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May 5, 2021

We found Dallas Seavey! Welcome to the 2019 Finnmarksløpet!

The Finnmarksløpet dog sled race is the longest and northernmost dog sled race in Europe. It takes place in the Finnmark, the northernmost region of Norway, and traverses birch forest, river valleys, and northern fjords from Alta to the Russian border and back. The Finnmarksløpet was established in 1981 by the Alta Trekkhundklubb (Dog Sledding Association of Alta) as a 226 km (140 mile) long race. It was later extended to 1,000 km (621 miles) in 1993, and then to its current distance of 1,200 km (746 miles). In addition to the 1,200 km-long race, there is a 500 km…

Ermalee Hickel: ‘Beautiful as a butterfly, tough as a boot’

Alaska lost one of its brightest lights this past week. Ermalee Hickel passed away, surrounded by family and at peace. Such a beautiful life lived, it made sense her exit from this realm was exactly how she wanted. If you ever had the chance to spend time with Mrs. Hickel, count yourself blessed beyond belief. She was magic. She made the people around her want to be better people. Her grace was unmatched. Her husband, Wally, described her lovingly as “beautiful as a butterfly, but tough as a boot.” Being a lady, as well as our first lady, didn’t mean…

The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Alaska National Hazards Center – Losing Place and Losing Hope THE ALASKA NATIVE TOWN of Newtok is expected to be under water by 2017, according to the Army Corps of Engineers (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2009). The town is hardly an exception; there are eleven other tribal communities in the Arctic Circle that are in the same predicament (GAO, 2009). However, it is unlikely that these towns will be able to move to higher ground any time soon without the creation of a federal framework that can assist, overlook, and fund their relocation. ADN.com – Fear of a Begich bid for…

M*U*S*H on PBS in Alaska This Week

There are a few people I count as “honorary Alaskans.” You know the type. They come for a visit and fall in love with the mountains, the ocean, the seafood, the wildness, and most of all the people. The unpretentious, just-a-little-different breed that decides they’d like to do things their own way.  They’re a hardy lot who doesn’t much care for how they do things “Outside.” They’re sort of Libertarian/Conservative/Socialists who think you should teach a man to fish, but for the most part would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. Many have come to…

Mouth to Snout to Finish Line – The Best Iditarod Story Ever.

The Iditarod sled dog race is officially over. The last musher reached Nome in the wee hours of this morning, and got the traditional “red lantern award.” There are always great Iditarod stories, but this year had one of the best ever. Was it Dallas Seavey being the youngest winner ever? Pfft. No. Martin and Rohn Buser – father and son – crossing in a photo finish? Nice, but nuh-uh. The best story belonged to the 39th place finisher Scott Janssen, better known to all as the “mushing mortician.” Here is his bio: Scott Janssen, the “Mushing Mortician,” 50, was…

Voices from the Flats – Iditarod 2011

By Jim Wright The following story of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race first appeared on Stonekettle Station in 2009. With this week’s kickoff of the Last Great Race, and my well known passion for it, a number of folks have asked about the origins of the event. Here’s the story: AN EPIDEMIC OF DIPHTHERIA IS ALMOST INEVITABLE HERE STOP I AM IN URGENT NEED OF ONE MILLION UNITS OF DIPTHERIA ANTITOXIN STOP MAIL IS ONLY FORM OF TRANSPORTATION STOP … Those lines were part of a message sent by Curtis Welch, MD, on January 22nd, 1925 via radio telegram from…