Our Survival Story – Part 1

My Name is Vivian (Cotter) Mayo, and with my husband, Scott, I reside in Cantwell, Alaska, where we’ve lived, loved, and nearly frozen to death—this is our survival story. First, I should lay some groundwork about how we came to live in the small village of...

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Connecting Scammon Bay

Connecting Scammon Bay

  We circled the village of Scammon Bay, which sprawled across a hillside near the Bering Sea coast. The airstrip looked good for landing the Cessna, but I could see people standing nearby. I wondered why they were waiting there. It was July 1972. I led RCA Alascom’s...

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Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever

When I was young my family lived for several years in a little cabin near Big Lake, and at the same time my father built another cabin out in the woods, up north and out of town, where we would go in the summers when school got out. We traded one log stove for a...

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Sled Dog Mail

Sled Dog Mail

Delivering the mail to Alaska has always presented a formidable challenge to the U.S. Postal Service. Letters, parcels, and supplies from the “Lower 48 states” often took weeks or months to reach their destinations. Steamships transported Alaska bound mail north from...

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