Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Moose, Drugs and Toilets

Our third day in Alaska began with a bus ride deep into the Denali National Forest.  Our guides were very informative as they explained the terrain and vegetation growing on the permafrost.

Before we got off the bus, we were instructed what to do if we encountered dangerous wildlife.  In a nutshell, you’re supposed to talk to a bear and run from a moose.  It's impossible to out run a bear, so it's best to just try to rationalize with him - just don't look him in the eye. You can't really outrun a moose either, but they have a wide turning radius and if you zig zag around trees and whatnot, you stand a pretty good chance of getting away.

Our guides seem particularly proud of the park’s SST’s  (Sweet Smelling Toilets) which employ some of the latest and greatest toilet technology on earth to maintain a virtually odor free restroom experience. Naturally, since I was walking around with a video camera, I had to get some footage of this modern marvel in the Alaskan wilderness

We learned of the many uses for some of the plants growing wild in the park - plants used for salads, tooth paste, dish soap, hallucinogens and laxatives grew in abundance as did plants to make Vallium, and Absinthe. I'm reluctant to identify which plant are used for which purpose, lest some of my frog-licking and mushroom-eating type friends rape the Alaskan landscape of it's vegetation.

At the turn around point we were treated to stories from an Athabascan guide who interrupted his presentation to chastise me for video taping him. I was actually just gettin’ a shot of the crowd watching him. After his presentation I apologized to him and he explained that someone had once video taped him and put it on youtube and called him an Eskimo. I think Eskimos are cool (literally!), but this guy is rightfully proud of his Athabascan heritage and found it offensive.

It's a long standing Alaskan tourists tradition that if you saw a moose at some point during the day, you have to take a shot of a drink called a "Duck Fart" and flash the international sign for "I saw a moose today."


  1. I still think I'd rather talk to a moose and run from a bear, despite the advice to the contrary... Enjoyed your post, Rick!

  2. You gotta love those SST's. My National Park Bathroom break will never be the same!!

  3. Thanks Liz, I'm with ya. I'm too out of shape to run from a moose. Besides, when you really think about it, it doesn't make sense to confront the carnivore and flee the herbivore - it really should be the other way around.

    Dave & Deb, the bathroom bar has indeed been set high for National Park Potties.

  4. Rick, thanks for visiting my blog. (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame post) Your post was great! I too received a bear warning on my last vacation and even found a shirt listing what to do if you encounter a bear.

    Maybe you should pick one up in case bear watching is on your list too?

    Anyhoodle, good job. And I'll be back.