Every year, adventurous (and oft-unprepared) hikers who are fans of Jon Krakauer's book "Into the Wild" (1996) or the move based upon it have attempted the treacherous 20 mile trek on Alaska's Stampede Trail to the abandoned bus where Chris McCandless found refuge (until his death) in 1992. And frequently, hikers making the pilgrimage have had to be rescued. Two people have died during their trips to see the bus. From the New York Times:
The tourist trap is now gone though. Last week, the Alaska Army National Guard used a Chinook helicopter to airlift the bus out of its remote resting spot to an undisclosed location. State officials say they are considering putting it on public display.
The crew also removed a suitcase from the bus that held sentimental value to the McCandless family, according to the Alaska Army National Guard.
Carine McCandless, Mr. McCandless’s youngest sister, said the suitcase did not belong to her brother, but may have contained journals she and others had left behind on their own journeys to the bus.[...]
“Though I am saddened by the news, the decision made by Alaska D.N.R. was with good intentions toward public safety, and it was certainly their decision to make,” Ms. McCandless wrote in an email. “Bus 142 did not belong to Chris, and it doesn’t belong to his family. As for those that followed in his footsteps to where it rested, at the end of the day, their journey wasn’t about a bus.”
More from US Army: "Alaska Guard airlifts 'Into the Wild' bus from Stampede Trail"
image: Alaska National Guard
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An Alaska family's home surveillance camera recorded a most remarkable video of a moose trapping a man inside the family shed. Read the rest
Barrow (aka Utqiaġvik), Alaska is the northernmost city in the United States. It's so far from most civilization that the grocery prices are astronomical. For example, a bag of frozen french fries is $17, cucumbers are $4.50 each, and a carton of orange juice is $12.
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Illegitimate, popular-vote-losing president Donald J. Trump, just yesterday:
“I’m an environmentalist. A lot of people don’t understand that. I think I know more about the environment than most people.” Read the rest
Russian nuclear capable long-range bombers flew within 200 miles of Alaska's coast
In Anchorage, Alaska anyone with a public library card can visit the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services library and check out a taxidermy ring-necked pheasant, black rockfish, or hundreds of other mounted animals, skulls, and furs. From Smithsonian
While the majority of users are local teachers, who incorporate the pieces into their lectures and lesson plans, and biologists and researchers using items for studying, non-educators are also known to check out pieces too.
“We have a snowy owl that has been used on several occasions as a decoration for a Harry Potter-themed party,” Rozen says. And filmmakers reportedly used a number of items during the making of the 2013 movie The Frozen Ground to design the basement lair where the film’s villain would keep hostages captive. Just like with library books, ARLIS expects that lendees take good care of any items checked out.
Interestingly, ARLIS’s existence is largely known by word of mouth, both for patrons and locals who want to donate a piece of realia to the collection. The vast majority came from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with a lesser amount from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, however the library does also take donations from the public.
“Earlier today someone called me and offered us a raven that he found in the wild that had been killed,” she says. “Ravens are frequently requested, even by English students doing presentations on Edgar Allan Poe.
"This Library in Anchorage Lends Out Taxidermic Specimens" by Jennifer Nalewicki (Smithsonian)
Learn more in my post from 2015: "Library where you can check out dead animals" Read the rest
Ray Metcalfe ("two term Alaska state legislator, Alaska’s 2016 Democratic Party Nominee for U.S. Senate, and whistle-blower whose actions resulted in the indictment of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens") has published model legislation that builds on the 9-0 Supreme Court decision in the corruption case of Virginia Governor McDonnell, a precedent Metcalfe interprets to mean that "While Citizens United guaranteed corporations the right to exercise political speech through political spending, Citizens United did not guarantee corporations the right to receive political favors in return.."
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In First Contact, Book 1 of David Marusek’s (previously) science fiction series Upon This Rock, an alien being crash lands in a remote corner of Alaska, not far from a family-cult of preppers for the end times, and the alien exploits the beliefs of the family patriarch by posing as an angel sent to earth to initiate the final conflict. Rooted deeply in contemporary Alaskan landscape and culture, the novel is funny and painful, part satire and part serious exploration of a particularly unfortunate instance of first contact. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, leaving many questions unanswered.
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Joe Ford is a self-described "64-year-old navy veteran of the Vietnam era and houseless in the tundra." He wrote for The Guardian about what its like to live in Alaska without a permanent house. It sounds tough, but he loves it. I recently watched a good movie with my family called Leave No Trace, and the dad in the movie reminds me a bit of Mr. Ford.
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All in all, though, I prefer a campfire-roasted porcupine that I killed and butchered (recently, one who had smacked my dog with his tail, embedding 15 quills in the mutt’s snout), slathered with highbush cranberry ketchup, foraged chickweed salad with mushrooms on the side, a hot cup of stinging nettle tea to wash it down and a handful of wild blueberries for dessert.
Bugs, sticks, sand and assorted forest floor debris sometimes makes it into my vittles but, as the family I encountered in my travels through Canada some years back said when I pointed out that their kid was eating dirt: “It’s clean dirt.” And the bugs are protein! Anyway, I get to devour the feast creekside watching fish sex. No, it’s not the latest Netflix series, it’s actual salmon spawning in the water 10ft from my tent.
