Life, Quote

Two hands

I can change the world,
with my own two hands
Make a better place,
with my own two hands
But you got to use,
use your own two hands
Use your own,
use your own two hands

Ben Harper


Tlingit totem pole, Haines, AK

So much unrest in the world…

I wish we all could live together in peace.

Wondering what I can do…

Into the Wild

Before I forget

November 1, I arrived in Jackson, Wyoming with the prospect to become a musher.

What did I know about mushing? Not much…

Last year I saw 30 or so mushers with their dogs on the Iditarod, probably the toughest sled dog race on Earth. I saw them arrive early in the morning, before sunrise, during the day, and in the middle of the night. Calm, hurt, tired, elated, you name it.


Aliy Zirkle arriving at Puntilla Lake.


I saw them cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a frozen lake for the dogs. The team always comes first. Then they dipped their frozen food into the same pot of boiling water to eat last.


Mike Williams Jr. preparing breakfast for champions

I saw some beaten teams arrive hours and days later. Mushers with concussions, hurt dogs…

The long way home

Jim Lanier heading home

Never did it occur to me that I wanted to become a musher, although gliding through a winter wonderland propelled by a group of sled dogs looked appealing.

Sometime in October this year I contemplated what to do this winter. I thought about spending the winter on a warm island.

That did not happen, for whatever reason. Karma? Life is a strange sequence of events, leading us to places that we not even dream of.

I replied to an ad on Coolworks to spend the winter in Wyoming as a dog musher. I had visited Wyoming only a few times before, never enough time to climb in the Tetons, or to make it to Yellowstone. Then, I remember a beautiful climbing trip in the Wind River range. All the more reason to go. Although I had the worst cell connecction during my phone interview I landed a job offer to be a musher leading visitors on day trips into the backcountry of Teton County.

What an experience it has been so far. I was very intimidated in the beginning by the howling, barking, jumping and jerking of these sled dogs. They seem so fragile and small on one hand, but they are powerful and energetic on the other hand. And they have personalities you would not believe it. Pulling a sled is their life purpose. That’s what they are bred for, it’s in their blood. Once they see a sled and some dogs getting hooked up to the gang line they are going „ballistic“. „Take me! Take me!“ they seem to bark all at the same time.


Leaving Puntilla Lake heading for Rainy Pass, the highest point on the Iditarod.


On the Road

Adventures in Skin City

It feels beyond surreal to be immerse myself into the madness of Las Vegas after a year in the bush of Alaska. 107 degrees of scorching heat are simply intolerable. Even walking by the entrances of the casinos delivers a welcome breeze of cool air oozing out of the air-conditioned palaces of game and glitter.

Hordes of women in super short, and breathtakingly tight dresses (ed. leaving it open whose breath they are taking away), and men from chic to shabby parade the Strip, chasing their dreams. Weird plastic containers in the shape of a water pipe filled with gallons of a cold drink seem to be en vogue. Wearing black is still fashionable, despite the heat. Then there are street performers fully dressed as spiderman, the hulk, Kiss and robots. And some dancers, lesser dressed, who have their picture taken with tourists. It’s a zoo.

Flashing billboards and other light effects turn the night into an outdoor spectacle. Loud music is drowned by a dozen of Ferraris roaring down the Strip.

My biggest adventure that night was that I lost my car. Couldn’t find it to save my life. I thought I returned to the parking structure where I had left it, to no avail. A security guard on a mountain bike scanned the building after I had searched for an hour, walking miles and miles in a smelly parking structure. After that I got a ride with another security officer, checking every floor. No luck. They hadn’t towed a car on a long time, maybe stolen? Well a long 3 hour story short. I retraced my steps as well as I could, which isn’t that simple in Vegas, and finally found, exactly where I had left it. Uff. I didn’t get lost in the Alaskan wilderness in a year. In Vegas, I was lost within a day…

Inside Out

First Impressions

Seemingly free

Seemingly free

After 7 months in the wilderness I have returned to a different wilderness with its own rules, dangers, and beauty. I am shocked by the noise and the hassle. Anchorage seems to be designed for cars being divided into blocks of avenues and streets. Wide and noisy. I am using a key to lock my door, like everybody else here… I did not have a key for a year…


Corner Offices

I see lots of signs telling me what I can do and what I can’t, mostly what I can’t. What happened to common sense. I am nobody in this town, anonymously walk I through the streets. I see many faces glued to a flat-screen device. Finally, one thing that is not very different from living at the lodge. There must be happiness radiating from these little devices.




Inside Out

Note to self

It’s best to fix the roof when the sun is shining.

Ryan Howes

A great location and a great day for fixing the roof.

A great location and a great day for fixing the roof.

Amen. I guess this advice does not only apply to home improvement.

I feel lousy today, despite the sunshine. A mixed bag of emotions, and worries…

I know I should live in the moment, be present.

The roof needs fixing. Let’s go.

Inside Out

\\||///_ _ _

“Life is short, break the Rules.
Forgive quickly, kiss slowly.
Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
and never regret anything
that makes you smile.”

Mark Twain

This happened today: A black bear far away, violets at my feet, ice crashing onto the shore, cold gusts, gotta wear that down jacket again, garlic-roasted ptarmigan with potato dumplings and green beans, a game of cribbage, snow flakes, sunshine, two loons, they never come alone, just silly, it’s late, good night.

Splintering ice

Splintering ice