A true ‘Lanterne rouge’ in 2014 Iditarod

This year came to a close in style with three rookie women working together (and competing) for our favorite prize in sport – the Red Lantern.


This year the lantern goes to Marcelle Fressineau (iditarod link and personal site).  Marcelle raced with three other rookies (Lisbet Norris, Monica Zappa and Elliot Anderson) on the last days.  Elliot Anderson scratched leaving the three ladies to race to Nome.

Marcelle accepted with a gracious “Thank You”.  And thanks to you Marcella Fressineau for competing hard and finishing the last great race!

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The winners are in, but the race is not over

God loves a working man.  And we all love the brave mushers on the Iditarod trail.  Winning takes skill and courage and lucky and determination and all the ideals of a champion.  Winning is great.  But, I feel drawn to the finishers.  Those willing to stick it out.  Complete the race.  Make the end of the trail. See it thru and deliver that serum to Nome.

I guess I’m thinking about this because The old gang all pulled out and it’s all rookies in line for the Red Lantern.  Last year there were a few vets in the pack and I imagined the stories told and memories relived of past Iditarod Glory.  But this year is all rookies.

Lisbet Norris (r) and Elliot Anderson (r) could take home the red lantern.  These two have different backgrounds, but both young and both rookies.

cheer them on!  I’m glad to know they are out there and I hope they make it safe to Nome with stories to tell.


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Iditarod time again!

I know I’m alittle late, but I stumbled on this video and it really shows what a musher has to endure.

4-time Iditarod champion, Jeff King, shares his helmet cam action as he traverses Rainy Pass.  It’s brutal.  The trail is icy or bare dirt.  The dogs don’t listen and he is constantly falling of the sled.

He is a master musher, I wonder how the rookies handled it.  Yikes!  It’s no wonder my favorite musher, Jim Lanier (no relation) dropped out early.  No fun on this year’s trail.

To everyone still on the trail, good luck and godspeed!

Check out the standings at Iditarod.com

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A Day in AK – Valdez Backcountry skiing and snowboarding

A Day in AK on Vimeo on Vimeo

via A Day in AK on Vimeo.

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Valdez Guide Dies in Heliskiing Incident near Haines – ktuu.com

Valdez Guide Dies in Heliskiing Incident near Haines – ktuu.com.


It’s a sad day for the Valdez heliski and backcountry guide community.

Christian Cabanilla has died in the backcountry of Southeast Alaska.  He was a beloved member of the family of Heliski operators and guides in Alaska and made his home in Valdez.

More links about the incident and his life:
Heli-Ski Guide Dies in Alaska

Dream job: AK heli pilot and guide

Christian’s Facebook Page

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Visit Versatile Juneau

Versatile Juneau

City Seal of Juneau - pretty cool, huh?

City Seal of Juneau – pretty cool, huh?

The Alaskan city of Juneau has to be one of the most versatile vacation destinations in the world, and with the city boundaries spanning an area greater than some entire states, it’s hardly surprising. In fact, it’s the city’s ability to adapt to meet the requirements of individual travelers that makes it one of the most popular choices for group travel in Alaska. Unlike destinations where the attractions are primarily based on historical aspects, or places where tourists flock for extreme sports, Juneau encompasses a little bit of everything, catering perfectly to groups where personal interests vary between people.

One of the best ways for groups to experience everything that Juneau has to offer is by taking a cruise vacation. Why? Because the ships that sail the Juneau, Sitka, and Glacier Bay region offer Alaska cruise excursions that are second to none. With an activities menu available to all passengers, it’s so quick to see what the city has to offer, and easy to book with the help of the onboard excursions team. Not only does this save time by removing the need to check out and choose activities on shore, it also offers the best value for money.

In terms of activities, Juneau is definitely a place of extremes – of polar opposites. On one side of the spectrum are the adrenaline-fuelled sports that take place above the forested mountains, through the snowy slopes, and on the icy glaciers, whereas the other end focuses on gaining a more relaxed insight into the city, and Alaska itself, by looking at how the state’s history has influenced the Alaska that is seen today. The how and the why of the state, essentially. Of course, there’s also a wide range of entertainments and activities in between the two, so there really is a very broad target traveler.

On the extreme end of the scale, one of the activities most unique to Juneau is glacier hiking. There are only a few opportunities worldwide to partake in this particular type of trek, and Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier provides such an occasion. Starting in an area so remote that helicopter transportation is required, hikers begin a strenuous walk over rocks, under trees, and through shallow creeks to reach the base of the glacier, before donning crampons and walking along the icy surface. It’s certainly not for the fainthearted, but those who do complete the trek are rewarded with an up-close-and-personal glacier experience. It acts as a terrific group bonding session!

