It's a regional thing. The ones who have lived here their entire life are amused. The ones who showed up and have survived a winter of cold and a summer of mosquitoes, count the years and feel more like Alaskans as the number gets bigger. All the other contrived status symbols create bragging rights if no one asks many questions. Just because a local mountain climber says that he has so many first ascents of Alaska Range mountains that he can't count them all, doesn't mean much, because mountain climbers have a hard time counting anyway. And the hunting stories? He is probably telling all his friend's stories too.
The common female description of Alaskan males: The odds are good, but the goods are odd., is true. Who moves to the end of the road?
No, those government sorts are not Alaskans. Alaskans are defined by their ability to make their own decisions, when they get around to it. Nobody in government is capable of making their own decisions, and they hide their intellectual absence by attempting to make everyone else's decisions, inherently making fools of themselves, while impressing themselves. Alaskans tolerate the amusing victims of government employment, while government dullards seek to stagnate and shackle Alaskans. Yes, like all new governments, the government previously offered a few reasonable services, maybe a hundred years ago or so, but now nearly every government agency writes regulations for enforcement budget excuses, as fast as they can slash the forests for the paper to write more regulations. The regulations routinely effect denial of rights, imprisonment, fining and seizure of assets, outlawing rational human activities that damage nothing and no one. And nearly every agency has its own self-serving, armed enforcement thugs. The results are obvious to everyone but victims of government employment. Have patience, they will destroy their malicious institution soon enough, as is the inherent product of treating the people as enemies. One can sooner correct them, if there were any incentive to alter such an amusing game, but that requires a different arena of knowledge.
One way to become recognized as an Alaskan the moment one crosses the border, is to publicly rag the poor sad government dolts.
The visitor spiel:
Do not believe that chamber of commerce tripe you hear in the tourist advertisements. They are the guys who sterilized Fairbanks, and worse (Places page), and support bed taxes to get more of your money to tell you to come to Alaska where you will be taxed many ways to get your money to tell you to come to Alaska. They will tell you that you won't freeze your ass off in the winter, that the mosquitoes don't take a pint each, the bears won't crush your skull, the northern lights won't fry your laptop computer, the government is here to help you, the water is warm, and you must get permission from your government parents to do whatever humans do. They are just in the wrong country. Inside their cocoon, wall-papered with money, they do not even know that they are in Alaska. But that's okay, you can humor what they say, as long as you know that we still do not know why some people just disappear out there, every year.
The government owns Alaska, and they treat the people as unwelcome minions soiling the government land.
In 1980, the kind, benevolent and gracious swine in Washington DC adopted the Alaska Lands Act (ANILCA), therein crushing Alaskans under the jackboot heel of an overwhelming morass of bureaucratic regulations, much to the delight of the California Sierra Clubbers frolicking in their flowery fields in the sky. This was done to grab more wealth for Washington DC, and to maliciously punish Alaskans for daring to speak against the edicts of Washington DC. Upon Heir Jimmy Carter signing the Alaska Lands Act, a lower 48 congressman represented and defined the lower 48 people when he said: "We have prevailed over the selfish self interests of Alaskans."
Imagine our amusement.
Like all political dolts too stupid to comprehend the concept of questions, he forgot to ask: Who are those Alaskans? If you move to Alaska, you become the selfish enemy of the DemocanRepublicrats, and thus define what you were, since the move itself could not create such a change. What people outside Washington DC are not treated as the enemy of the privileged elite of RepublicratDemocans writing laws to subjugate everyone but themselves, at your cost, for the insatiable greed of Washington DC? The answer to the question is useful.
Who can most sustainably manage the land of Kansas and Vietnam, the Kansas and Vietnam people, or the Washington DC swine wallowing in the trough of wealth they seized from Kansas, and attempted to seize from Vietnam? Was your mind capable of answering that question? No government dolt is so capable, as proven by their ongoing actions. Which people live on the land affected by land management decisions, and is it not those in Washington DC who seize wealth from elsewhere, consistently making the mistakes inherent to greed and force, and do not live where those damaging mistakes are imposed?
If you think the Washington DC RepublicratDemocans can better make the decisions of far-off Alaskans, enforced by their occupying US Army and legions of federal police, then you inescapably define the reason the US should seize and rule the world to better make everyone else's decisions. If you, perhaps as a military or federal police sort, therein may recognize a flaw with elitists in the Washington DC cocoon making your decisions for you, and everyone else's decisions for them, under threat of military and police force, perhaps you might recognize the fatal flaw crumbling the foundation of your therefore doomed government. These words will make no difference, nor will any other words of reasoning. It is the decisions and actions of the intellectually absent DemocanRepublicrats, and the guns of their armies and police, which inherently doom just another thoroughly corrupted government in a long list of human governments. Governments attract mental midgets who genuinely believe that guns prevail over reasoning, for a species predicated on the human mind, much to the amusement of observers. Enjoy the show.
My favorite example among countless: In retribution for the mountain climbers daring to speak against the federal attack on citizen rights during the 1980 Alaska Lands Act debates, the feds outlawed the Alaskan mountaineering guides in Denali National Park, and gave exclusive permits to lower 48 political supporters of the Park Service / environmentalist land grab. Oh yes, they allowed one token "Alaskan" who parroted the Park Service line against the rights of fellow mountain climbers. The money and power the feds therefore raked in by trammeling Alaskans and everyone else outside the federal pocket, earned the United States Government what even a child can recognize.
The real Alaska is a proverbial underground system, below the radar of the armed government dolts swarming over the land. You may notice the game when you visit, but not if you are a government sort who sees only his mind's rhetorical illusion when he looks into a mirror.
Of the people who visit Fairbanks, if they are wise enough to waste no time in town, many stumble into adventures the survival of which, if they do, addicts them to more. But there are more thorns than roses in the garden, least it would be trammeled by people smelling the roses. Yes, the bears are real, and they kill people on occasion, and so do the glacier crevasses, the wild rivers, the cold, the storms, and all the usual stuff. We don't know whether the mosquitoes actually kill people because they carry away their victims still kicking and screaming. Some people just disappear. And that's is why more show up for the adventure.
Quite often even the locals can't find an adventure partner to share the stark terror of their next fool's quest, because there are no two of these Alaska sorts what want to do the same thing at the same time and same place, to say nothing of getting along with each other on the trip, independent minded sorts that they are. So bring someone as foolish as yourself, preferably someone who can't run as fast as you if you stumble onto a grizzly bear.
If you are doing adventure the way it should be done, with scant money, simply show up in Fairbanks, go to the USGS map distribution office on the University of Alaska campus, buy a map depicting the type of topography you think may hold an adventure, and it will, then don't even slow down until you get there. Party on the way back through Fairbanks, and tell us the stories, if you survive.
If you have earned entirely too much money from your economic adventures, and wish to trade some for that which is described above, there are some rarely done adventures that will blow your socks off, that can be done in grand style. There are locals who have done not just the impossible, but done it enough times to learn how to do it with sufficient style to have fun and laugh a lot, when others would be backing away in fear or wisdom. Of course such adventures will cost you entirely too much. It can be no other way. What is the value of playing at the edge for many years, and surviving? The value may be met in many ways, but by nothing short of it.
Ask around. You may inquire if you are looking for outrageous adventure.
First, buy the book, Alaska Bear Tales, and then, More Alaska Bear Tales, by Larry Kaniut, at your local bookstore or www.kaniut.com. Then visit countries where they have killed all the bears so you can sleep at night. Your best protection against bears and all hazards, including the single most deadly and malicious hazard throughout human history, that is, government, is knowledge. First, seek knowledge, then have fun.
Don't believe those stories about how mean the grizzly bears are. The black bears attack as many people as the grizzly bears, with the same results. If it is a bear that is brown and in the interior of Alaska, it is probably a grizzly bear, a scrappy little thing with a hungry disposition. If it is brown and on the southern coast, it is a brown bear, the same as a grizzly only bigger and called a brown bear just because that's what people ended up calling them along the coast. It is well fed on fish, and thus grows big, and has eaten about as many humans as grizzly bears have. If it is black, and looks like a bear, it is a black bear, even if it looks kinda brown on very rare occasion and is smaller than a brown bear. If it is kinda grey or grey-black, it is the glacier phase of a black bear, an occasionally seen color. If it is on the northern coast, usually on the ice, and is white, it is a polar bear. Polar bears eat seals. Humans apparently look like seals to polar bears. If it acts like a bear only smaller and with a nastier disposition, it is a wolverine. It it acts like a bear but has wings, it is an Alaskan mosquito.
