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Mon Feb 25, 2019, 07:33 AM

Why a wilderness lodge in the middle of nowhere became a magnet for mushers

Located halfway between Cantwell and Paxson on the Denali Highway, The Alpine Creek Lodge has become a popular mushing destination. (Photo by Joey Mendolia)

Along one of the most remote stretches of the stateís road system is a wilderness lodge thatís become thoroughly popular with elite dog-mushers. The spot offers some of the best winter training for long-distance mushers anywhere in Alaska. The fact that thereís also hot food and cold beer, mushers say, just happens to be a bonus.

For a decade, the Alpine Creek Lodge in the middle of the Denali Highway has built a share of its business around being a convenient way station for mushers training their teams along the 135 miles of nearly un-trafficked winter road.

The Alpine Creek Lodge sits at mile 67 of the highway, equidistant from Paxson to the east and Cantwell to the west. From October to May it is technically closed. Which means that during the winter, people transit primarily with sled-dogs or a snowmachine.

During a recent trip to the Alpine Creek Lodge from the Cantwell side, the local borough had recently groomed the trail, scraping it neatly free of drifts or sizable moguls. Besides some small groups of caribou and a half-dozen moose along the way, the hard-packed trail was clear and fast.

Read more: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/02/21/why-a-wilderness-lodge-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-became-a-magnet-for-mushers/

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