Alaska: The Home We Leave

Note: This is our first travel journal as we prepare to embark on a one year, around the world family sabbatical. If you'd like to learn more about us and our trip, see About Worldhop.

What's in this issue:

George's Aside
Mt. McKinley and Denali National Park

Mary Carey (and her favorite fiddlehead fern recipe)
Pictures From Alaska
Cassidy's Word Find Game
A Bit of Bear Trivia

For almost 17 years we've lived in a "magical" place, Alaska. Salli and I moved here from California so I could try out my fantasy of living in "The Last Frontier," (But if you ever drive the Alaska Canadian highway—the Al-Can to old timers—you may still see the ten deep finger claw marks Salli made on her way here).

It's been a wonderful place to live. We've raised our two daughters here, as well as several wolves, one cat, a horse, rabbit, chinchilla, snakes, a goose (named "Raven," go figure) and some other critters I've lost track of. Mostly we've raised ourselves, and we've had an awfully good time in the process. For a sample of pictures showing the Alaska we know, click here.

Alaska's history is rich with remarkable men and women. Most people know about John Muir, Jack London, and Soapy Smith, but there are many other less-well-known pioneers. One of these was the Japanese adventurer, Jujiro Wada. Shanghaied on a whaling ship, he arrived in Alaska in 1891. He lived with Natives on the Arctic coast and learned from them survival, including dog mushing. In 1909 he was hired to scout by dog sled a new, 450 mile trail to some gold claims. His efforts helped publicize the Iditarod Trail, the same route used by dog mushers in Alaska's most famous modern day dog sled race.

From Gold Fever in the North (Editors: Darcy Ellington and Angela Tripp), about blazing the Iditarod Trail to the gold mines: "Dog teams routinely carried several hundred thousand dollars in gold on the trail, but there was only one dog team robbery. William Shermeier, owner of the Halfway Roadhouse, and a prostitute known as the Black Bear got driver Bill Duffy drunk one night and stole $30,000 in cash from his sled. In the end, Shermeier went to jail, and Black Bear married Duffy.

Hey Kids, what does it mean to grow up in Alaska? Many of you have grown up in much tamer places, states long ago settled and mapped and paved. Yet, here our kids are growing up in a place that is still wild. A place where even in suburban downtown Anchorage moose and bears come through our back yards like neighborhood kids on a romp; where for many people a walk on the edge of town means carrying a can of pepper spray or a large gun in order to protect ourselves from creatures that would like to eat or stomp us. A place that may not be much different from a time long ago when ice caps covered the earth and saber toothed tigers roamed at will. It's Alaska....

Aside #1:
Getting the point of international travel.
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