This past weekend may have been the busiest of the winter. What with Native Youth Olympics, the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race, the Arctic Winter Games, and who can forget the KDLL Annual Membership Party?
Well, on Saturday out at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge visitors center, a mushing guide turned author demonstrated his Siberian mushing set up, and talked about his new book, "An Alaskan Adventure: Tales of a Musher."
"Came to Alaska originally, I'd say, September 9, 2002. Got in at 11 o'clock at night, and the next day I go to buy supplies. I had limited grub stake money, and I run into the legendary musher Charlie Boulding, known as "The Easyrider," said author Bill Laughing-Bear. "And we talked a long time. He encouraged me to live a simple life, to stay away from the bottle, and pick up dogs if I wanted to see the real Alaska. And that planted a seed in me.")
Laughing Bear says that seed is what grew into the adventures and stories contained in his new memoir.
"The story takes place starting there in Fairbanks. And it's about trying to live simply, some of the events that have transpired," he said. "You know, encounters with moose, killer mosquitoes, bears breaking windows in the cabin you live in, and the relationship I had with my best friends, my dogs, and so forth, and learning to become a musher."
One of the stories Laughing Bear tells is of his first experience, as a new Alaskan, with an earthquake. He laughs, but it's probably funnier now than it was then.
"In 2009, we had the biggest earthquake in the Interior of Alaska in 150 to hit Fairbanks. It wasn't as bad as the '64 earthquake that hit Anchorage, but it was, especially for experiencing your first one. Roads split open, vehicles flipped over. The cabin I was in was shaking so bad, it was up on pilings, that it threw me to the floor and I crawled outside," Laughing-Bear said. "And then I had to run away from my truck, because my truck was bouncing towards me, you know. (laughs) It was something for me, kind of like out of a horror film, you know?"
Laughing- Bear, who says he likes to live simply and in connection with nature, wanted to write an inspirational book accessible to everyone.
"What I tried to do, and desired to do, was I wanted to create a rated-G book that anybody could read (and) would not be offensive," Laughing-Bear said. "And would inspire, especially young people, to get away from sitting in front of the television or video game - now I'm not saying that's bad - and actually go out and get brave and go out and see the creation and enjoy it and show it respect, and appreciate that. And hopefully chase a dream like I did. Because I'm still living a dream that's marvelous, and I haven't looked back."
"An Alaskan Adventure: Tales of a Musher," is available through Rock Island Books, and says Laughing-Bear, soon on Amazon.