In our small town of Gustavus, Alaska, USA (population approximately 550), “moose butchering day” has become a valuable annual school tradition.
Nick Jans shares tales of caribou soup, moose nose, fermented walrus flipper, and other Eskimo foods he’s encountered through years of Inupiaq hospitality.
Art by Tim Bower Why do moose have that weird goatee thing? The unofficial answer is… well… because… nature’s weird? The flap of skin that hangs underneath a moose’s chin is known as a dewlap, or bell. Scientists have theories about the purpose of the dewlap, including that it may be used for communication during the rut. Another theory is that it may act as a sign of social hierarchy; a larger dewlap could signal a more dominant male. Ultimately, there’s no conclusive evidence explaining exactly why moose have dewlaps. That means the official answer is, well, because nature’s weird. Nature is, in my opinion, pretty neat. What’s the neatest thing about nature in Alaska? During winter, wood frogs in Alaska will stop breathing, their hearts will stop beating for days to weeks, and two-thirds of their body will freeze before they thaw and return to life as usual in…
A bull moose rubs his antlers on weather instruments in Anchorage. Photo courtesy Dan Peterson, NOAA/NWS/WSFO Anchorage It’s uncommon to see wolverines in Anchorage, but one rogue wolverine ventured into the city where it could prey on chickens and chase stray cats. Biologist Dave Battle got a call one day that the wolverine had killed someone’s rabbits and stashed them under a low deck. Every time the homeowner approached the deck, the wolverine growled. To solve the dilemma, Battle first used a garden tool to pull the rabbits out from under the deck. Then, he and a fellow biologist turned on the hose and jetted water at the animal. The wolverine sprinted out from under the deck and never returned. “Not every day that you spray a wolverine out from under a deck with a garden hose,” Battle says. Battle, who has worked as the management biologist for the Anchorage…
Just a few reasons why Alaska wild places are so unforgettable. Enjoy! Wild World from Janessa Anderson on Vimeo.
Creative transportation experiments by early Alaskans
A brief tale of squandered opportunity and a chance for redemption
WE HEARD HIM FIRST, the rythmic unkh, unkh, drifting eerily through the morning fog. Closer he came and louder, and suddenly he was on us, wraithlike in the drifting mist, coming straight at us.
Calling all moose
In the arctic stillness, on the far side of the river, an unmistakable racket echoed in the bright afternoon: the thrashing of a bull moose stripping velvet off his antlers and honing his moves, prepping for the rut.
You never know what you’ll find hiking a wilderness trail
Under an azure sky stretching unblemished to Denali’s icy dome, the morning air crisp and fresh after autumn’s first frost, our tundra hike captivates the senses.
A new arrival in Glacier Bay
STEALTH IS NOT AN OPTION WHEN YOU’RE TRAMPING THROUGH WILLOWS. Schlock, schkoomp! My boots sink into ankle-deep muck, threatening to pull off as I wrestle my way across an open wetland.