Steady On

The lanky couple dodged around us, careening down the narrow, dusty Matanuska Peak Trail. Veins throbbed in their foreheads and necks. Sweat trickled off their chins — but they chatted cheerily, as if strolling in an Anchorage mall. They nodded to us over-the-hillers, paying a sniff of homage to our graying ascent of years. Carol…

Treacherous Beauty

Accuracy in maps can determine the life or death for an Alaskan traveling in the bush. Based upon our maps, planes skirt mountain peaks, hikers avoid impassable gorges, and kayakers classify a river’s difficulty by ratings whether it’s “still and gently moving water” or “unnavigable whitewater.”            Yet, no seasoned Alaska traveler relies on maps alone.…

Where’s the Lede?

I worked at the Anchorage Times for about three years. Alaska statehood pioneer Bob Atwood published the newspaper, and his staff kicked out three-to-five editions a day. At the Times, a newspaper headline summarized the content of a story as succinctly as possible. A copy editor would proof a reporter’s story and often write and…

Swarming Warnings

Two young women felt something like insects swarming in their clothing as they hiked Rainbow Mountain near Anchorage. At Rainbow Mountain’s crest, Yvonne brushed away cobwebs from her face. She stopped by a boulder that was shaped like a giant thumb—and it seemed to be humming like a hive. Yvonne’s hiking partner, Ruth, swatted at…

Peters Creek

Tresses of gray mist billow across the Knik Arm. Groaning ice reminds me that winter might change her mind and hide my trail as I hike back to the treeline.