Discovering ancient bones near McGrath. The water level in the Kuskokwim River rises and falls in response to snowmelt and rain. High water plucks trees from the muddy riverbanks, transporting them down the river. Low water strands jumbles of wood on sandbars. These wood piles are welcome to the river communities because the logs are a convenient source of firewood. I was six years old when we set out from McGrath to collect firewood. Francis, my stepdad, drove the boat upriver, so that the collected logs could then be floated downriver. Our strategy was to tie a raft of logs to the bow of the boat and gently motor the raft back to town. While my mom and Francis were sawing wood for the raft, I played games with my older brother Burke—setting up sticks for target practice with rocks or a BB gun. Burke recalls that one of the…
Taku Harbor’s Legendary Man and Myth I stepped into the low light of a derelict cabin and studied moldering walls, broken glass, and filth. My three-year-old son clung to me, scanning the shadows. “Daddy, there could be ghosts! We need to get out of here!” he said. The cabin once belonged to Henry “Tiger” Olson—a hermit, philosopher, and mystic who lived most of his life in Taku Harbor, 20-some miles south of Juneau. By the time we got there, it had been more than 40 years since he had occupied the cabin. To be honest, the place creeped me out a little as well. It wasn’t just Tiger’s cabin that felt haunted, though—Taku Harbor is filled with ruins and stories. Tiger Olson lived in this cabin in Taku Harbor for nearly 60 years. Photo by Chris Miller The harbor is part of the Tlingit T’aaku Kwáan’s territory. The Hudson’s Bay…
Two books from Tom Walker detail how Denali National Park was established and rose to prominence despite mixed sentiments.
Cold Mountain Path, a new book from Tom Kizzia, tells a decades-long story about happenings in the abandoned mining town of McCarthy.
Bobby Sheldon built a car from scraps in 1905 while he was living in Skagway, it was the first car in Alaska and is still on display.
Friends of Nike Site Summit maintain and provide tours of a Cold War era missile defense site on top of Mount Gordon Lyons near Anchorage.
An earthquake and landslide in Lituya Bay unleashed the largest wave ever recorded, and there are more monster tsunamis in Alaska history.
Sledge Island, a rocky outcrop in the Bering Strait 24 miles from Nome, is host to artifacts, wildlife, and survival stories.
Fifty Miles from Tomorrow is the memoir of Willie Hensley, one of the central figures in the long push for Alaska Native Rights.
Juneau’s Hidden History is a hiking group that organizes adventures into old mines, ice caves, and other historic Alaska destinations.