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Bull muskox spar by butting heads, sometimes running at each other full bore before colliding. Four inches of horn and three inches of bone protect the brain from injury during this violent contact. The first time I encountered muskox in the wild I felt as spectacular as Tom Cruise dancing around in his underwear and football helmet in the movie Risky Business. I was skiing across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in March as mountains and the coastal plain glowed blue in the winter light. ANWR, long known as the battleground between wilderness and oil lovers, is the sort of place you can slow dance with your inner Frankenstein without the judgement of others. Better yet, it’s one of a handful of regions in Alaska you can see muskox. A herd of 15 grazed on a windswept rise above a frozen river ahead of me. A bull hoofed at…

The remarkable story of Mary Makriko [by Laurel Bill] THE QUEEN OF REINDEER, AS SHE WOULD LATER BE CALLED, was born in 1870 as Mary Makriko to an Inupiat Eskimo mother and a Russian father who was a trader on the Seward Peninsula. Raised in St. Michael on the southern shore of Alaska’s Norton Sound, Mary lived in a village that became the staging point for supplies bound for interior trade on the Lower and Middle Yukon River and a gathering place for large numbers of Alaska Natives who traded furs for European goods. In 1889, Mary met and married Inupiat Charlie Antisarlook, and the couple moved to Sinrock, near Cape Nome. Soon after, the reindeer came into her life. Serving as a translator for Capt. Michael A. Healy on board the U.S. Revenue Service Cutter, Bear, she found the vessel laden with reindeer in transport from Siberia to Alaska.…

Located a stone’s throw from the Bering Sea on the southwest side of the Seward Peninsula is Nome, Alaska. Rich in cultural history, flush with beautiful sunsets over the ocean and tundra, Nome is also one of the best places in Alaska to shop for Native arts and crafts. While boasting spectacular country, unique wildlife and bird viewing opportunities, Nome is probably best known for being the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Thousands descend on the small community to witness the end of the race, which takes mushers from Anchorage to Nome. While hotels fill to capacity in March, many locals open their homes to mushers and tourists. During the Iditarod, the town comes alive with events from basketball tournaments, banquets and craft fairs to arm wrestling and wet t-shirt contests and an ice golf classic. 1 Nome Convention & Visitors Bureau During the Iditarod, watch…