Teachers of the Ancient Ways

Michael Kayutok Unloading Supply Barge

As a boy I fantasized about living with Indians (Native Americans) before their world had been radically changed by European domination. My fantasies became reality in the early 1960s when my wife and I moved to Alaska. We worked as teachers in remote Native villages in the northern reaches of the fledgling state. We found…

The Bush People

Wilderness Family Alatna R.

The Bush People John McPhee wrote a masterpiece book, Coming Into the Country, describing a loose assembly of individuals living in isolated cabin sites scattered along the banks of the Yukon River downstream of the community of Eagle. These mostly young men and women arrived in Eagle over a period of several years in the…

Wings Over Wild


Wings Over Wild Some people say that the Alaska state bird is actually a Piper Aircraft Super Cub.  There is a good likelihood that anyone who has lived in Alaska for more than a couple of years has been up in a small airplane.   The term, “air taxi”, literally means a flying taxicab used to…

Winter Wonderings


The Brooks Range adorns the brow of Alaska stretching in a shallow arc from east to west entirely north of the arctic circle. The jewels of this spiked crown include Boreal Mountain and Frigid Crags, the Arregich Peaks and Mt. Iggigpak. For nine months of the year it is a true winter wilderness of austere…

The Little Voices

Hiking team approaching Hidden Valley

Robert Service’s poem,“The Lure of the Little Voices,” poignantly describes the attraction of early gold prospectors to the wilds of the Yukon and Alaska.  Over a span of some four decades Barbara, and I shared that addiction. We explored vast stretches of Alaska’s wilderness where evidence of human presence was rare. Where such sign existed…

Shopping for Moose


Moose meat was a major part of our diet while living in the Koyukuk and Kobuk River villages.  Each fall for fifteen years we would harvest a bull, ideally a two-year old, but we generally took whatever was available and legal.  The last thing we wanted was an old bull with massive antlers, but sometimes…

A Winter Expedition Into Yukon – Charley Rivers National Preserve


On March 8, 1983, I flew the National Park Service Cessna 185 from Bettles to Eagle.  The plane carried a folding toboggan, winter camping gear and seven of our strongest huskies.  The purpose of the trip was to take part in a winter exploration expedition into the heart of the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.  Other…