There are two ways to handle bears in Alaska, among a lot of other ways. First, recognize that there are a lot more humans than the bears can kill, so you are statistically safe. The vast majority of people frolicking in the Alaska wilderness ignore bumble bees and bears, and never get stung or killed by bears. Respect them, and they will respect you, usually. The mosquitoes are a different story.
Oh, you can exercise some of the common precautions, such as not smear yourself with bacon grease before you go to sleep, and all that. These are not Park bears. They know that Alaskans carry guns, so the bears tend give humans a bit of space. You might do the same. Humans are unpredictable. If you travel with another person or more, stay near each other in bear country. Bears rarely mess with two or more people, unless there are two or more bears. All the other bear precautions are worth considering, to the extent of their convenience. Forget about pepper spray. Bears are similar to people. They like meat spiced with pepper. To find someone with spray-on pepper is to find the better meal. The bears can smell pepper spray, and it attracts them.
Of course there are the times when you stumble along a narrow path in dense brush, swatting mosquitoes, when a bear is doing the same from the other direction, or suddenly find yourself in a small clearing where a selfish bear is dining on the fine cuisine of his recent or long-dead moose kill, or sit down to rest, beside a dozing bear cub whose mother is dozing nearby, or crawl up to a hilltop only big enough for the bear sleeping there, whom you just woke up, or encounter a mentally unstable bear who has a government job and therefore hates everyone. Those are the times you either have a large caliber gun to represent your point of view, or the bear submits the story to the next copy of Even More Bear Tales. Bears, like humans, are unpredictable. If you are killed by a bear, it was unpredictable, like the other times bears killed people, least the people would not have been there, quite like the bears who were where they got killed by the people.
So what gun should you carry? And you should. There was the time a Sierra Club group leader was obviously perturbed by the sight of the Alaska bush pilot's pistol while the pilot was loading the airplane down by Nabesna, to fly the group into the Alaska wilderness. She finally devised a snide comment about the vile thing. She said that the pilot would look silly with that little gun if a bear really did attack him. Accustomed to Sierra Club disdain for guns, the pilot kept loading the plane, and said that he would look a lot sillier without it.
Carrying a gun is a pain in the ass. They are something that must be fussed with, and are rarely if ever used for any genuine need by any particular person. They are just the only real bear protection that is practical. If you want bear protection, for the times you really need protection, you want the biggest gun you can carry or drag. If you choose a small, convenient hand gun, you don't have serious bear protection, but better than no gun. If you choose a shotgun with a pistol grip, you have the compromise between an adequate but cumbersome rifle and a sometimes inadequate but convenient hand gun. The minimum shotgun ammo is the new solid copper slugs, not buckshot. But slugs still penetrate poorly, while penetration is a primary consideration for killing bears. If you carry a rifle or shotgun, you tend to leave it beside the tent when you walk to the nearby creek to get water, when the bear appears between you and the tent. If you carry a hand gun in a convenient and comfortable shoulder holster, you will wear it while getting water or squatting behind a tree, but wish you had the shotgun when the bear appears. Nice thing about a gun is that you can use it to kill what you may need to eat if you screw-up so badly that the bear grabs your food when you aint looking, or you dump your food in the river you foolishly tried to cross, or you are attacked by a Northern Fur Mosquito. And you can use the gunpowder in the ammo to start a campfire when you run out of intelligence or patience to do it any other way after the rainstorm. Guns have a few other uses, very few. When I climb mountains I do not carry the extra weight of a gun. I have my ice axe, and imagine defending myself with it. My defense is my imagination. Bears can be found high on Alaska glaciers. When I kayak in bear country, I carry a stainless steel shotgun for camp and a .44 Magnum stainless hand gun in a convenient shoulder holster for wherever my body is at any moment. The inconvenience of carrying a gun pays for peace of mind, restful nights and enjoying the sight of bears. I also do not have to mess with all the silly inconveniences of separating food smells from my camp, or fiddle-fart with lashing food up in some tree for the squirrels to eat, especially in tundra where there are no trees. I sleep with my food in my tent, where I can protect it, so I am not 5 days from the road and feeding a bear all my food. If there is a dispute over the ownership of the food, I will add some bear meat to the larder and a bear hide to the mattress. When I hunt, alone, trudging back and forth through the thick brush to carry seven very heavy loads of fresh moose meat from the kill to my camp, I carry my .375 H&H Magnum rifle, and my .44 Magnum hand gun, and my knife, and I pay attention, and I think like the bear, ready to defend my moose steaks.
Government in Alaska has more money per capita than any other State or nation, except Kuwait. Therefore each jurisdiction, level and agency of government in Alaska, local, State and fed, is more corrupt, mindless and malicious than anywhere else, including Kuwait. If you are in Alaska and breathing, you have violated several laws, regulations, statutes, ordinances, codes, policies, orders, directives and authorized procedures, and are subject to arrest, unless you have government permits to breathe.
So what do you do about all the permits, licenses and registration forms you are required to have to be anywhere doing anything in Alaska? Among a few million more, there are three ways to do it.
Gullible sorts with too much money, time and no pulse, look for government agencies and ask to get permits. It only costs you time, money, bureaucratic headaches and many denied rights, for no verifiable benefit to anyone or anything but bureaucratic paper shuffling budgets and tax paid budget excuses. You would be amused to see the number and categories of inquiring people who have been formally told by the National Park Service they may not visit the multi-million acre Denali National Park because no permits were available. They use the trick of arbitrarily limiting access among the number of people who arrive by road or airplane, then telling you that most of the park is open to unlimited visitation, if you have a few weeks to walk from outside the park. With an inherently arbitrary limit on the number of allowed people, categorically groundless upon questioning by even children, the Park Service creates the excuse for permits and the enforcement budget scam. The Park Service can jerk the chain of the environmentalists in the Park Service pocket, many of them employed by the Park Service, to get "public support for Park Service polices".
Wiser people take the significant time to learn what no lawyers are ever taught, that is, what law is and how it works, and thus how to never need a government permit, license or lawyer, for anything. No permission or fee can be required to exercise a right. No permission can be granted for an unlawful action. The action is either lawful, for which no permission can be required, or unlawful, for which no permission can be granted. No privilege can be granted by government because it holds no private property rights to share as privileges. The process to effect the meaning of those immutable and prevailing precepts of law for your actions involves learning a certain arena of knowledge. The mind learns by asking and answering questions. For that arena of knowledge, never available from lawyers, law professors or government drones whose institutions are threatened by knowledge, you may contact Alaska Intech. But that knowledge requires a bit of time to learn.
The most common way to handle the government permit idiot-drill, if you are a visitor to Alaska, is to ignore the government idiot-drills, go where you want to go, do what you want to do, be respectful and non-damaging of all things just like you normally are, and have fun, just like Alaskans. If the main road to somewhere has armed government thugs stopping all traffic to rob the travelers under color of permit laws, as in some of the National Park Gulags, turn around and find an unguarded side road or just abandon the idea of visiting the king's private preserves. Notice that dang near anywhere is a good place to park the car and walk into the wilderness inside or outside the Park Gulags. You don't need to go to the official government starting place, and what the government tells you are usually lies. If you encounter a government thug who says you gotta have a permit to be there, confuse him. Be too nice and polite. Tell him any story, with disjointed excerpts about your lost cousin Alfonse who has lived in Alaska 57 years and told you to go where you are going and he would meet you when you got there. Use the time to practice telling stories. Don't even stop talking. Recite the Gettysburg Address. If you speak another language, speak it. After awhile, the government chap will think you are an Alaskan or eligible to be an Alaskan, and walk away. Government dolts do not understand Alaskans, because Alaskans live in Alaska rather than the government cocoon. Of course government dolts in Alaska are trained to say they are Alaskans, and lie if their lips are moving. Do whatever the poor sad mentally crippled government dolt tells you to do, except sign anything or pay anything. Humor him or her. They are pitiable sops. Just chalk up the experience of their harassing you as a cost of your having voted for the DemocanRepublicrat machine or any other inherently self-serving government which hires intolerant dolts, in the name of helping the people of course. They cannot comprehend or enjoy the magnificent human diversity in a world designed with humans as part of the design.
The kind of person who genuinely believes that you should be jailed or fined because you didn't get his permission to do what humans do to rationally function, and who carries a government-issued gun or is backed by armed dolts, is a full bubble slaunchwise to the human mind. They have already confused themselves with such an illogical premise, that they are therefore easily further confused, even if they read this, least they would have quit their job to get back into the real world where they could learn from their stupid mistake of accepting a government job. Pity them, but don't let them suck you down into their abject stupidity.
