The May news is brought to you from the home office in Bethel, after a trip through Montana and Yellowstone on the return from Minnesota. That trip revealed that Montana is still a good place to visit. Stops were made at Bozeman, Livingston, and Chico before heading into the park. This trip involved the entire Angstman clan, the first time such an endeavor was attempted with the current group, which numbered ten. That number climbed to 16 when Rich and Jen Gannon and clan showed up for a couple of days. Sunset took one of the better videos in the park.
It shows the top of the falls on the Yellowstone river in spectacular fashion. The overlook is so close to the water that one observer, Andy, questioned whether it was safe to stand there. At the moment he was standing in the middle of a park that could volcanically explode at any moment as it has done many times in the past. Safety, it seems, is a relative term.
Yellowstone has changed a lot over the years. The number of lodges in the park has gone up dramatically, to accommodate the increased number of visitors. There are a limited number of roads so the traffic can be an issue, but the thermal features and wildlife are worth the trip. The wildlife is so accustomed to people that they seem to pay no attention to the many folks nearby. In fact the elk on the farm in Minnesota seem to be more wary of strangers than the Yellowstone elk. Here are the best photos from the park.
And here are a couple of shots from the farm.The fawn came within an inch of getting run over by the tractor while mowing. The tractor and mower went completely over the deer, and it never moved, which is their survival instinct when newborn. They have little scent, and their mother leaves them alone during much of the day. Movement would attract predators. This video of a baby squirrel is a first sighting of one so young.
Speaking of youngsters, several folks sent baby moose for the mandatory moose feature of the news. Here are a couple that made the cut. One of a new mother with brand new twins, the other of twins just a few days old, sent by Rachel Fairbanks. But remember, moose do grow up. One glass of wine per day is sort of the standard at the Angstman house. This artwork explains how that works.
Earlier this year ALO news remembered early mushing stories about Rudy Demoski who died in January. Another musher cast from the same mold, Eep Anderson of McGrath, died in May. Eep was an early Kuskokwim 300 racer and also finished one place ahead of a 25th place bumbling Bethel rookie in the 1979 Iditarod. Eep was a classic rural Alaskan. His Native corporation recognized this and posted a short video about his life which is well worth watching. It details a life style of mining, mushing, trapping and rural living that is rapidly disappearing. There are lots of stories about Eep, but one features both Eep and Rudy and is especially appropriate. In the mid 1980's, McGrath hosted a dog race called the Mail Trail 202, and the Dog Farm sent a team to compete. The race started in McGrath, with a 4 hour layover in Takotna during the race. In a race of that length, there was little stopping except for the mandatory. In the middle of the night, at about 35 degrees below zero, a Super Cub flew over the Dog Farm team, leading the race, at about 300 feet. The plane had no illumination which was not normal. It showed up clearly, however, under a full moon. The plane was following the race trail which was easily visible from the sky, a historic mining trail put in by caterpillar through the woods. The plane quickly flew out of sight. It was announced before the race that Race Marshall Rudy Demoski would be flown along the trail by Eep Anderson in his Cub, so it was assumed they were in the Cub that flew over.
Upon arrival in Takotna, Rudy and Eep were nowhere to be seen. It was discussed that perhaps they had gone on to McGrath because of the cold temps. A couple hours later they showed up at the checkpoint, on foot. The story went something like this: Eep's airplane had no working electrical system, which accounted for the lack of lights as they passed by. In addition, the plane was a bit short on gas, and apparently the engine quit shortly after passing the lead team a few miles out of Takonta. Rudy said that when the plane went silent, it was still about 300 feet above the trees. As luck would have it there was a bit of a clearing underneath, and the Cub was on skis. Eep calmly stated "We must be out of gas, guess we better land." It was not clear to Rudy what other options might have been considered before that choice was selected. Eep expertly landed the Cub in the clearing and the two hoofed it into the village, where gas was secured. Eep returned on a snow machine to retrieve his plane, and Rudy opted to stay in the checkpoint.
Some might question the wisdom of that whole operation, but others would note that Eep was the kind of guy who could pull it off. He knew the country well, was accustomed to very cold weather, and handled a Cub better than anyone around. In fact, many folks in McGrath claimed he was the best unlicensed pilot in Alaska.
Eep was a pleasure to race with. Always upbeat and energetic, he came close to winning the Iditarod, finishing in the top ten four times including second in 1983. He also finished in the top ten in the K300 all three years he raced it. He was a long time friend and client of ALO.
Angstman Law Office was closed for the first time in its 40 year history the last week of May for the family trip. A sign on the door and a message on the answering machine referred folks to the cell phone number which worked only part time in Montana. It was a bit hectic getting caught up upon return but it seems no clients had emergencies that arose during that week. Thanks to the many callers for the their patience.
This page has more wildlife than anything else with good reason. The world's wildlife is under great threat from many sources, yet they remain a welcome respite from human activity. Here are two examples of why animals continue to dominate this page. One rabbit whose luck changed in a hurry, and three bears having a good time.