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Bering Coast Expedition 2017

In March, I was able to return to the Bering Coast region of Alaska. It was a great trip getting to snow-mobile the coast and along the historic Iditarod Trail, and visit the village of White Mountain. In 2016 while exploring the region I visited the village of Elim- which is very similar to White Mountain, however White Mountain is set along a river, not right on the coast.

White Mountain is an Iġaluiŋmuit Iñupiat village, with historical influences from and relationships with Kawerak and Yupiaq Eskimos and a population of 190 at the 2010 census.  

White Mountain is located on the west bank of the Fish River, near the head of Golovin Lagoon, on the Seward Peninsula. It is 63 miles east of Nome. The Inupiat fish camp of "Nutchirviq" was located here. The bountiful resources of both the Fish and Niukluk Rivers supported the area's Native populations. White Mountain grew after the influx of prospectors during the gold rush of 1900. The first structure was a warehouse built by miner Charles Lane to store supplies for his claim in the Council District. It was the site of a government-subsidized orphanage, which became an industrial school in 1926. A post office was opened in 1932. The city government was incorporated in 1969. White Mountain is a Kawerak Eskimo village, with historical influences from the gold rush. Subsistence activities are prevalent.

Interestingly, this is the region where the Malamute sled dog was supposedly developed. However, like in Elim there are currently no working sled dog teams in the village.

Bering Coast Expedition 2017

Sue Steinacher in Russia- early 1990's

One of the highlights of the expedition was getting to spend time with Sue Steinacher of Nome. Sue is an amazing woman, with many incredible stories. During the 1990's she traveled regularly back and forth between Alaska and the Soviet Union- by dog team, skin boat, kayak and plane. She survived a plane crash in Russia with a load of sled dogs- one dog that survived was lost for many months in Russia. Amazingly it ended up back in Alaska after a bit of diplomatic shenanigans! I will post links to her stories and adventures soon. We were lucky to spend a day snowmobiling with her in the hills near Nome looking for Musk Ox.

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