Precisely what sort of poor lost souls would openly risk their life to make themselves horribly miserable in the bitter cold, carrying a heavy, awkward pack for many days on treacherous terrain, eating glop and sleeping on rock or ice, just to get there and come back, for no pay and for public question of their mental condition?
The why of it all is simple. There has to be a place for those kind of people, and it is a good thing the mountains are available to attract them away from civilized people. Alaska attracts such sorts, which, if you check the original design report, is why Alaska's treacherous mountains were added to the terrain. Don't worry about them. They are out there, and it's a good thing.
Alaska has so much mountain and cliff climbing in such obscure places that you can make many first ascents, and say nothing, to leave them for other climbers to make the same first ascents. Besides the mountain and rock climbing, there are too many frozen waterfalls to climb. There are too many spectacular sea cliffs to climb. The best climbing is in the dead of winter, on account of there being no other climbers in the mountains to dispute your stories.
To the non-climber the mountains offer a particularly valuable item of knowledge. There is no better definition of the unmitigated human stupidity one acquires by accepting a government job. The mountains are the perfect place for that inherent portion of society which needs no government, requests no government, bothers no government, and for which government reaction is a total waste of tax money. The only people mountain climbers actually bother, are fellow mountain climbers out where no one else goes. They can solve their own problems among themselves. And they do, if they identify any problems, without need or request for government.
Only the most illogical, wasteful, mental midget government drones with no utility to society, would impose themselves in the mountains, in contempt of the tax payer's hard-earned money. The RepublicratDemocans with their National Park Service drones thus define themselves.
If climbers leave trash in the mountains, obviously where it affects no one but climbers, the climbers publicly rag their trash-slob colleagues, by name, and clean up the trash, solving the problem at no cost to anyone else. In contrast, tax paid Park rangers go out into the mountains and clean up the trash as a maid service, thus encouraging climbers to leave more trash, which provides the budget excuse for more tax paid mountain maid service enthusiastically funded by the DemocanRepublicrats lying about respecting the tax payer. Would you pick up your trash if you were required to pay for a maid picking up your trash? Park Pigs threaten to arrest climbers who leave litter, but do not do so, least the climbers might not leave trash, and the rangers would lose their budget excuse. The problem is thus encouraged, perpetuated and milked for the maximum expenditure of tax money, while genuine social problems persist for lack of resources to solve them. If a RepublicratDemocan's lips are moving, she is lying.
Because the climbers need rescues after inherent accidents, the climbers created their own volunteer mountain rescue groups comprised of actual climbers, and created their own rescue financing programs. But the Washington DC Park Pigs used every trick and form of power to damage the climber rescue groups, often banning them from the National Parks, so that incompetent, non-climber, armed Park Police with two left feet and a brain capable only of memorized lies, could be given the title of Mountain Rescue Expert, and given tax-paid helicopter resources to ride around while the helicopter pilots rescue climbers. It was inherent that the non-mountain climber Park Pigs would therefore kill random accident victims, sometimes by blocking any allowed rescues, as has been proven in court, so the taxpayers were further punished by having to pay for the resulting lawsuits. The problem is therefore made more deadly and expensive, just so self-serving government dolts can milk the gullible society for more tax money. And the lying Washington DC drones deny the existence of the private, non-profit rescue insurance programs created by the climbers, while of course the network news media journalists, with brains no larger than government dolts, parrot government lies as truth, without questioning, as usual, and further attack any mere citizen who suggests the truth, much to the amusement of observers.
While the people commonly rail against such government corruption, not one government employee will publicly denounce any of it, demonstrating the dishonesty of the whole lot of them, by definition of their comprising the government.
And therefore mountain climbing is much like guerrilla warfare in the government-owned Gulags of public land. The climber faces the challenges of the mountains, while dodging the government mental midgets running around with guns. There is much to the game of mountain climbing, especially in Alaska where the mentally stagnant government drones hate the dynamic Alaskans.
Of course Denali, being the highest hill in the bailiwick, attracts egotistical climbers like flies around rotting meat. It offers an amusing show, and creates many Park Service stories among a few climbing stories.
Outside the National Park Gulags or the reach of government thugs, a mountain climber holds a free mind, unfettered by government threats, and can thus learn the priceless lessons of the mountains themselves. Both games are available in Alaska, until we get around to slipping the rug out from under the untenable kings in Washington DC, poor sad mental midgets that they are, albeit heavily armed and murderous.
I suggest the free mountains where mountaineering anarchy reigns supreme, void of any government-created problems or tax waste, much to the rage of government dolts. There, if you meet anyone, they will be of the nature attracted to the mountains by the mountains, as are you, and you will therefore learn much from each other. I would mention the best places, but the Park Service sorts might read this, and they hate climbers with such intensity they sometimes send their armed thugs outside the Parks.
Ya'll be careful now, if you climb mountains in Alaska. Some of the people who disappear in Alaska, were last seen in the mountains. If you run into a strange sort of chap, and if you mention the name John Waterman, the real one, the mountain climbing genius, not the Park Pig book author, and he twitches a bit, let us know where you saw him. The John Waterman story aint over until he shows up or his body melts out of the glacier in a few hundred years.
Glaciers are rivers of ice, and in Alaska there are many which flow horizontally long distances. They are good travel routes to intriguing places.
If you are walking on moraine rocks or hard summer ice, you are usually somewhat safe. If you are walking on snow covering the ice, you wanna be roped up and know crevasse rescue techniques, or you wanna know that glacier very well. Most of each glacier is free of crevasses, but only most. The snow hides what you will fall into as the snow collapses when you step on it. The crevasses are bad, and they can cross much of the glacier, but the moulins are insidious. They are roughly round holes where the summer surface melt water plunges vertically down into the ice, a long ways, to a sub-surface river. Not a place you want to go. The snow covers them too, and they are where you are not looking for crevasses.
Oh, the bears travel a long ways up the glaciers, and are usually looking for food where you are the only choice. Some of the people who disappear in Alaska were last seen on glaciers.
There is a lot of water in Alaska, and a lot of ducks, beaver and other creatures which propagate a healthy population of Giardia in that water. Out there in the bush, if the water is not coming out of the ground right where you are drinking it, with no ponds or swamps up-hill which are being shat in by the ducks, beaver and other giardia-carriers, figure it has giardia, and filter or boil it. Yeah, that is inconvenient, and there may not be any giardia in that water, but the giardia stories are not pleasant to tell or hear. Of course glacier water direct from the glacier is usually safe. Then there was the time I found a couple dead ducks on a summer glacier surface pond, at the bottom of an icefall in a narrow glacier canyon. Some of those ducks which disappeared in Alaska, were last seen on a glacier. Mountain hazards are not species specific.
Consider the typically unthinking mountain climber who must carry everything on his back, and only the bare necessities, to be miserable while risking his life in the stark boredom of rock and ice. In contrast, the sea kayaker can risk his life while comfortably sitting on his lazy posterior, in a kayak loaded with fine wine and other luxuriant trappings of the aristocracy, enjoying the magnificent diversity of nature along a beautiful sea coast. Your choice?
Both, of course.
I recommend the Cadillac of kayaks, the Klepper, a fat slow hog of a kayak, made of sticks and fabric, if you have more money than good sense. It is big, stable and can carry all that stuff you want when you get there. It is conveniently packed in bags for the flight or drive to the water. Get a double Klepper. A single was made for one person and their paddle. A double was made for one person and a few cases of wine. Your choice? If you want to travel fast, so you think those sleek slender, tipsy, hard to load and unload, hard shell sea kayaks are the way to go, get a motor boat. If you are traveling at kayak speed, speed is not a consideration.
You will want to stow a few extra bottles of fine white wine, or red if you prefer, and at least a case of whiskey in your kayak liquor hold to grace the delicate cuisine of fresh sea food on the beach. Just don't drink a whole bottle of wine on a lunch stop with fresh crab. Paddling drunk around a rock point, against a strong opposing current, and a few things like that, especially if your supper crab is crawling around in the kayak, may become a bit of an effort, or so I might imagine from what I barely remember.
Kayak with caution. You cannot survive a swim in the rather cold Alaska coastal water if you can't get out within minutes.
If you set up a tent anywhere out of town, it will likely be on bear tracks. But that is better than the scat. Take a tide chart and pay attention to it. You will be tempted to set up your tent on the convenient high tide areas of bare sand or pebbles, rather than back in the inconvenient trees. That is reasonable if you are above the last high tide line, and the next high tide is not higher or a storm swell does not make an unscheduled higher tide. It's really embarrassing when the high tide gets you while you are asleep.
