Looking into Alaska from the Outside

After a conversation yesterday this has been circling relentlessly in my mind.

Bringing old conversations to mind and the almost impossible to put to words concept of the lifestyle that we here in Alaska and even more so, in Chisana, that is so long gone elsewhere.

Looking into Alaska from the Outside makes it impossible to see.


Alaska is a land of wildness and strength. From the land and waters, the mountains and tundra to the people who live here, Alaska is rugged and beautiful. From the vibrant blue of the sky to the icy pure waters it is all a part of spirit that settles into each person who chooses to live in it’s rugged world.

Master Guide Terry Overly often says “Anchorage is not Alaska anymore.” What he means by that is that Anchorage is so big and crowded that people forget that Alaska is still untamed.

The folks who come to visit Alaska and go see the grand and wonderful sites in Anchorage experience it, in a very diluted and distant way. Not unlike studying history. You can learn a lot, but you can’t experience it without a time machine.

Terry, once called “the Youngest Old-Timer in Alaska” by Alaska newspapers, remembers vividly when Alaska was a Territory and the big draw to come to Anchorage was the Fur Rondy so that they could sell the winter’s fur harvest. He remembers the Territory Police asking him to help them to catch a couple of bank robbers that we eluding them and he remembers how much less time it took to shake hands on a deal instead of having to decipher two reams of legalese.

Looking into Alaska from the Outside 

Yesterday’s conversation was with a caring friend questioning why the Stand for the Man in Black Fundraiser wasn’t going better. She was questioning why someone who was so active and connected to so many people online had not had more of an impact on others.

If each person you are connected with had only contributed $5.00 each, you would be golden by now!” ~ she exclaimed.

It is my own lack; I know this to be true.

I have only yet to find the right words so that you, so that others who do not know us can understand and feel the truth and honor to my words.

How can anyone looking into Chisana from the outside, truly understand?

When I was building this website with the exceptional and wonderful Ameena Gorton as my guide and mentor, we became good friends. Ameena and I spent hours on the phone discussing the how and whys of every piece of the website and how to best share it with others. She came to know me, Terry and Pioneer Outfitters better than we knew ourselves in some ways. But when it came to the details of our lifestyle it was hard even for her, having so much information, to imagine a lifestyle so different as ours is.

Over and over again, the concept of being completely cut off from the outside world was tough to grasp, let alone remember. “What do you do if you run out of something?” “What do you do if you get sick or hurt?” “How in the world do you find the horses if you do not fence them in?” “How do you know if someone in one of your camps needs help?” ~ these were all questions that had to be made real to someone visiting Pioneer Outfitters’ website for the first time.

Stand for the Man in Black is a fundraiser to replace the aircraft lost to fire September 16th, 2013.

The airplane is more than a means of transportation. It is our access to the outside world. It is the only way to get to the doctor or a hospital.

The airplane is survival.

It is the only way to bring in fuel, to run the generators, which keeps the Community’s phone system working as well as the computers.

It is the only way to bring in groceries and supplies, which have been severely depleted relying on the twice-weekly mail plane at an additional .40 cents per pound and the propane, which is used to cook with.

It is the only way to find the range horses with any efficiency and in a timely manner to help one if it is in trouble.

Am I worried? Yes, a little. Not very much, in truth, but the time that passes as I search for the right words causes so much pain and heartache to one who has never done anything but alleviate it for others hurts terribly.

Why am I not worried? I am not as worried as I could be because I have faith.

Faith in us, in you and in my Father in Heaven. I know that this is a very worthy cause and I have faith that others will see that too. I know what kind of good man the Man in Black really is and I have faith that I will find the right words that will allow you to know him too.

I have faith in all the good there is in the world and I know that the world will not leave us standing alone as we Stand for the Man in Black.

These pages on this website will tell you everything about Stand for the Man in Black:

Fundraiser: Stand for the Man in Black

Standing for Survival, Stand for the Man in Black

Stand for the Man in Black FAQs




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