Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Uncommon Original

Mosquito Lake, Alaska

For most travelers to the frontier state, Alaska towns simply do not deliver on their promise. You see, most people that visit Alaska do so on a cruise ship and the scene that is met once tied up in Juneau, Sitka, Skagway and Ketchikan would make Jack London keel over in his snowshoes. Duty free jewelers and frontier fakery dominate over the anticipated wandering of beaver, moose or bears down Main Street.

To find the real Alaska experience, hang with those who go to Alaska to chase the space rather than those who chase the cash. The emptiness of Alaska’s map still serves as a draw to those who would prefer to live on the fringe. Steve Kroschel is just this type of guy. In choosing Alaska this natural history film-maker combines his way of making a living and his way of simply living.

Kroschel invites travelers to his modest Wildlife Center, a place that features over a dozen species of animals that he incorporates in his filmmaking. While interacting a paw’s length away from wolverines, wolves, grizzlies, moose and caribou Kroschel delicately infuses his visitors with the value of the natural world. The organic carrots and bananas that are passed to the moose and porcupines tell as much about the man, as the tales he tells. This truthful experience reinforces Alaska’s spirit of place as inseparable from one of its uncommon originals.

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