Whales and lions:
Check out the humpback whales, killer whales, porpoise, sea otters and other things in the water, some of those mysterious things spoken of in whispers only. The sea mammals usually know more about your presence than you know about their presence. There was the time that a couple porpoise encountered a couple chaps in a Klepper kayak, in rough water, and decided to play with them. When the kayak was in a trough between two swells, the porpoise would come out of one swell, jumping directly over the kayak, into the other swell. Besides having to duck each time, to avoid getting a fin in the face, the kayakers did not have a spray skirt on the kayak, leaving them with a lot of splashed-in cold water from the game. You don't always get to choose your games out there, and the playful animals often do not know how delicate these puny humans are.
Show a little respect for the bull sea lions. There is a reason they are called lions. The females are sometimes a playful lot around kayaks, which does not always meet with the approval of the sea lion men folk. And rather than start a squabble among the family, about female rights and who is allowed to play with the kayakers, the bull sea lions sometimes suggest your departure. They can swim fast and they are really big. If they get close you will see how really big they are, and wish you didn't. Some of those people who disappear in Alaska were last seen in sea kayaks.
Not many roads, and they are constantly being destroyed by the freezing and thawing and rain, and the sometimes jostling terrain. There is a lot of travel by airplanes, boats, four-wheelers, snow machines and such money sink-holes. Road access is limited, and other access is expensive. No problem. Most places in the deep hinterlands are the same as places just off the road a ways if you walk there. And with more shoreline than the lower 48, and no end of rivers and lakes, a kayak will get you more places than a car, in the summer.
If it is not in town in Alaska, it is, The Bush. Anywhere out there is The Bush, whether it is in the forest, tundra or mountains.
Winter. Skis. Not snow shoes. Skis. One travels in the winter on skis, on account of Alaska being covered with snow in the winter, and on account of snow shoes being clunky things that you trip over. Just stay away from slopes. The bottom of skis are slick. If you are near a slope, the skis slide, and then you fall down. If the snow is flat, you can travel efficiently a long ways on skis. If you are in Alaska in the winter, you have a pair of skis, or you are not in Alaska. Any skis will do. The really expensive ones with hot colors are the way to go, but there is no lack of free skis in the dumpsters each spring, and spray paint can turn cheap skis into next year's not new model if you just add the rhetoric.
Real Alaskans check the trash dumpsters. The dumpster sites are referred to as, The Mall. Alaska has four distinct seasons, and a lot of people coming and going in a harsh environment requiring a lot of material things. Ergo: A lot of new stuff is exchanged at The Mall. There is no limit. Entire impressive houses have been built from dumpster finds. I know a person who found a sizable diamond wedding ring in a dumpster, and gave it to his new bride, and the amusing story of how it got there. The story of shopping at The Mall reveals the complete story of modern Alaska. Shop first at The Mall, then maybe check the stores. And everything at The Mall carries a full money-back guarantee, with full value trade-ins also accepted. Dumpster etiquite is easier than trying to spell it. He who physically has his hands on it first, and does not let go until it is in the car, has made the purchase. If you are making a return, simply announce the fact, and other people will help you unload. Yes, my grizzly bear vest that is highly complemented at all the finest social affairs, was an old grizzly bear rug acquired from The Mall.
Alder is large brush in Alaska. It is common. It is not pleasant to walk through when it is dense. But if you are going to barbecue meat, alder is what you want. Its smoke makes meat taste good. Use the alder. A lot of people in town don't know that because they thought that propane was the improvement over briquettes, and barbecues didn't exist before briquettes. If you encounter a propane or briquette sort, go get some alder from anywhere in the area, and put at least a few sticks on to get some flavoring from the heat.
Carry a cell phone. Okay, so sometimes the cell phone won't work. Carry a communication radio if you have one.
There are still enough remote enough places in Alaska that survival classes and stories are still popular. And it is fun stuff for those who are interested. If you are going to leave town for the bush, by any means of travel, tell someone where you are going, carry some food, clothing for the worst conditions, a small tent or shelter of some sort, and whatever else you want to carry. In rainy country, the rain is cold, so have good rain gear. Do not rely on your pilot or the guy with the boat, snow machine or four-wheeler. He sometimes has enough stuff for himself, but often not. You want to be able to tell the story, rather than have the story be told about you. Some of the people who disappear in Alaska, were last heard to say they were just going to the next village.
If you are into winter things, carry a shovel to dig a snow cave, and an insulated pad to lay on. If you are surviving and trying to rest, most of your heat will be lost on the surface in contact with the ground. A snow cave is a very warm place out of the cold wind. A candle will serve you very well in a snow cave.
You will not survive more than a few minutes in the cold ocean or glacial rivers. If you don't have a dry suit or survival suit for kayaking and other boating, stay close to land or close to other boats. The water is so cold that even dry suits or survival suits will give you only so much more time, especially if you are a skinny person.
It is just a bit more worth it to pay a bit more attention to a few more details before going into the bush, but you only need to consider the value of your life, not important things that will do well in your absence, like your credit cards.
It is daylight all night long in the summer, so the gardens grow well. Alaska grows all the food you want to grow, and more for the neighbors. Of course the giant Alaska cabbage are famous, but many other veges are as impressive. Potatoes grow so well that years ago Alaska exported potatoes, that is until certain political interests in the lower 48 wanted to keep Alaska dependent upon certain political interests in the lower 48. So said interests arranged for the Seattle and Portland dock hands to refuse to handle the shipments of Alaska potatoes one season. There were a few resulting stories of the odor of piles of rotting potatoes on the docks, and the Alaska commercial potato farms were economically destroyed. So we eat our superlative Alaska potatoes now, along with the moose that get into the garden. To hell with those lower 48'ers and the childish little RepublicratDemocan brats they worship in Washington DC, including the three swine we sent from Alaska to get them out of here.
Such events in the history of gardening are not uncommon. Not many years ago a certain president declared a certain war on a certain popular garden crop coming from a certain country south of the border. An army of mental midget cops were unleased on the border. That particular president didn't have much between his cowboy hat and his smile, and is still praised as a god by the Republicrats. His new war at the border inherently resulted in the internal production of said crop skyrocketing, behind the backs of the cops. So the mental midget government boys who are trained to believe that everything and everyone are their enemy, escalated the war in their own country, sending helicopters and swat teams out to slash the nation's gardens. That inherently resulted in the indoor production of said crop skyrocketing, along with the genetically improved quality of the crop. So of course the cops started busting down doors, in the mad-cop attack on one of the most common, universal and inherently undefeatable, God-created plants. Irrational hatred for the people, the foundation of all governments and their armed agencies, is the reason every government eventually starts crumbling toward its inherent demise. A mad cop went into one too many houses, in Alaska, to attack a garden plant, and came out with the famous Raven Case.
Gardening is enjoyed by a cross section of society, including court judges, and court judges are sometimes uneasy about mad cops. The Alaska supreme court ruled that the constitutional right to privacy in one's house, for small amounts of gardening and garden crop used in one's house, prevailed over the mad cop hatred for gardening and everything else. Indoor gardening and garden crops were therefore recognized as legal in Alaska, under the prior existing supreme law written in plain English, a historic event defining the prior lawlessness of the illiterate victims of police employment who could not identify a constitution or its purpose if you handed them one with a dictionary.
But of course the mindless DemocanRepublicrats were enraged that written law could be used to protect the people from their malicious government, the original purpose of law that the RepublicratDemocans have kept secret from their therefore stupid children who grow up and do the same to their DemocanRepublicrat children who become mad cops. So they created a new statute law that again outlawed said gardening. But of course a statute law cannot prevail over a constitutional law. But of course cops and dishonesty are synonyms. The cops intentionally arrested and maliciously damaged those gardeners who the cops calculated were too poor or too uneducated to be able to access their prevailing law rights. Oh, the cops eventually screwed-up as usual, and another court case reaffirmed the obvious, that statute law does not prevail over constitutional law, and gardening is lawful in one's house. But of course cops and dishonesty are synonyms. The mad cops are still unlawfully arresting and maliciously damaging gardeners who are too poor or too uneducated to be able to access their prevailing law rights. There are no cops to arrest the cops who criminally violate the law against unlawful use of power of office under color of law. The Organized Police are the country's largest armed gang of organized criminals, and they are immune to punishment for their crimes, and they are raking in a fortune for the RepublicratDemocan insiders, especially under the forfeiture law fraud.
