Loss beyond years and miles I’ve just checked my box at the Ambler post office on a mid-August afternoon; Sarah Tickett might have smiled and handed me my mail; instead, it’s someone else. Just across the trail stands Nelson and Edna Greist’s plywood cabin. The door is open, an armload of wood on the stoop; a familiar, fireweed-framed clutter fills the yard. But there’s no sign of Nelson sitting in his spot to the right of the door, working on a piece of spruce or jade; no huge, squinting, gap-toothed smile as he invites me in with his signature “Gonna coffee!” and he and Edna welcome me like a long-lost relative; no Inupiaq legends or tales of his youth, living from the land in the wind-raked Killik River country, his family sometimes on the edge of survival. Another couple hundred yards toward my place on the downstream edge…
A journey through one of the nation’s last wildernesses
Have fun away from everyone
Saddle up for an emerging adventure sport
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.
Follow Alaska’s fall colors south to Lost Lake
[by Mollie Foster]
As spectacular as they are, it’s surprisingly easy to miss fall colors in Alaska. Once the leaves start changing hues, they only stay on the trees for two to three weeks, with peak foliage lasting only 48 hours in some areas.
You could travel the wildest reaches of Alaska for a lifetime and not witness a scene like this—a pack of wolves feeding on a caribou kill on the edge of a rushing river. From the crest of a tundra bluff, I watched the gray alpha male tug at a hindquarter as others waited their turns. Then a female grizzly with two cubs arrived and drove the pack off. As she and one cub fed, the other hammed it up, standing on hind legs, rolling his eyes, gnawing on an antler. I sat transfixed behind my camera tripod, glued to the eyepiece, squeezing off shot after shot. It was easy to imagine that I sat alone somewhere up some far arctic valley, hundreds of miles from the nearest road. But to my right and left, crowds gathered—several busloads of people jammed against he windows, plus a half dozen professional photographers and…