MULTI-USE TRAILS CONNECT ALASKANS On the North side of the Alaska Range, I skidded and bounced down the Dalzell Gorge struggling to keep my expedition-loaded fat-tire bike upright. Mounds of frozen dirt and icy roots flung me sideways and I squeezed both brake levers, trying to stay on two wheels and not wrap myself around a tree. Suddenly, the decline steepened; I spotted a glimpse of bare ice ahead, and let off the brakes to avoid skidding out. After a while, the trail leveled out into a meadow blanketed in crusty snow. The frosty branches on the black spruce trees glistened in the morning light. I lowered my bike and yanked out my camera. A dog team was behind me, coming fast, and I wanted a photo. Through the forest above me, could hear the dog driver gently encouraging his team to slow down. “Wooo. Easy…easy. Good girl.” I flipped…

The Nulato Hills will never draw the attention that Alaska’s prouder mountains receive. Their voice is too subtle, rivers too tranquil. The hills quietly protect their prize with difficult access, and the reward is well worth the challenge, even if there isn’t a feast waiting at the finish.