But the Raven Case and the popularity of gardening in Alaska have resulted in Alaska's international reputation for horticultural excellence. Alaska's garden crop has routinely taken top awards at international horticultural competitions, such as in Amsterdam. Many Alaskans are high quality gardeners, and take pride in their crops. The DemocanRepublicrats of course have responded by instituting process to select only the most ignorant school teachers for the Alaska's public schools, to make sure that no student ever learns what written law is and how it works. Teachers can get fired or demoted for asking questions about the ever-more narrowing government line being taught in the public schools. The good teachers have quit the public school system or are belatedly seeking more honest employment. The progressively more self-stupidified RepublicratDemocans are dependent upon a progressively more stupid population, but they are doomed, because Alaska attracts curious people who ask questions and learn from each other rather than from the self-stagnated government.
So like all things, for gardening in a country ruled by an armed gang of lawless police, knowledge is everything. Knowledge is worth more than wealth, guns, titles or anything else. Learn the prevailing law and how to access it, something that no lawyers know because they naively believed rather than questioned what they were taught in the government-financed law schools taught by law professors who were never taught the prevailing law. You may inquire. To learn the prevailing law one learns the untenable fraud of the institution of lawyers and law professors.
If you are a lawyer, you are what perceptive young people learn they never want to be. Lawyers intentionally perpetuate the use of contradicted laws to perpetuate a social system wherein citizens are random victims of lawyers and police demanding tribute to squabble over which law will be applied to which victim on which day. Lawyers and police use contradicted law as a weapon to attack people, rather than law's original design as an instrument to defend people from wrongs. Lawyers and police have turned contradicted law into a king's whim, inherently destroying public respect for law and government. The only possible product of imposing contradicting laws on the citizens, is abject hatred for lawyers, police and judges. Would your more perceptive children not agree?
And if you are a cop, do yourself the favor of your life, quit your job first thing in the morning. I belatedly quit a similar government job. There are better jobs. There is no amount of money or ego gratification worth what you have done to your mind by believing rather than questioning your government superiors and their entrenched hatred for fellow humans. Your mind is worth more to you. Learn the institutional contradictions of police, and thus the reason they are privately loathed even by the people who publicly flatter them. Take up gardening. You might recognize that all those other humans were never your enemy. They just wanted to live their own life without bothering you or anyone else. It is only you who were foolishly convinced by your idiot government to bother them with contradicted and thus void laws. It is not possible within the design of humans, and especially Alaskans, to reduce the vast spectrum of human diversity down to the moribund old mold of intellectually absent old white male cop-mentality RepublicratDemocans. The effort to do so identifies malicious government dolts. Take back your own life, and enjoy the knowledge created by the spectrum.
If you are not content with the dangers on top of the glaciers, there are more exciting and deadly hazards inside them, and Alaska has a lot of glaciers.
Glacier ice caves are called moulins, because it is a more mysterious term from another language, frog language I think, and moulin explorers gotta elevate their social status however they can. There are two types of moulins, among the other types. The moulins at the lower end of the glacier are formed by the water coming out the end. If everything goes wrong, your body will be flushed out of the glacier. The moulins farther up the glacier are formed by the surface snow, summer meltwater going down into the glacier. If everything goes wrong, your body will be flushed into the glacier. You don't want that to happen. Stay away from the upper glacier moulins and especially the innocent-looking creeks that flow into them. The sides are rounded and slick, then plunge vertically, and there is no way back out. They won't sneak up on you, like crevasses, so you don't have to fear them. Just don't get too close. When the summer meltwater is flowing strong, you will hear the moulins when they are near. The deep, ominous roar of the water plunging into them is a sound you will try to forget, and be unable.
Any time of the year you can poke around the terminus of a glacier, and find fun ice caves to explore. Wiser to do so in the winter when things aren't melting and falling apart so fast. The winter cold also facilitates the formation of neat ice crystals on the ceilings of the caves. If the glacier has an actively calving terminus, obvious by the freshly broken ice, or any broken ice, I don't even get close. Find a smaller glacier or lobe where the terminus is primarily melting rather than breaking off. Some of the caves go a long way back into the glacier. Besides the hazards of the swift river coming out of the cave, if there is one, and the ever-present possibility of the ice collapsing on you, the long caves sometimes hold a stagnant air mass which can be a little low on oxygen and a little high on methane. If you can't get your bic lighter to light, or you feel a little queasy, you should hastily depart. If by chance you do get into an upper glacier moulin, in the winter when you think there is no flowing water, and you hear a deep, CLUNK, somewhere distant in the ice, retire from your location with great haste. Sometimes a piece of ice goes, clunk, and the intra-glacier river gets diverted into where you might be standing, and wells up out of the glacier to form a lake, before the pressure unclunks the clunk and the lake suddenly flushes back down. Not a place to be at the time it happens. And there are other hazards.
Because ice is plastic in nature, and the glaciers are inexorably moving under great pressure from the weight of the ice pushing itself, some of the resulting ice formations are really cool. A huge blade of ice slowly peeling off a ceiling in one cave I stumbled into, had a cluster of large icicles hanging from it. When it got close to the floor, and of course kept moving, the icicles were slowly bent into a U shape, extending straight back up for a couple feet. The horizontal icicles on walls that were ceilings when the icicles were formed, are also fun. If you hold the urge to ruthlessly destroy the spectacular natural beauty of the genuinely pristine wilderness in defiance of the most cherished illusions of preservationists, find any of the countless remote glacier caves in the winter, where you will find awesome ice crystal formations, and run amuck, crushing them all, because there are countless, and no one else is foolish enough to go out there in the cold where you can die in an ice cave anyway, and Nature also runs amuck, destroying them all each summer with the temperature thing, in contempt of the preservationist illusions, and then makes more again.
There are two social classes of moulin explorers. There are the louts who explore the terminus caves where there are a lot of rocks and mud and dirty things accumulating where the ice is melting, and there are the gentlemen and gentlewomen who explore the upper glacier moulins where the clean clear ice is not soiled with accumulations of glacial silt. There is no one in between because most of the intra-glacial rivers are either full of water, or they proportionally squeeze shut from the intense pressure of the deep ice as the winter water flow diminishes. The social classes do, however, talk to each other, at ice cave slide shows, and are sometimes caught in each other's playground. It is hard to keep these Alaskans in their proper social classes.
Dead meat is popular in Alaska. There are a lot of dead meat eaters. It is an old hunter-gatherer cultural thing. If there is an animal on the ground, in the water or air, in or around Alaska, that can be killed, it has probably been eaten by Alaskans. It has been that way a long time, and nobody has announced any change in policy. In fact, there have been some old frozen mammoths found in the permafrost, that have been eaten by the people, and of course the other predators. I hear it tastes like the mud it came from.
So barbecue parties are popular. Sometimes a distinct variety of dead meat shows up at the barbecues, sometimes identified, sometimes not. Whale, seal, beaver, lynx, bear, wolverine, moose, caribou, endangered species, dall sheep, deer, elk, fish of every scale, birds of every feather, weird things from the ocean, and even succulent steaks of the wily Northern Tofu.
Most of the barbecue parties are in the summer, on account of Mosquito Union Local 001 having a strong influence over a lot of outdoor activities. They demand their share of the blood, but it doesn't always work out for them. Sometimes barbecued mosquito legs are on the menu. With the right sauce, and enough of it, mosquito legs are not bad, and the first mosquitoes of the season are those big slow ones that you can catch by the legs.
But there are some barbecue parties that happen throughout the winter. They usually involve a lot of inside stove-cooked food, and a token few things out on the grill so we can tell the winter barbecue stories. The winter grill cooked stuff is burnt on one side and frozen on the other side, just the way we like it.
Alder wood. If it is a real Alaskan barbecue, the coals will be alder wood. If they are not alder wood, a good Alaskan grillmeister will have a superlative array of excuses for his abject sloth in preparation. The grillmeister is an important person. Treat him with great respect if he has a line of rhetorical artistry to make up for his questionable cooking skills. There is a reason that indoor stoves were invented, and barbecue stories persist.
If you are invited to a common Alaska barbecue, the most unusual dead meat you can kill or get from the store is a good choice. Otherwise, just show up with an extra bottle of wine, perhaps with an unusual label.
