High summer is here in middle Alaska. North of Fairbanks, in bright sunshine, alder flycatchers are perched in spruce tops, just arriving from Bolivia and Peru. A few steps away, accompanied by the smell of sulfur, dozens of carrion flies buzz on and above a moose carcass.
Jerry Lavarne did not use nets to catch sharks in Resurrection Bay, as the U.S. Fisheries Bureau suggested. He was clear about this in a feature article in the January 1920 issue of Pacific Fisherman: “At the present, line fishing method is the only one which presents itself as practicable f…
Glacier mice are soft green ovals, about as big as your hand. Each summer day, they creep an inch across the surface of some Alaska glaciers. They roam in groups, sometimes changing direction together like a herd of caribou.
It is a pleasant day for a walk in middle Alaska, with blue sky overhead, and people perhaps looking for something to do outside, with lots of space and sweet-scented summer air around them.
After the final steps of a long run in early March, Greg Finstad took his pulse rate. His heart was at 38 beats per minute. Perfect. The reindeer biologist and marathon runner was in top shape to run this year’s Boston Marathon.
By the fall of 1913 some of Otto Bergstrom’s friends in Seward were concerned. One of his periodic mishaps was due. These events were always good for a sympathetic chuckle, though his friends really liked the man and wished him no harm. But the mysterious anticipation of what might come next…
Every town has one, and in Seward’s early days it was Otto Bergstrom. If there was anyone in town who elicited “schadenfreude,” it was Otto. The German term “schadenfreude” is defined as “pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.” It wasn’t so much pleasure his fellow pio…
The recent discovery of the most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found in Japan suggests the duck-billed creatures once stomped across the Bering Land Bridge.
It was the first weekend in May, and Alaskans were getting out. Emboldened by words from the governor to get outside, or more likely their desires to escape the house, people were driving south on the Richardson Highway from Fairbanks.
On these wet, mushy April days, as returning ducks set their wings for landing at Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks, spring breakup is proceeding as it always has. This year is different, though, noticed in the striking quiet of places that would usually be hopping.
Howard Pass, a rock-stubbled tundra plateau in the western Brooks Range, is one of the lowest points in the mountains that arc across northern Alaska. It is a broad gateway between the great drainages of the Colville and Noatak rivers.
It is strange to be voluntarily stuck in one’s own home; and if it wasn’t for cell phones, Facebook, and FaceTime, this would be a lonely experience for sure. The cats and I have some Interesting, albeit one sided, conversations. The key word in this paragraph is “voluntary.”
One-hundred-two years ago, a strain of influenza virus spread across the globe, eventually reaching Brevig Mission in Alaska. Five days after the flu hit the Seward Peninsula, 72 of the 80 villagers in Brevig Mission were dead.
Eat Right, Bite by Bite! That’s the theme of National Nutrition Month this year. Make March the month to try and focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
On the cusp of Interior Alaska’s springtime, Melinda Webster will not experience it this year. She’ll miss most of summer, too. Webster will soon head north of Earth’s land masses, to spend the next half year cradled in ice.
William Burt was pleased. As the research vessel Oceanus sailed away from Seward in July 2016, his equipment began detecting just the sort of phytoplankton he expected to be floating around the surface of the northern Gulf of Alaska.
Fairbanks’s recent mornings in the minus 30s Fahrenheit may be extending local residents’ winter fatigue, but there are some rewards that come with cold, clear skies.
When two National Hockey League hockey players collide, their pads and body tissues can absorb enough energy to power a 100-watt light bulb for a minute and a half. During the 60 minutes of a hockey game, players can burn 6,000 calories and lose up to 15 pounds.
In cold, dry, subarctic air, a rocket taller than a house tilts northward, awaiting the moment when a person inside a nearby concrete building pushes a button.
By the summer of 2020, a landslide will bury a portion of the road from the Denali National Park entrance to Wonder Lake. That’s the conclusion of Zena Robert, a UAF graduate student who visited the park in summer 2019.
For the 20th straight year, in December 2019 I carried a notebook into the halls of the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Most of those years the conference was in San Francisco (as it was this year).
A father wakes, rolls out of bed, and drops his toes to cold carpet. He grabs a flashlight and shines it outside the window. The thermometer reads 40 below zero, the only point at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales agree. The red liquid within his thermometer is alcohol; mercury freezes…
North of the village of Hughes, in frigid, sluggish water, dim blue light penetrates two feet of lake ice. The ice has a quarter-size hole, maintained by a stream of methane bubbles. Every few minutes, a brutish little fish swims up, turns to sip air, and peels back to the dank.
In spring of 1946, five men stationed at the Scotch Cap lighthouse had reasons to be happy. World War II was over. They had survived. Their lonely Coast Guard assignment on Unimak Island would be over in a few months.
The holidays can be a great time of year to visit with family, share meals and exchange gifts, but it can also be a very stressful time of year. Many people find themselves stressed out and depressed due to all the demands and self-expectations. Below are some helpful tips for simplifying and making your holidays brighter.
On December 15, 1989, a pilot who had flown a 747 passenger jet all the way from Amsterdam was looking forward to landing in Anchorage. There, he would take a short break before continuing to Tokyo.
A hundred years ago this week, on November 19, 1919, The Seward Gateway announced on its front page “WILL ORGANIZE AMERICAN LEGION HERE TOMORROW.” The meeting would be held at 8 p.m. at the town hall, the old Alaska Railroad building on the site of present-day city hall. The newspaper urged …
More than 100 volcanoes pimple the adolescent skin of Alaska, spreading from ear to ear. Some are loud, flamboyant and obnoxious. Others are sneaky and quiet, escaping notice until a pilot sees a gray plume that wasn’t there yesterday.
After reading my column about biologists who once stocked a Southeast Alaska island with wolves, a reader mailed me a book. In it, the author detailed peoples’ attempts to import raccoons, wild pigs and other creatures to Alaska.
It is a pleasant day for a walk in middle Alaska, with blue sky overhead, sandhill cranes croaking above the UAF farm, and the sharp scent of sliced blades of grass, mowed for perhaps the last time in 2019.
With school back in session, work, and trying to keep a household every day, being active may fall toward the bottom of our list. That is until New Year’s resolution time comes around again.
One fall day in Interior Alaska, a lion stalked a ground squirrel that stood at attention on a hillside. The squirrel noticed bending blades of grass, squeaked an alarm call, and then dived into its hole. It curled up in a grassy nest. A few hours later, for reasons unknown, its heart stopped.
Alaska had been a state for one year in 1960 when its department of fish and game conducted a wolf-planting experiment on Coronation Island in southeast Alaska. At the time, the remote 45-square-mile island exposed to the open Pacific had a high density of blacktailed deer and no wolves. That summer, biologists from Fish and Game released two pairs of wolves on the island.
Many people are thinking ahead as vegetables mature in the garden and hunters get ready for the fall hunting season. For some, September is about getting large amounts of food all at once.