Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jeff King's Husky Homestead, part II

I had been to an afternoon show some time ago, but later learned the evening program was the one to see, as Jeff would be telling the tales. I jumped on a bus in front of the McKinley Chalets last evening to see Jeff and his dogs. Jeff King's Husky Homestead presentation was an absolutely amazing show and so much fun!  Lots of puppies, dogs, stories, jokes, laughs, a real gem of a show, one of the best in Denali!  I have to say without prejudice that this event is really worth seeing.  Maybe Jeff was just in rare form last night, but he had the crowd of about 120 in the palm of his hand. I laughed, got tingles down my spine and really enjoyed the entire evening.  Having lived here myself, I share his love of Alaska, but you don't have to live here or even like Alaska to appreciate his stories.  He shared his life experiences on the trail and off, living in rural Alaska, raising a family and doing what he loves. Raising and racing dogs, Alaskan Huskies. 

Jeff holding a puppy while sharing his stories.

The dog yard.

Ellen taking about the dogs.

Here Ellen describing the furry undercoat.

They're both hams in front of a crowd.

Erin is from Anchorage and loves dogs.

Harnessing a team for the demonstration.

Back but ready to go again.

Amusing plaything.

The dog wheel, wonder if they could generate electricity?
Two of a kind.

The best show in Denali.

Caribou antlers, not horns.

The Iditarod sled.

"The dogs do the work, I'm just their caretaker."

"Don't leave yet, we've got time for one more story."

The dogs are very friendly.

Puppy house, nap time.

The puppy wheel, where they stumble over their feet.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sled Dog Demo at Denali National Park

At Denali National Park there are a lot of dogs, 36 Alaskan Huskies, to be exact.  The only National Park with a working sled dog yard, these dogs earn their keep by patrolling the back country wilderness in the winter and act as ambassadors in the summer spending time with visitors. The Park Service gives Sled Dog demonstrations so we can learn more about these amazing animals and the critical job they do to help protect this Park. Here are a couple photos of the Dog Demo I attended last week. It was informative and fun!

Lucor is on top of his kennel for a better view of the crowd.

These dogs are huskier than the Iditarod racing dogs.
The comparison used was these are more like football players,
and the Iditarod dogs are more like marathon runners.

Julie and Aliqsi.

Gathering the lucky few.

Hooking up the dogs to the sled.

The dogs are so anxious to get to work and run.
Kind of like the opposite of me.

Julie getting ready to release the dogs.

After the run, they swing by the fascinated crowd.
The Ranger gives an excellent talk on the history
and current work these dogs do for the Park.

Relaxed but ready for more.

Beautiful dogs.

Done. And now for a nap...

The Roadside Trail

A long, long time ago, in a magical place far, far away I worked on a trail crew building the roadside trail from Denali National Park's Headquarters to the Entrance area where the visitors services were located.  I worked with an amazing, hard working and fun crew.  Joyce was our trail boss and Jim was the R&T (Roads & Trails) boss, the man in charge.  It was great summer work, being outside, working hard and getting paid well.  And after almost 25 years, the trail still stands, a beautiful reality of one man's vision and our mission.  A 3.5 mile ribbon of compacted gravel used daily by visitors and employees alike.  Wish I had construction photos to share, but if I do, they are packed away in storage somewhere.  So here it is, as it looks today.

Park Service buildings at Headquarters.

The Roadside Trail.

The retaining wall.

A beautiful walk in the woods.

A bench to relax on and rest.

What we called the "Rock Garden".
A rock fall from a hillside to the left.
One of my favorite spots.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A day's adventure

I had the day off and couldn't decide if I just wanted to sleep in, be lazy and hang close to home, or maybe go on a road trip and adventure instead.  I took off early and spent the day exploring. First stop, UAF Museum of the North.  Alaska has at least two amazing museums, the one in downtown Anchorage and this one in Fairbanks.  I also stopped for a picnic lunch at Pioneer Park, drove the Steese Highway to the Pipeline, then to Chena and stopped in Nenana on the way home last night.


UAF, Museum of the North

New $42 million dollar building.

Amazing architecture and, to me,
as interesting as anything inside. 

Not a lot of straight walls or right angles.

Pioneer Park in Fairbanks.
Back in the day, I think it was called Alaska Land.

The Tanana Valley Railroad Museum.

The Tanana Valley Railroad.

Part of the 800 mile oil pipeline from Prudhoe bay to Valdez.
Half inch thick steel, 48" in diameter, begun in 1974, completed in 1977.
Called TAPS, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

Fields of Fireweed on the road to Chena Hot Springs.

Some of the burns in the area. At one point there
were almost 400 wildfires across the state.

Wildfire destruction and rebirth.

The Nenana Depot, now a museum and gift shop.

I want to take this home to my workshop and fix it.

The Alaska Railroad and the Mears Memorial Bridge
in Nenana. This 700' Thru Truss was built by the
American Bridge Co and completed in 1923.