Alaska is a smorgasbord. The place is a berry patch. In blueberry season you will stain your pants if you sit down. Cranberries, crowberries, nagoonberries, salmonberries, cloudberries and a gob of others grow like weeds. You can ask around for the most convenient places and best times for berries each season, to easily fill your freezer and pie crusts, or just go out of town and pick what you find. Mushrooms, including too many morels, litter the land. Major morel picking can be had in the many old forest fire areas. A variety of fish, mollusks, crab, several large game animals, ptarmigan, other grouse and waterfowl, rabbits breeding like rabbits, beaver, porcupines and squirrels, in sum lace the land, water and air. Of course, if you are in the wrong place, at any particular time, or without the right tools, you can get real hungry, especially in the frozen winter. So learn a little about your epicurean preferences before you walk out to restock the larder. Gardens lavish in the 24 hours of summer sunlight, creating flavor you have never found in a grocery store. Honey bees produce the finest fireweed honey you will ever dribble in your beard. Don't even waste your time taking it out of the comb, and pick out only the bees that sting you. I prefer the extra water white fireweed honey so sweet your tongue tingles at its touch. And in Alaska, for those who prefer wholesome foods, there is no large scale pesticide use, and no hormone fed animals. It is the place for the natural food sort, not that we want any more of those stereotyped liberal/conservative political hacks showing up, who want to politically force everyone else to live their narrow little decisions. The available food is as close to what the Neanderthals ate as you can get these days. Of course, we aren't sure why the Neanderthals didn't survive, and all those pringles eaters are breeding like humans.
The Arabs have camels, the Danes have dairy cattle, the Argentineans have beef cattle, the Mongolians have horses, the Tibetans have yaks, the Peruvians have lamas, the Indians have elephants, the Russians have nuclear subs, the Americans have bureaucrats and the Alaskans have dogs.
They are sled dogs, ski-joring dogs, guard dogs and a few yappy little foo foo pet dogs.
Of course dog sled racing is a thing in Alaska. There is the North American Open that runs along the trails around Fairbanks. The Iditarod goes a thousand or so miles from Anchorage to Nome. The Yukon Quest goes a thousand or so miles between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, alternating directions each year. There are a gaggle of other serious dog sled races around the State. The humans take a lot of the credit for winning the races, but the dogs don't do so bad at times.
Dogs are socially accepted among most Alaskans, and welcome at the parties, in the bars and most other places. It is not uncommon to be at parties where no few large dogs are mingling in the crowd, laying around afoot, engaging the guests in conversation, partaking in the cuisine and accepting massages. That is the way it is. The phenomenon is sufficiently entrenched that you may notice some of the people acting just like the dogs, and some of the dogs having degenerated surprisingly close to human traits. The dogs can usually be distinguished by their social habit of butt-sniffing among themselves, but it may not take too many more decades for them to get Alaskans fully socialized.
Alaska is sometimes spelled, blueberries. The place is festooned with them. Oh, you might find some spots without them, where the cranberries and salmon berries, crow berries and bear bearies, nagoon berries and cloud berries, bane berries and all the other berries have edged in. Ya'll be careful with those bane berries now.
Same old thing: Blueberry this and blueberry that. Blueberry wine and blueberry liquor. Blueberry jam and blueberry chutney on blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup. Blueberry moose roast and blueberry baked salmon. The blueberry vinegar made by Basically Basil is in greater demand than Gretchen can supply.
But Blueberry Bunkle stumbled into lasting fame in Alaska. I found it all up for question myself, but these mountain climbers and skydivers didn't ask me or anyone else what they could do. They just did what humans could do, and then did more, and laughed the whole time. You may want to do the same yourself. Near as we can figure from the rumors, you only get one shot at this life game so you just as well do what humans can do, enjoy it, learn as much as you can from the diversity of knowledge available, and tell those DemocanRepublicrat government drones who hate what humans can do, to piss-off. Or tell those intellectually absent moribund old white males and the females emulating them in government to get a life of their own, and learn to laugh, but they won't understand that.
It is said of a certain time in the annals of Alaska history, that one of the Fairbanks mountain climbers was informed shortly before a party that he was expected to show up with something to eat, rather than show up to eat. Confusion coursed his mind. Well, what on account of blueberries being legal and all, and free, the latter only an imperative for an Alaska mountain climber, and Alaska gardening being legal despite the rabid hatred of gardening by the thugs with cop jobs, and free, said climber capitalized on the free part and set about the task of actually preparing food, theretofore only a rumored concept among climbers.
He ran outside and picked enough blueberries to sustain the process, and enough left over for the original purpose of his effort. He borrowed a cook book, along with the flour, sugar, butter, a little baking powder and whatever else someone told him was used in a baking project. He went through the garden and grabbed a few fist fulls of garden leaves. And he started mixing it all up. He finely ground the leaves and sauteed them in butter until they just barely sort of started to turn the slightest brown. What from the description I was told, I suspect he got a bit involved with perhaps too many of those leaves, because apparently the cook book page turned from blueberry muffins to fruit buckle, about half way through the process, and he didn't really notice. So the melted green leaf butter got mixed with the flour and other things, then the blueberries got sort of mixed with some of the mixture, and otherwise poured into the pan, and it got put in the oven and cooked. He didn't know anything about proportions, and there was quite a lot of the stuff.
The Blueberry Bunkle got served at one of the parties at the famous Sandvik House, then the outdoor adventure headquarters of Alaska, when a mountain climbing slide show was being shown in the living room, to the tunes of Alice Coltrain, titled Lord of Lords, dramatic crescendos of intense drums accenting each more spectacular mountain photo with star-rayed sunrises over glacier-draped mountains dwarfing the local climbers hanging on ice axes barely penetrating hard blue ice over gaping abysses, albeit as usual, while in the kitchen skydiving movies filmed by the local skydiving Cameraman Man were being shown against the white refrigerator, scenes of local skydivers falling ass over tea kettle through the sky, flapping their arms and legs trying to do what those hot California skydivers could do, with a confused mix of adrenalin junkies anguishing over what they might be missing in the next room but too glued to the nearest images to move if they could anyway, albeit as usual.
Well, that recipe got real popular real quick. By chance of Nature's gifts to humans, the flavor of blueberries exquisitely complements the flavor of fresh garden greenery sauteed in butter. And it was 100% organic wholesome healthy vegetarian good for you, or close enough.
Next story I heard was about a certain party to which a certain climber invited his climbing friends, and made a large pan of blueberry bunkle, on account of the party being that of wholesome organic people. Well, apparently the party was his father's retirement party from a career government job, among a rather conservative lot who had been sheltered most of their life inside the government cocoon. There is just no accounting for these offspring, and some of them turn out to be mountain climbers despite the best parental efforts. It was a disjointed mix of people, rather common to the Alaska party scene, with interesting conversations thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Said son took said pan of blueberry bunkle into the kitchen and set it there. I was told that later one of the climbers walked into the kitchen where five career government bureaucrats, of a rather conservative agency, were standing around a half empty pan of blueberry bunkle, blueberries staining their lips, laughing themselves to tears and saying how good that blueberry stuff tasted. Apparently they had more fun than they otherwise knew was so convenient, because said son said that later that week they insisted upon the recipe, and the ingredients.
Word got out. Blueberries being a traditional and popular food staple, and free, local public demand for the secret Blueberry Bunkle recipe rapidly grew, but was frustrated among some by the ever-present intimidation of the narrow minded DemocanRepublicrat swine and their police thugs. Well, they had a Presidentially declared war on blueberries and everything else at the time, albeit as usual. But of course at times of war mountain climbers have more courage than the entire lot of US army airborne ranger green beret special forces navy seal infantry be all you can be rhetorical hype military heroes too cowardice and simpleton to even question the glaring lies of their superior officers and government drones, so the climbers published the recipe in the famous Alaskan Mountain Newsletter of the Alaskan Alpine Club. As a result there was a brown-out in Fairbanks for a couple days while copy machines sucked the electricity out of light bulbs and TV's. Blueberry recipes are really popular here abouts.
Mushing, also known as, dog sledding, as in the Yukon Quest and Iditarod:
Imagine what the perceptive person would learn if they stumbled upon these words. Never mind. The perceptive person already knows.
Consider one of the best kept secrets in the competitive sports arena.
Think for a moment about the long distance dog mushing races, in the far frozen north, where some pansy-assed, officious regulatory sort would not last more than nine, count them, 9 seconds looking into the face of a dog musher, if the musher were so gracious as to humor him that long.
In Alaska, they drug-test the dogs, not the mushers.
Those pictures you see, with the subtle haze of ice fog along the race trail through the Alaska wilderness. That aint ice fog.
The dogs? They do not care who tests them for what if they get their next meal. Besides, no musher is going to waste perfectly good drugs on the dogs. The dogs are running. They do not need the drugs. They are turning dog food into adrenalin. The musher must stand there on the back of the sled, for days, alone, in the cold, many hundreds of miles.
Go ahead, ask a dog musher to pee in a cup so you can drug test him. Imagine the nature of the responses you might encounter.
The farther north you get, the more the people must deal with the real world, so the less time they have to try to live the other guy's life for him, so they let him live his own life.
