Taylor Mountains are a small, remote cluster of mountains at the headwaters of the Holitna River, a good sized tributary to the Kuskokwim. They are surrounded by the tundra which carpets the floor of the vast Kuskokwim River Valley. There are no towns close by. No roads leading in.
We’d only traveled eight miles when the sky darkened and then, BOOM, it lit up with lightening. We were heading right into a thunderstorm. Bill had passed us about 20 minutes earlier and was nowhere in sight.
But there hasn’t been a single summer day at the Lodge where the foothills just across the Delta River haven’t called to me. Mts. McGinnis and Moffit, just visible from the lodge in amongst foothill gaps, sing snow-covered backup, the siren song of an extreme alpine Shangri La. And with equal regularity, European visitors would innocently ask upon arrival, “Where are your trails?”
I caught glimpses of new snow dusting the impossibly distant slopes that somehow still seemed to hang over us. Close by but still a safe couple hundred yards away, the East Fork of the Little Delta roared flood-stage warning to any who would approach; crossing that was a consideration only for the suicidal.
Denali, in all her glory, was on display like an actor on a stage, and we were the audience. We stood amazed at the performance before us, but suddenly remembered we weren’t here as mere spectators, but to capture the show.
Walking the Iditarod Trail, the long journey to Nome As you may recall from the first part of my story , I was walking to Nome following the Iditarod Trail with a goal to raise money for a friend who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Richard Redford didn’t have...
“Otzi the Iceman,” a mummy discovered in the Alps in 1991, was found to be carrying chunks of chaga in his possibles bag.
“… when it’s snowing horizontally at 50 miles per hour, you can’t see your hand in front of your face.”
Eventually the wolf circled around the kill, inching closer and closer to the bear and caribou carcass.
The eagle beats its massive wings, almost catches the osprey, but this time the osprey dives and evades the eagle. The eagle tires and gives up the chase while the osprey stalls in flight to get a better grip on the now lifeless trout.
Her eyes met mine, and she was as startled to see me as I her. I spoke soothingly to her and offered my hand out to allow her to smell me, but she jumped backward a few feet.
Sitting before the woodstove that evening, I felt the tiredness of my body. It is not a quick trip to paradise, but there I was, off the grid.
The idyllic port town of Seward quickly disappeared behind us as we sped across the water to more pristine coastal wildlife habitat. The sky became mostly cloudy with patches of blue by the time we reached Agnes Cove where we were fortunate enough to view an orca (killer) whale with a calf swimming by her side.
Heading for Montague Island, we were on a deserted beach in short order. With perfectly calm seas our speed was 45 knots the whole way. There wasn’t a vessel in Prince William Sound that could catch us.
The desire to see Mint Hut for ourselves grew during our busy summer, and finally, on the second to last day of August last year, the weather and our schedules came together. Again, we set off early. The temperature at the parking lot near where Mother Lode Lodge used to be, was about 22 degrees. All the foliage was in full fall colors and covered with frost, the sky was clear and we were determined.
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.
Troy yelled for me to open the door and jump. Everything was blinding white outside. It was like leaping into a freezer. Wind instantly froze tears in my eyes. Smoke or steam rose from the propeller area and I thought the plane was on fire. Snow quickly came up to my waist and the real possibility of sinking further petrified me. All was quiet except for the wind and popping of our aircraft strobe.
The daughters of Heinie and Alice Snider may not have agreed on much, but they were all thrilled when my husband and I bought their parents’ dream home, built in the mid-1950s on a portion of the homestead land they grew up on.
“Doesn’t it just make you hate them,” said Madelyn, “Ninety percent of what we are finding is plastic water bottles. Can’t we recycle these?”
While big game gets the lion’s share of the press and attention, it is really a shame that the small game species don’t get the limelight they deserve.
Ross walked right up to it and gently placed the net over it. Within a minute we had the loon out of the net and into the dog kennel. Frosted Flake was certainly exhausted as we wrapped it up in a blanket and headed back across the lake to the car.
It was thirty below zero and the lights were out.
Become a creative runner by allowing nature to soak into your soul: the snapping of branches that you step on, the swaying trees blowing in the wind, birds chirping off in the distance, even the squirrel that suddenly scurries away, scaring the crap out of you.
I was chewing on a particularly satisfying portion of my burger as the announcer called out, “And the winner is…. Greg …. La…. La…. Latrelly….” I thought to myself, Hey! That’s me!!
I was transfixed by the idea of free flight and what the mountains of Alaska offered someone who had a wing and was willing to hike.
Living in Alaska for a long time, you get to see a lot of things, but this was certainly a new one for me. As often happens in the winter up here, in the cold and dark of January, I had a car parked in the freezing cold outside. I decided to bring it into the garage...
The sun got hotter as I walked, and sweat rolled down my back soaking my shirt... No. I must be hallucinating again. Actually it’s about 40 below zero and I’m trudging down the Yukon River with a twenty-mile-an-hour wind blowing in my face. Such was my first walk from...
The mountains overlooking the city of Anchorage are known as the Chugach Front Range. They stand somewhat apart from the rest of the Chugach Mountains, separated by a notable valley in which runs the mostly clear waters of Ship Creek. This creek, with its final...
Alone with the Wolves Scott and Vivian Mayo are as careful and experienced as anyone who recreates in Monahan Flats. They were enjoying a winter getaway in December 2013, when the unimaginable happened. This is the third and final segment of their survival story. I...
Nightfall Remainder of Day One “Oh my God! I’m stuck out here!” The situation couldn’t get much worse. My mode of transportation was broken down and I was stranded alone, miles from safety. Scotty was hurt or dead in the back country, only God knew where, and the kids...