John Gaule started to plow open hockey rinks and skating trails on Trail Lake back in the 1980’s. The community rink near Moose Pass has grown considerably since then. One thing that hasn’t changed is that the trails and rinks on Trail Lake are 100% volunteer driven.
Today the rink is plowed with a pickup truck, rather than a 4-wheeler, and there are now loaner skates and hockey sticks available for anyone to use, but the feel of the community hub is still the driving force. There can be as many as 50 people skating at any given time, and the skating trails can be a mile long. These days, Gaule even has a skate sharpener, which he charges $5/ pair, with the money going into rink maintenance.
The snow plowing begins when there is 6 inches of ice, and the ice is usually thick enough for skating to run through most of March.
This coming weekend will have both the hockey rink and skating trails open to anyone who wants to lace up a pair.
Aniakchak National Monument is the least visited location with the National Park System, but back in the day, Aniakchak had one rough resident.
A footprint recently found is the first evidence that Tyrannosaurus rex once roamed in the area that is now part of Katmai National Park.
Park Rangers asked, “If you had seen this while exploring Aniakchak, would you have recognized it as a print?” Going by the photo, I would have to say “Not likely”, but I’ll remain optimistic.
The Monument surrounds the Aniakchak Volcano, which had a devastating eruption 3400 years ago. The Aniakchak caldera is 10 miles across and averages 500 meters deep. Within the crater is Surprise Lake, which is the source of the Aniakchak River.
Besides the lake, Vent Mountain is the other prominent feature within the crater. Vent Mountain is the source of the most recent eruption from Aniakchak, which took place in 1931.
A bear cub recently tested positive for Avian Flu. The cub was seen struggling to keep up with its mother and siblings and Alaska Fish & Game officials euthanized the bear cub. Tests came back positive for a highly contagious strain known as “high-path AI.”
The bear cub, found in Bartlett Cove, within Glacier Bay National Park, would have died within hours if it had not been put down, according to wildlife officials. Since the virus does not jump from bear to bear, it is believed the cub scavenged a sick or dead bird.
One female black bear in Quebec had previously been diagnosed with Avian Influenza. In Alaska, two foxes, have tested positive.
There was a break in at a Soldotna, Alaska residence recently. The culprit broke a basement window to gain entry.
An area youth was caught red-hoofed at the scene. Witness accounts varied. One neighbor woman claimed the youth fell into the window well, and couldn’t get back out, so the youth broke the window. “What else was the poor thing to do? Bellow endlessly into the night air? Who knows what that could have brought in from the shadows…”
Another neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution, would have none of that argument. “Don’t let those doe-eyes fool you,” he stated. “The very same hoodlum was seen eating pumpkins right from that front porch there just a few weeks ago. I think the intruder smelled the fresh baked pie that was inside, and there was no holding the scoundrel back. These brutes think they own the woods around here; it was just a matter of time. No sooner do I clear the snow from the walk, and they are using my walkway like it is their own personal trail. They leave these huge piles of pellets behind, and when they freeze and the snowblower hits them, it’s like grape shot flying out the chute. These are rough times.”
Soldotna firefighters and U.S. Fish & Wildlife officers responded to the scene and escorted the intruder out of the residence. By all accounts, the alleged trespasser offered little to no resistance to law enforcement.
According to a Fish & Wildlife spokesperson, the youth was released to the backyard, when the homeowner refused to press charges. When asked how the homeowner was dealing with the stressful situation, the spokesperson responded, “The homeowners are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances, although they are both a bit miffed that they have to bake another pumpkin pie this close to Thanksgiving.”
A private train from the Copper River & Northwestern Railway stable, in front of the Chitina Depot, September 1914. It makes me wonder if J.P. Morgan, a lead investor in the Alaska Syndicate, ever visited Kennecott Mines.
Today, Kennecott is still famous for its copper ore, and Chitina is famous for its “Where the Hell is Chitina?” bumper stickers. And salmon: Chitina is the gateway for Interior Alaska dip netting.
The only head on collision in Alaska Railroad history happened on this date in 1943. The northbound freight train coming up from Seward met the southbound passenger train on its way to Whittier at 8:45 am at Bootleggers Cove, just west of downtown Anchorage. Minor injuries were reported, but no deaths. One rail car partially overturned, but the rest remained on the tracks.
During Prohibition, Anchorage had some strict liquor laws. The new town of Anchorage, was a bit of a pet project for then President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson sectioned off the city in grids and auctioned the parcels off to residents. One catch: If anyone who purchased parcels were caught with alcohol, the parcels would be repossessed. The rail line ran between the new residential area and the tidal flats. There was a cove below the rail and between Chester Creek and Ship Creek that was a favorite landing spot for bootleggers and their booty, because it was out of sight of the authorities. Thus the renaming of the cove to Bootleggers Cove.