In contrast, somewhere down there south of Ketchikan, at the bottom of Planet Earth's pit on the Potomac, there is no human left with a life of his or her own. They just gave it up for the childish illusion of making everyone else's decisions for them, poor sad sorry victims of themselves that the Washington DC brats are.
What did you think the dog mushers did out there for days mushing through the astonishing grandeur of silent Alaskan and Canadian winter scenery in sub-zero temperatures, one with their sled, one with their dogs, one with the wilderness spirits, gliding across white velvet in rhythm with the steady panting of the dog team while the northern lights danced across the sky from horizon to horizon?
You know the news media that everyone complains about, for not telling what is actually happening. There is a reason. The journalists are just common people who got reporter jobs to earn money to pay the rent. They are within that of which they report, or they would not get the information to report. Do you report on what the government police attack if you are part of it? Are there any police to arrest the police who break the law? Do you actually believe those amusing illusions reported by the mainstream American news media entertainment industry? What have you heard about the fabled Yukon Quest dog mushing race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, and the Idiotrod race between Anchorage and Nome? It was fed to you.
The real story is on the trail. You just gotta be among the dog musher social gatherings, especially out on the race trail, where if you are, you are either the lone musher or one of the dogs, and the dogs do not include you in their conversation.
No, I mean the aurora borealis, not Northern Lights Bud which has won the Amsterdam Pot Competition several years.
Having just walked back inside, after watching the northern lights go ballistic right overheard again, for those who are still curious about them, they are the most impressive visual phenomenon available to the unaided human eye. There is nothing larger to the eye, that moves. And it goes ballistic in three dimensions in multiple colors across the entire sky. Damn good show. I came back in because it is cold out there.
Fairbanks Dull Men's Club
As you are fully aware, Fairbanks Alaska holds a higher than normal percentage of both ends of the bell curve. Many serious high adrenalin adventure risk takers reside in Fairbanks, although they have a higher than normal turn-over, for some odd reason. There are also those at the other end of the curve, who have either survived the intense risk period of their life, or survived the stories of their adventure colleagues, and have sunk deeply into their impression on the couch, in front of the House God, barely able to find the remote where it usually slips between the cushions, to change channels or rewind the video. For them, the Fairbanks Dull Men's Club was instituted.
The formal club charter was chiseled into the excited ions of a computer screen, and spit onto paper when the cursor found its way to the print button. The charter members used some of that fancy paper with the gold embossed frilly border. Some old worthless certificate of some self-proclaimed prestigious institution was pulled out of a fancy-looking cheap frame, and the historically valuable charter of the self-proclaimed, prestigious Fairbanks Dull Men's Club was inserted. The charter was hung over the impressive mantle of the central fireplace of the Club's Lodge and Headquarters, or maybe on the door to the furnace room in the small living room of a member's house.
The inscription may inform you of the nature of the club:
Lodge and Headquarters
Fairbanks Dull Men's Club
Established in the year of, ah, no one can remember off hand
Incorporating the Benevolent Brotherhood of
Video Sponges, Orators of Untruths, Blasphemers of Government,
Drinkers of Strong Whiskey, Good Ale and Fine Wine, Smokers of Foul
Cigars, and Certain Other Things Known to Men of Worldly Qualities.
Dedicated to the Discussion of Alaskan Women and Other Illusions
Exclusive Membership Conferred Only Upon Those Present
Be It Therefore Known To All Men, Amen
Where's the Chocolate?
At the formal meetings of the club, great and weighty matters of serious consequence, upon which the fate of the world teeters at the very precipice, albeit as usual, are routinely discussed, usually in response to the obvious incompetence of directors of cheap videos, during the show.
Regional chapters of the club are authorized. Just get some of that fancy certificate paper and create them. A frame is required. A thumb tack, staples or scotch tape will not do. Dull women's clubs are not authorized, or not possible, on account as their species is always of greater interest and intrigue, and consistently more productive.
Upon itemized questioning of the illusions of self-deluded institutional minds, the more astute among the readers recognize that the most prestigious of all institutions, including great universities, governments, research institutes and the whole gaggle of human organizations, offer themselves and others nothing of greater substance, but certainly greater self-delusion, as evident by the test of time having long been concluded, and the human condition, led by the aforementioned without effective objection, still stagnated deep within the intellectual dark ages, still slaughtering each other in barbaric wars as a perceived solution to contradictions.
If you are not laughing yourself to tears at these humans, you are missing the only show they have produced.
Wet, damp and dry villages
There are many small remote villages in Alaska, because Alaska is a big place, has few roads, and Alaskans have not yet bred or imported enough Alaskans yet to turn all the villages into sterilized government towns like Fairbanks and Anchorage. Except for the hard times when El Ninio or sun spots chased away the caribou or salmon, that caused various otherwise habitable spots used for villages to be temporarily abandoned, the villages have been around a few thousand years longer than the Euro-american white trash towns. The Alaska villages are different than the towns and cities.
The weather affects Alaska village life more than other places, as indicated by the common conversation as to whether a particular village is wet, damp or dry. You want to know about the weather pattern of a village, to avoid being arrested.
Well you see, these humans, early in the game, figured out that if you drank the rain water that sat in the old tree stump that had an old honey bee nest in it, it would make you feel funny, and you would laugh a lot. These humans enjoy laughing, unless they are those DemocanRepublicrats who hate the other guy so much they spend their time trying to devise malicious ways to force the other guy to live like the intolerant political dolts. Then humans figured out that they could mix water with honey, or damn near anything else organic, and let what they later learned was airborne yeast get to it, and wait awhile, and it would make what they later learned was alcohol. It made them laugh, which they liked, but it then gave them a headache, which made them grumpy, but they could drink more honey-water, to make them laugh again. But it also made some of them belligerent and look for a fight, a hobby that humans seem to enjoy, especially gullible young males trained by the government. Well, sometimes the magic works for good, and sometimes it works for bad.
Fortunately they learned that if you smoke the leaves or flowers of the hemp plant, it makes you laugh, a lot, without the headache or desire to start a fight, which is why that stuff is hated by the DemocanRepublicrats who can only exist if they can keep dumb RepublicratDemocans fighting each other over rhetorical illusions.
After the political leaders of every society got people fighting against each other, thus creating the system of institutional power for the political leaders, they did just that. They fought about anything and everything, damn near all of the time, leaving little time to do anything worthwhile for humans. They most often fought over whether the other guy was allowed to have fun and laugh, which changed the village weather patterns.
Well, these humans, new experiment that they are, down there in the lower 48 American ghetto, back in the 19somethings, tried the old majority mob rule gambit of forcing the minority of honey-water drinkers to only drink tea and socially proper things, and thus stop laughing and enjoying life so much. That gambit lasted until the honey-water drinkers killed enough people, destroyed enough property and drained enough tax money into the police rathole that the tea drinkers decided that maybe their idiot utopian illusions were idiot utopian illusions. They made honey-water legal again.
Well, Alaska is further north, so the routinely failed ideas of lower 48 politicos reach Alaska later, and linger longer in the remote Alaska villages. The majority mob rule gambit is still being played in Alaska villages, in the old name of democracy and all that crap, to force these Alaskans to stop enjoying life so much.
The villages periodically vote for alcohol prohibition, to make a dry village, or vote for alcohol partial prohibition, to make a damp village, or vote for American freedom to make a wet village, which verifies the international opinion that American freedom is all wet anyway.
The partial prohibition, damp village concept is amusing. You can fly alcohol into the village, to your house, by the bottle, case lot, pallet load or Berlin Air Lift program, if not order a Sea Alaska barge load towed up the Yukon River, but you cannot buy alcohol in the village. These humans are a new experiment, and the RepublicratDemocans are still trying to figure out how the Neanderthals got so smart. Maybe the vote comes out as a tie, so they cut out the middle man bar tender and pass the savings on to the honey-water drinker who can think at least a day ahead of his thirst, or half a day if he calls Fairbanks or Anchorage early enough in the morning to get a case on the next bush flight. It is all tax funded anyway. Keep paying your taxes.
But how, might you ask, is it that villages periodically vote themselves wet to be able to drink alcohol and laugh, then vote to go dry to prohibit alcohol to be grumpy, then wet, then dry, then wet, and so forth, as is the case? Why don't they just make up their mind?
Easy to explain. The majority mob in the village votes the village wet, so the honey-water drinkers conveniently get drunk in the bars, and forget to vote on the next election day, so the majority mob tea drinkers vote the village dry, much to the lament of the honey-water drinkers when they emerge from their fog the next morning, so a couple more of the honey-water drinkers are sober on the next election day, and thus think to go vote, and vote the village wet again, ad circulum.
