The trailhead at the Eagle River Nature Center opens the pathway to spring. As you set out down the trail, the sweet scent of fresh green pines baking in the sun is strong. It’s a unique alpine announcement that spring is in the air.
Alaska is a runner’s paradise with access to endless trails, long hours of daylight, and terrain to suit anyone's skill level from novice to elite competitor. Summer is just getting started. With summer sun, everyone from first-time runners to those elite competitors are lacing up their running shoes.
We all welcome summertime and the chance to get outdoors. At the same time, the variety of activities being offered bring with it the stress of fitting everything into our busy schedules. Salmon are running, the wilderness bids us to venture out and explore, the backyard hammock beckons on a sunny evening, and summer sports are in full sway.
Several cruise ships will dock this year in Anchorage, disgorging thousands of passengers onto the streets for a quick glimpse of the 49th State. Others tie up at Seward or Whittier, where passengers are taken by bus or train to the big city. Some Alaska tours are limited to Southeast, round-tripping from Vancouver or Seattle.
Since time immemorial—well, since 1867 anyway—Alaskans have boasted that their home is bigger than Texas. It was a feather our neighbors in the Lower 48 did not like having plucked from their Stetsons. Texans did live under six flags while Alaskans flew but four. That, of course, presumes that our indigenous forebears did not raise national banners. Neither the Aztecs nor the Alaska Natives were asked permission for the invading foreigners to cross their borders, but that’s not part of this discussion.
Mother’s Day: Celebration or reflection? Mother’s Day is coming up, and mothers everywhere are waking up in fear. Caught between adorable starry-eyed children with the breakfast in bed, and fear of the disaster they have left in their wake. Ok. It’s not that bad. But it’s funny to think about, right? This issue of the ECHO Magazine shows motherhood from a few different perspectives. My children are older now, so the disasters are somewhat limited. We are able to avoid breakfast in bed by making reservations at Bear Mountain Grill and eating our fill at the buffet. Other than that, Mother’s Day is kind of like any other day at my house; there is fighting, cooking and cleaning.
Even with the highest veteran population (per capita) in the country, Alaska was the last state in the union to have a museum dedicated to honoring veterans and Alaska's contributions to military history. It was only through ten years of blood, sweat, and many tears of passionate volunteers that the Alaska Veterans Museum opened its doors on April 17th, 2011. Still operating as a 100% volunteer organization, their mission is simple; honor Alaska’s veterans' by recording and sharing their stories; educate visitors about Alaska’s military history through exhibits and displays; and inspire our community to support our Active Duty, Guard and Reserve, and our veterans.
From June 3 to 7, 1942, Japanese forces attacked Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, bombing Dutch Harbor on the island of Unalaska and invading the islands of Attu and Kiska. Attu’s radio operator, Charles Foster Jones, died during the invasion and his wife Etta, the island’s schoolteacher, taken prisoner. The Aleut (Unangan) residents of Attu were taken to Japan for the duration of the war. Of the 40 captives, 16 (40%) died from disease and starvation.
When he joined the Army in December of 1947, Alaska was the last place in the world this writer wanted to be sent. In fact, each of the 12 times he went through processing, he responded to the question of his preference of overseas assignments with, “Anyplace but Alaska.” You see, he was born and raised in Alabama. Just the thought of below-freezing weather was enough to make him shiver.