A Favorite Highway
My congratulations to Will Rice for his interesting and informative article on the Denali Highway, “The Wild Road” (May 2011, Page 54). This area holds fond memories for me. My parents owned and operated Paxson Lodge in the ’30s and ’40s. Back then, it was a one-story, log structure on the east side of the Richardson Highway and we lived above a shop across the road. My dad mushed and ran a trap line along Paxson Lake. I remember it as a great place for a young boy to grow. My summer job before college was with the Bureau of Public Roads in Cantwell. One of my tasks was to drive a weekly supply run to a maintenance camp on the Toklat River in McKinley Park. Many times, mine was the only vehicle on the road. The scenery was spectacular, and the wildlife bountiful. During the evenings and weekends I was able to fish for grayling in the Jack River or lake trout at Butte.
In 1967, my bride and I honeymooned at Paxson and along the Denali. We retired in 1997 and followed our children to Colorado but return to Alaska as often as possible. And it has been a must for each trip back to make that journey once again over my favorite highway.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Letter of the Month: Loving Colorful Alaskans
—Marv and Wilma Hardgrove
The Irresistible Road
Our first trip on Denali Highway was in 2008. We took 31⁄2 days to drive the 135 miles, taking 2,700 snapshots, and I can’t help but wonder how many sights we must have missed by traveling at such a speed! We took another trip on the road in 2010 and managed to contain ourselves, taking only 2,600 snapshots. On your next trip to Alaska you must experience Denali Highway!
—Michael and Pat Keim
Ravens at Play
Having lived in Alaska for 27 years, the article “Wild Play”(May 2011, Page 10) by Nick Jans reminded me of my observations of the way ravens play and socialize. I have often seen them wind surf from the roof of the state office building in Anchorage and have watched them gather in circles by the North-South runway at Merrill Field. There were usually two circles of six to eight birds. Occasionally a bird would decide to switch groups and sometimes it was welcomed and other times it would be chased away. Ravens are truly amazing birds!
Fly is a Faker
The photo on pages 20-21 of the July/Aug. 2011 issue is incorrectly identified as a yellow jacket. It is actually a Syrphid fly. This family of flies mimics a lot of other species. Interestingly, this photo shows a vestigal hind wind on the fly’s right side.
The data provided for the Harding Icefield hike in the May issue was incorrect. The correct information is:
Elevation change: 3,000 feet
Distance: 3.85 miles each way
Time: 7 hours
We apologize for the error.