In Alaska where birch trees are plentiful, locals are finding unique ways to use birch sap. Julie Cascio and Valerie Barber are two Alaskans who are exploring creative ways to utilize birch sap, whether it's making syrup or their most recent endeavor, birch soda. They're teaching residents of the Matanuska-Susitna region new tricks to live off their land and the value in doing so.
Through inclimate weather, injuries, and even hallucinations, David Johnston just keeps running. As of 2015, Johnston is the Iditarod Trail Invitational record holder for the 350-mile run from Willow to McGrath. He completed the trek in just four days, one hour, and 36 minutes.
Terri Anne Kilborn recreates Alaska's sweeping scenery one shard of tile at a time in her mosaic studio, Arctic Mermaid. Kilborn has made it her goal to unlock the creativity in others through the medium of mosaics.
Thursday's Outdoor Explorer introduces listeners to water taxis, those important links to some of the best thresholds to Alaska wilderness areas. We thought you might like to see this Indie Alaska episode profiling Mako Haggerty of Homer who is also featured in today's Outdoor Explorer.
Iñupiaq artist Ross Schaeffer spent most of his life hunting, trapping, and fishing around Kotzebue, Alaska. Only in recent years has he transformed his lifestyle into creating artwork and carvings that blend traditional and modern techniques. Using age old materials such as woolly mammoth bone, Ross works on carvings inspired by his culture and natural environment, and encourages young folks to try artwork themselves.
Natasha Price is a crafty person. From knit hats to family dinners, homemade is kind of her thing. One reason for the DIY attitude according to Price is because living in Alaska is expensive enough without going out to eat every night. So after realizing that her family's monthly grocery bill was topping $600, she went on a quest to feed her family on $75 a week. Not an easy task in a state where nearly all food is shipped thousands of miles before reaching consumers.
Hitting a moose while driving is an unfortunate part of living in Alaska. Oscar and Laura Avellaneda Cruz are making the best of it. The couple utilizes locally harvested meat to make the traditional Colombian soup, sancocho.
Fifteen minutes outside of Wasilla, the Little Su River calmly rushes by the small, off-the-grid cabin of Ben Schleifman and Meda DeWitt-Schleifman. The Schleifman family has lived in the cabin for two years and despite the endless list of chores (splitting firewood, hauling fuel, etc.), they have become adept at preparing feasts for friends and family who make the short trek out to their land.
Growing up in Washington DC, Stephanie Cromarty felt completely removed from her Alaska Native heritage. A series of life changes prompted her to pack up her life and move her family to Alaska in order to be more in touch with herself and to reconnect with the culture she missed growing up.
Winter weather doesn't stop Ellie Mitchell from hitting the road (or the trail) on her fat bike. She picked up cycling from her dad, and now she regularly competes against him and other cyclists in the Anchorage winter racing circuit.
For Virgil and Dawn Campbell, making and selling knives is a way of life. The I.R.B.I. ("I'd Rather Be Independent") knife shop on the Seward highway has been in the family for three generations and serves as workshop and a landmark for passerbys from near and far.
Ice, an annoyance for most during the long Alaskan winters, has become the muse for Anchorage artist Speareo Stephens. Stephens stumbled upon ice sculpting when he first arrived in Alaska and has been carving away ever since.
850 pounds of icing, 40 houses of gingerbread and chocolate - Joe Hickel has been creating Marina's Village in the lobby of The Hotel Captain Cook for 35 years. Last year's creation took six days to build and features a new country scene.
About 30 miles outside of Haines, Alaska, Steve Kroschel spends his days taking care of his wolverines, a wolf, a brown bear, moose, and other creatures. With help from his son and friends, Steve has built his sanctuary as a place where others can learn how to live simply and naturally.
When you're biking in Alaska, you can expect things to be a little more intense. Riders in the 49th state deal with constantly changing weather, rough terrain, and unexpected animal encounters. The men and women of Alaska's Downhill Brigade wouldn't have it any other way.
Heather Lende is a writer. She's been a columnist for publications in Alaska and nationwide, published books about life in rural Haines, Alaska, and her third book, Find the Good, will be published Spring 2015
However, the job Lende is most passionate about is as obituary writer for her local paper, the Chilkat Valley News.