My living room floor gets a fresh gold carpet when fall colors take over and the tree branches go bare. Daylight starts fading fast closing in on the autumnal equinox and stays in decline till winter solstice, bottoming out at around five and a half hours here.
It's been ten years since the people of Juneau, Alaska succumbed to conspiracy theories and voted to ruin their kids' teeth by removing fluoride from the drinking water, and it shows.
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A moose accidentally rang a doorbell with his behind while bumbling around the outside of an Anchorage, Alaska home.
On Thursday, Kyle Stultz and his partner Allie Johnstone heard the doorbell ring at 1:30 AM. They thought it was a prankster until they saw the security cam footage. That's when they learned it was a moose whose backside had hilariously set off the bell. The video is everything.
After checking on their dogs and looking out the door to find nothing, Stultz assumed some neighborhood kids were playing a prank.
"We were thinking kids coming through playing ding dong ditch or maybe a neighbor coming through. We had no idea," Stultz said.
So they checked their security system and were surprised to see a moose caboose.
"We had this nice moose behind waiting for us right here," Stultz said. "And he decided to back up right into it and that’s how he got our doorbell."
(Jezebel) Read the rest
For all of you in the U.S., no doubt your feeds are filling up with your friends showing off their "I Voted" stickers (and if they're not, uh, better get some new friends). But are their stickers as cool as the ones from Alaska?
Artist Pat Race of Juneau was hired to design these little "I Voted" beauties for the State of Alaska Division of Elections. Race's pro-voting animals not only appeared on the Land of the Midnight Sun's stickers but also on their Official Election Pamphlets.
At least one Alaskan is trying to collect all eight designs:
Prints of the designs are available directly from the artist. Prices start at $10.
image via Kyle Miller Read the rest
Josh from Fight for the Future writes, "Big news out of Alaska this morning: Local entrepreneur Jennie Stewart of CustomMousePad.com has gone public with news that Congressman Don Young promised he would sign the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution discharge petition to help restore net neutrality when the two of them met on Capitol Hill back in June. But now, a month later, he still hasn’t followed through and signed the CRA. His office has gone completely silent, so we need net neutrality supporters to call Rep. Young's DC office (202-225-5765) and ask him to keep his promise by signing the CRA before the August congressional recess."
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This video was far more interesting than I thought it was going to be. It's not only the story of the restoration of a cool barn find, a circa 1890 candy-making machine, but it details how Greg Cohen of Lofty Pursuits in Tallahassee, Florida used it to make strawberry "drops" (hard candies). Cohen is a real candy-making nerd and he shares how he spent 70 to 80 hours restoring this antique machine for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Museum in Skagway, Alaska:
To this day there aren’t many good roads into it, if any. Imagine how hard it would have been to get this device up there to be used for candy? And how much money there must have been in the 1890s... to warrant someone bringing it up so that miners could have a little bit of happiness in their pocket, some nice candies to eat, I guess, when they mine? It was a good bit of luxury that they could take with them, that they didn’t have to worry about spoiling. Because they lived a really rough life as they mined up there.
And while it probably was worth bringing to Skagway for business reasons, it probably wasn’t worth bringing it back, so it got stashed in a barn and it’s been sitting there for the last hundred and something years, slowly rusting away forgotten.
And now I’ve been given an opportunity to give it a little bit of new life making candy again.
(The Kid Should See This, The Awesomer) Read the rest
In absolute crap weather conditions, two U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crews were dispatched to Jumbo Mountain, 39 miles west of Ketchikan, Alaska on Prince of Wales Island: a charter plane with 11 passengers was reported to have crashed. After making the flight to the purported crash site, battling wind rain and poor visibility all the way, the Coast Guard arrived at the crash site and reported in: all 11 souls on board, while battered from a rough landing on the side of a mountain, were very much alive.
From The BBC:
Commander Michael Kahle, of the Coast Guard in Juneau, Alaska, congratulated the aircrew of the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters who conducted the rescue.
"Cases like these exemplify the versatility of our aircrews and how capable they are to expertly perform rescues from the ocean or even mountainsides," he said in a statement.
Coast Guard spokesman Charly Hengen told local media that the rescue pilots had only about a quarter mile of visibility due to fog during the mission.
The pilot at the stick at the time of the accident was 72-year old Mike Hodgins, flying for a charter company called Taquan Air. The NTSB is investigating the accident, but in the meantime, damn: a plane crash on the side of a damn mountain where the plane comes out largely intact and all of the passengers survived? It might come out that the incident occurred due to pilot error but, in the meantime, I want a grizzled vet like Hodgins flying all of the planes, all of the time. Read the rest
Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made Elizabeth Pierce -- ex-CEO of Alaska fiber networking company Quijntillion -- one of his "broadband advisors" and now she's in jail on charges of having run a $250,000,000 fraud.
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Suzanne Ashe was the only Uber driver in Haines, Alaska, and the app wouldn't let her stay logged in and available because the rides came so infrequently. Read the rest