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  • May 12, 2013

    Bush Planes: Accessing Alaska

    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    No trip to Alaska is complete without at least one ride in a vintage bush plane. Even today, these Super Cubs, Taylorcrafts, Beavers, and Otters DeHavillands play a vital role in transportation, freight, and even serve as a lifeline to countless rural Alaskans.

    There are numerous rogue pilots in the state flying less-than-certified airplanes. However, the vast majority of licensed aircraft companies offer immaculately maintained planes with some of the most experienced bush pilots in the world. You will find a plethora of these pilots and vintage wilderness aircraft just 10 miles from my home at the Talkeetna airport. Check out Talkeetna Air Taxi’s web site and the live web cam of the Alaska Range here.

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
  • May 11, 2013

    Building Cabins Off The Grid

    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    If you’re a second or third generation Alaskan, you most likely have a family cabin tucked away somewhere in the wilderness. Many are homesteads settled during the 60s through the early 80s, or the land was simply purchased and a family built a structure over time.

    Cabins can be anywhere, on lakes, rivers, or just sitting on a hill with a view of the mountains. It’s romantic to think of a floatplane pulling up to a majestic log building with a view of glacier. And although they do exist, it’s more likely you'll access the 16 x 20 foot post building by snow machine (no Alaskan would call it a snow mobile) 10 miles from a main road.

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
  • May 10, 2013

    Video: Eagles Descend on Fish-Filled Pickup in Alaska

    By David Maccar

    Only in Alaska. Police had to be called to a Safeway parking lot last week when a flock of eagles descended and feasted on garbage bags of fish product stashed in the bed of a pickup truck.

    "One of our officers went over there and there were 40 eagles sitting on, in, and around several vehicles in the area," said Public Safety Director Jamie Sunderland.

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
  • May 10, 2013

    The Edge of Darkness

    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    As I write this installment of Living in Alaska, it is May 9 and here above latitude 62, the sunlight will be a generous 17.5 hours. The sun will rise at 5:13 a.m. and set at 10:39 p.m. What you may not realize is that there is plenty of added bonus light because of the extraordinarily slow sunrise and sunsets. Referred to by the government as Civil Twilight, first light actually begins at 4:02 a.m. and ends at 11:51 p.m.

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
  • May 9, 2013

    The Alaska Salmon Bind

    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    Few experiences can equal the first time you view a river filled with giant crimson salmon. The arresting image is simply what Alaska is all about.

    Salmon are an inextricable link to Alaskan culture and, even today, to the survival to its people. Alaskan residents are the only non-Native Americans allowed to subsistence-fish during a salmon run.

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
  • May 8, 2013

    Bears: The Alaskan Fact of Life

    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    There is no telling how many bears walk within a mile of my home. I readily find both black and grizzly sign nearby. Grizzlies seem to want to shy away from the house, although blacks are far more curious.

    Two summers ago, at around 9 p.m., I heard a single round discharged from what sounded like a large-caliber gun. My retriever barked once, looked up at me to see if we were going somewhere, and went back to sleep. That sounded close, I thought. Fifteen minutes later, a neighbor knocked on my door. He introduced himself and said, “I understand you’re a hunter. I don’t know what to do with this bear I just shot. Can you lend a hand?”

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
  • May 8, 2013

    Moose Mount Gets Place on Navy's Newest Warship

    By CJ Lotz


    A 65-inch bull moose mount will adorn a space aboard the U.S. Navy's newest warship, the USS Anchorage.

    The 100-pound shoulder mount was donated by Anchorage resident Lex Patten, who shot the moose in 1990 on a hunt with his late father, Allen. "It was the last moose hunt I went on with my dad," he said. "[Dad] insisted on packing out the antlers, about a mile, and he did. He was 73 at the time."

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
  • May 7, 2013

    Welcome to Alaska...Cheechako!

    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    By choice, Alaskans see life from a completely different perspective from most others in the U.S. We enjoy our isolation and independence. We feel little connection to the daily trappings of politics and the lifestyles of the Lower 48. None of my neighbors watch Jay Leno, or have any idea who the Kardashians are.

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
  • May 6, 2013

    A Town at the Edge of the Wilds

    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    Three years ago, outdoor writer, photographer, and consummate sportsman Peter Mathiesen left his hometown of St. Louis to start a new life in Alaska. Here’s why he made the move, what everyday life is like, and how it feels to have Denali right outside your window.

    My new hometown of Talkeetna is two hours north of Anchorage and fours hours south of Fairbanks. The community is a stop on the Alaskan Railroad at the confluence of three large glacial rivers: the Susitna, the Chulitna and the Talkeetna. Settled in 1915, Talkeetna was a supply depot for the gold mining camps in the foothills of the Alaska Range 40 miles to the west. The only way to reach the town was by rail until the mid-1960, when the Parks Highway was built and a 14-mile dirt spur was put in.

    Talkeetna has several historic buildings and an honestly quirky feel. Its residents were briefly made famous in the 90’s television show “Northern Exposure.”

    As the closest staging area to Denali (no local calls it Mt. McKinley), you will find one of the most impressive collections of vintage aircraft in the world servicing mountaineers attempting to summit Denali. The mountain is formidable, killing an average of 12 climbers a season. The same air flight companies take tourists landing on skis to glaciers at 7,000 feet.

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
  • May 3, 2013

    It’s Breakup Time

    By Peter B. Mathiesen

    One of the most frequent questions I get from visitors and friends back in the Lower 48 is “What’s winter like?”

    Well…it can be intense. And long. An average winter at this latitude delivers an easy 10 feet of snow, along with temperatures hovering around zero and frequently falling to minus 30. November daylight lasts about 6 hours until the winter Solstice on December 21, when we have the shortest day of the year at 4 hours and 55 minutes.

    SitePage: 
    n6747.fieldandstream/alaska
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