For those that like something a little more relaxed, and yet still something they can enjoy with other members of their group, many cruise lines offer an opportunity to dine on local wild salmon, considered to be some of the best in the world – especially the Copper River salmon and Yukon River salmon. For this reason, roughly 80 percent of all salmon eaten across the United States is caught in Alaska, and the salmon industry has been a major player in the economy since the 1920s. The dining experience comes complete with a chance to visit the picturesque Salmon Creek Waterfalls, just outside the city limits.

Travelers wanting to enjoy the great outdoors with friends should certainly consider group travel to Juneau, especially via cruise ship as the ease with which groups, and individuals, can see the sights, take part in the activities, and learn the history is ideal. The cruise ships themselves have evolved greatly since the early 1900s, and now cater to varying tastes in much the same way as Alaska does. From fast food eateries to celebrity chef restaurants, bowling to rock climbing, and swimming to surfing, no one will be left out.

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Alaska inventor turns wood stove heat into electricity | Alaska Dispatch

Looking at the warmth radiating from his friend’s wood stove pipe, Alaskan Theo Graber had an idea. What if someone could take that heat and convert it into electricity? What if there was a way the noisy generator rumbling outside his friend’s cabin could be a thing of the past?

via Alaska inventor turns wood stove heat into electricity | Alaska Dispatch.

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Dean Cummings | The Steep Life | Big Mountain Skiing tips | How to ski in the backcountry | Skiing Magazine

meet Cummings and learn about The Steep Life Protocols

via Dean Cummings | The Steep Life | Big Mountain Skiing tips | How to ski in the backcountry | Skiing Magazine.

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Devon & Melissa’s Tiny House in Alaska – YouTube

Devon & Melissa’s Tiny House in Alaska – YouTube.


Before the tiny house movement, there was the alaskan cabin.  Enjoy!

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Gold Panning In Alaska

Gold Panning In Alaska

Although the official Alaska Gold Rush lasted just three years between 1896 and 1899, gold panning has remained one of the most popular activities throughout Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories, both recreationally and professionally. There’s still believed to be plenty of gold left to discover within the rivers and streams of Alaska, with new sources being flushed from the rocks over time, and many die-hard prospectors make a living from gold panning. Recreational panners may not be quite so lucky, but for amateurs the thrill is often in the adventure and the possibilities, rather than the find.

Of course, in the professional world where there’s big bucks at stake, gold panning is quite a serious business, so many of the more promising areas can be explored by permit only. Fortunately, there are still a number of gold-filled waters where recreational panners are welcome, including Hatcher Pass, Caribou Creek, and Petersville. For travelers arriving into Anchorage, either by an Alaska cruise tour to the Port of Anchorage, or by airplane into Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Petersville is perhaps the most accessible, located just 145 miles north of the city.

Gold panning, rather than the more involved gold mining, is a gentle introduction to prospecting, and is an excellent activity for families, especially those with young children who will relish the excitement of finding real gold. It’s also a relatively inexpensive way to entertain the kids, as all a recreational panner really needs is a small shovel and a pan. Pans are widely available in traditional mining regions, but today many are made from plastic as a way to reduce costs. For the authentic panning experience, it’s worth paying more for a metal pan, just like the prospectors used back in the 1800s. Of course, those who decide to take the activity further will need more equipment, including a sluice pan, a grizzly pan, magnifiers and tweezers, but these items really aren’t needed for a beginners’ expedition.

Although the Alaska panning experience in itself is a fascinating adventure, and helps travelers to learn about some of the most important history of the state, what many want to know is what they’ll find lurking underneath the waters. Unfortunately for both panning amateurs and mining pros, the world’s largest gold nugget is unlikely to be found in Alaska. Although there is much debate over what can truly be considered the largest nugget in the world, the contenders come from California, Australia, and Brazil, and Alaska isn’t particularly known for producing notably large specimens. Instead, gold flakes are much more common in the state, and there’s a wealth of precious and semi-precious stones to be found, too.

Gold panning in Alaska is an activity that suits nearly everybody, even those who aren’t too keen on donning rubber boots and wading through streams can enhance their Alaska experience through panning. There are many gold-focused tours available throughout Alaska, and while some take visitors to privately owned land to try to strike it rich, others take travelers to professional mining spots to watch prospectors at work, seeing the stages of the process from start to finish. It really is worth a go, however. And even if you come away empty-handed, you can always rely on a gift shop to offer up some small pieces of real Alaskan gold for sale.

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