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Posted by in Blog on Apr 22, 2015 .

By Michael W. Williams

 

Across a wintery, steel grey Cook Inlet Mt. Susitna looms on the Anchorage skyline.  This  mountain is affectionately known to many  locals today as Sleeping Lady.  What is this Sleeping Lady all about?  There are a number of Anchorage businesses that take their name from Sleeping Lady.  Prints, coffee mugs, books and other assorted items depicting Sleeping Lady  abound.

 

In recent times Mt. Susitna inspired the story of Sleeping Lady.  A story evolved over the last 40 odd years.  It leads us to believe the Mountain is the outline of a woman from a tribe of giant people. Covered in her blanket of...

Posted by in Blog on Apr 23, 2015 .

By Michael W. Williams

originally published May 2003 in Grit Magazine

It is May 17th, the 4 to 5 feet of ice that encased Trail Lake through the winter finally yields to the sun’s unending attack.  Floatplanes absent for the last 6 months start to appear once again and become the only mode of transportation to the outside world.

 

A pair of sandhill cranes returned to the southeast marsh a few days earlier.  They will raise a single offspring after a very noisy courtship.  The silence of late spring is broken by sea gulls returning to nest on the south shore of the lake.  They are followed by over 40 other species of birds,...

Posted by in Blog on Apr 23, 2015 .

By Michael W. Williams

 

The Piper PA-14 ski plane sets down gracefully onto the winter airstrip and taxis to the front door of our Bush Alaskan homestead.  We recognize the plane and pilot.  It’s Carl, a frequent visitor in the winter.  In the back seat though, is an unexpected passenger.  Out steps Santa Claus with a sack full of presents.  Our four children are surprised and excited.  Santa has come to visit in a most untraditional mode of transport.  Untraditional maybe, but not unusual for a family that depends on small planes the way most families depend on their minivan.

 

In 1993 I was wrapping up a 20-year military...

Posted by in Blog on Apr 23, 2015 .

By Michael W. Williams

 

If Alaska’s official sport is dog mushing, then what part of Alaska is considered the Mecca of dog mushing?  Taking a team across thin ice may be easier and less dangerous than answering that question.  Upon what criteria would one base a decision?  Is it simply the largest concentration of mushers in one area, or does it include other factors such as community support, trails, or number of mushing events?  This question might best be left to debate by mushing scholars.

 

I do know that over the past five years the lower Susitna drainage, the west Susitna area of southcentral Alaska in particular,...

Posted by in Blog on Apr 23, 2015 .

By Michael W. Williams

Originally published December 2000 in The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

 

              As the sport of snowmachining grows in Alaska so does the potential for conflict.  The media is full of stories about banning snowmachines from one area or another, lawsuits to open or close an area, conflict between user groups and mishaps involving snowmachines.  I believe this negative attention is sensationalized at times, but we all know dirty laundry sells in our society.  On the other hand, legitimate criticism can be healthy for the industry and sport.  It has potential to ultimately make it stronger, more balanced...

Posted by in Blog on Apr 23, 2015 .

By Lee A. Williams

Originally published February 2001, Alaska Trapper Magazine

             

It was a brisk January afternoon, the kind with no sounds, flat light and an evening snow shower looming.  My dad and I were breaking in trail because of a heavy snowfall the night before.  On our snowshoes we packed down a hill before attempting to summit it on snowmachine.  At the bottom of the slope we crossed a drainage that was being used by a family of otters as a highway.  Halfway up the steep incline we heard a faint sound off in the distance.  Barks, yips, and howls emanated from up the stream that the drainage ran into.  Minutes...

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 .

By Michael W. Williams

Originally published January 2001, in Making Tracks

The Newsletter of the Anchorage Snowmobile Club

 

              After a 20 year Army career my family and I were at a crossroads, pursue a longtime dream or continue what had become a comfortable existence.  The pursuit of a dream and a new life became our destiny.  We have spent the last 7 years living in the bush at the base of Mt. Susitna.  We purchased a piece of property there with some rundown cabins on it and called it EagleSong.  Slowly, sometimes painfully slow, we have been building and developing EagleSong Lodge.

              A...