The vote is always close, and the DemocanRepublicrat tea drinkers will never give up on trying to force the other guy to become a narrow minded little unhappy minion slaving away in sobriety to pay taxes and never laugh at anything not sanctioned by the central authority. RepublicratDemocan tea drinkers give tea a bad name, and everything else.
It is worthwhile to note that alcohol causes some male drunks to get belligerent and beat up their girl friends and wives, a too common event in the remote villages without diverse entertainment opportunities. The females cannot figure out how to use Samuel Colt's famous social equalizer, primarily to shoot the RepublicratDemocan federal politicos who are still hindering the convenient transport of hemp leaves which somehow cause the males to laugh and make love to their girl friends and wives, rather than beat them up. Government dolts live only to make people miserable. Who starts the wars, increases taxation, pays incompetent cronies huge salaries to do useless things that no thinking person would ever buy, and tries to make humans stop doing harmless things that humans enjoy doing? Well?
Eventually the Alaska village people will recognize that they are inherently equal, individual adult humans, and that no other humans, regardless of how many votes the majority mob can muster, can successfully make another adult's personal decisions, so the dry and damp village idiot-drill will become a laughable part of history, as is the American prohibition fiasco.
Make sure you check the last vote before you head to the village, least you get arrested for landing at a dry village in a rainstorm. Some of the people who disappear in Alaska were last seen being handcuffed by a State Trooper for tying to harmlessly enjoy life.
Unbeknownst to those idiots of the war mongering US DemocanRepublicrat Regime and their gullible followers, and their ilk throughout human history, but known to you, the reader of these words, and I the writer, Jihad, the perpetual war against the other guy who dares to not live his life as the intellectually absent war mongers demand, saturates the daily struggle for life everywhere. And entirely because of America's leading idiot, identical to the idiots that preceded him, demanding that all humans live their lives as idiots, have elevated Jihad far above what it could have possibly achieved on its own illusional qualities, Jihad has resulted in IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices) now being placed on winter bicycling paths around Fairbanks Alaska, of all places, if you can imagine such an outrage.
These insidious IED's, resultant from the deviant extremes of idle minds of Washington DC training, which should be forced to be productive to give value to the otherwise worthless paper script that provides the privileged lifestyle of the idiot RepublicratDemocan aristocracy printing paper money, consist of a normal width of the larger size, of the two common sizes, of plain old bubble wrap, laid across the bike path, in the winter, covered with a bit of snow.
Before you are reading these words, your mind is already laughing at the pitiably confused mind of the bicyclist who just heard both of his tires blow out, while his bike is still rolling with full tire pressure.
Can you get any more insidious than that? (If you can, let us know right away.)
Somebody notify the Homeland Security Gestapo and the Federal Social Psychological Trauma Healing And Closure Process Administration.
Wine tasting with an Alaska wine expert
From wine dummy to wine expert in the time it takes to read this section.....
The wine fad being still vogue in America, and new wine drinkers being addicted every day, this may facilitate the more rapid advancement of any new wine addict.
First, the balance is perfect in all things, or humans and the universe could not exist, by design. There are no one-sided coins and such phenomena. One cannot successfully give or get something for nothing, or more from less. Therefore, send me a bottle of good wine, so you can successfully receive the knowledge of this section, if you consider it of utility. If you attempt to use this knowledge, without sending me a bottle of good wine, you will fail. Your words will not ring true. Your friends will not tell you that. They will be polite, but they will know. In contrast, if you send me a bottle of good wine, perhaps two, your mind will understand that you paid for the knowledge, trading something for something, and therefore your words and facial expressions will ring true. This knowledge is worth the good wine you send, if you have not already learned it.
What you consider to be the good bottles you send, will enhance your confidence. That confidence will be recognized by those who are also confident of their perceptions of wine. They tend to bring the better bottles of wine to the wine functions.
Wine, like several other socially popular ingestables, is an acquired taste. Your mind was talked into its appreciation of the sensory stimuli from the taste buds, that would have otherwise caused you to spit the stuff out if society had more sense and described the stuff accurately from the outset.
Rhetorical descriptions train your mind to perceive that the sensory data from the taste buds matches the words of the rhetorical descriptions. Speak well of it, and you will learn to appreciate the flavor. Do not speak well of bad wine, or you could get stuck drinking the stuff.
To verify this, just listen to the wine sellers talk about wine, and watch them. They have said it so often, they actually believe it, and it shows.
Memorize a half dozen common descriptions for the taste of wine. Herein I refer only to red wine. The same concept applies for white wine, but the words are a bit different.
Black cherry, current, raspberry, leather, smoke, earth. That is enough. That is the substance of this section. If you learn nothing else, learn those words and suggest them as what you taste in wine.
Then say very little at wine functions. Noticeably listen to what other people say. Occasionally nod your head in agreement. On rare occasion, say, "Yes, that flavor comes through", when a person you prefer to impress mentions a flavor. On even more rare occasion, but certainly once in the evening, suggest one of the above flavors, without elaboration. Any one of them will do for any red wine. Learn the white wine words for white wine. Some of the other people, upon hearing any such word that has been said of wine, will perceive that they taste the same thing. Those who do not, will think that their taste buds are not as refined as yours. Your having said little will enhance your credibility. It is difficult to say too little, and easy to say too much. Too much, is not favorably noticed.
You may not taste a cherry or smoke in any wine in your life, and certainly not those other rhetorical illusions offered by other wine folks who may be people who have likewise only read this section, but the wine is really only the excuse for the gatherings of the wine folks. Whatever is said of the wine is as fleeting as the wine itself. But wine folks often express other knowledge that could actually have some utility.
At or near the conclusion of the wine function, thank everyone for bringing the delightful diversity of wonderful flavors, perhaps raising a glass of wine in a toast. Use the word, flavors, rather than, wine. The wine fad is based on the illusion of tasting all manner of things in wine, except wine. You will also never taste a grape in wine, but everything else, including pencil shavings and eraser, will be tasted in wine.
While it is that easy to be a wine expert, as you are at this moment if you memorized those six flavors and send me those two, or perhaps three bottles of good wine, it requires several wine functions doing the same thing, to be socially recognized as a person who appreciates fine wine, and therefore be invited to the better wine functions where people bring their genuinely good wine for those whom they perceive to genuinely enjoy the flavors of wine.
Certainly there is an endless array of refinements, but you will learn them because you will indeed say little and listen to what other people say, memorizing some of it, because you actually learned this lesson, because you actually sent me those three bottles of good wine.
There are three refined opportunities in the flavor description of a wine, besides the aroma or bouquet (smell) of the stuff. There are the initial or first flavor, the middle flavor and the finish. If somebody disputes your suggestion of a flavor, perhaps a person who actually knows something about wine, suggest that you were referring to the initial flavor, and that the flavor of his perception was indeed what you recognized in the middle flavor, or the finish. If you mention a memorized flavor as that of the initial flavor, or the middle flavor, or the finish, you will be perceived as more advanced in your understanding of the complexities of wine.
While you may do well to swallow some of that stuff people bring for wine, do not disparage any sincere-sounding description, including that of a delightfully rich bodied barn and manure flavor, with a finish of horse aroma in a musty stable, because that describes some of the older vintages of rare French Bordeaux wine of no paltry price, if you are sufficiently fortunate to get it. If you are perceived to enjoy such magnificent wines, the guy who brought it might bring a good bottle next time, but it will certainly be an expensive bottle, and your mentioning having enjoyed it, by name, will enhance your wine stories and thus elevate your wine stature which will facilitate invitations to finer wine functions, which will advance your knowledge vastly beyond this lesson, because you will say little, and listen well.
While most American wines and many others are chemically designed to be optimal ,and to drink ,the day they first reach the wine stores, regardless of the vintage date printed on the label, the tradition of older wines being perceived as better is as convincing to the mind as that red current flavor you taste only after somebody mentions red currents. You cannot go wrong supporting the tradition among those supporting the tradition. Glance at the vintage date on the label, without being noticed. For anything three years old or less, you can mention that it tastes a bit young, but otherwise of good potential. Mention more favorably wines that are four years old or older. Do not worry about wines being too old. You cannot afford them. And they do indeed taste like, ah, mud, but if you are so fortunate to enjoy a 40 year old Bordeaux, compliment it richly, because the guy who brought it probably does not have another one, but is financially successful, so he will bring a good bottle next time.
That is it. You are now well ahead of most other wine drinkers, especially the Americans, just as soon as you select those four bottles of good wine, send them to me, and laugh with the confidence you therefore earned.
More concepts when they are conceived.