Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Alaska’s Museum of the North

©Bert Gildart: The Museum of the North, which is affiliated with the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, has turned out to be one of the most rewarding impromptu visits we have made. It is, as their brochure says, “the premier repository for artifacts and specimens collected in Alaska and a leader in northern natural and cultural history research.”

The museum has many benefactors, to include Bill and Melinda Gates.

As we entered we were greeted by an imposing eight-foot nine-inch mount of a brown bear, and not too far away was a series of panels containing the writing and photography of the late Michio Hoshino. Because of the way in which Michio died, I thought the association appropriate, for the Japanese man  had become internationally famous. He was extraordinarily well liked — and much respected. Every one who met him considered him a friend, to include Janie and me.


Visitors to the Museum of the North are greeted by an 8'9" brown bear that weighed 1,253 pounds.

Though Michio was best known for his photography — and much of it was displayed in the museum  — also displayed was some of his superb writing. Perhaps not too coincidentally, some of it was about bears, for it was a huge brown bear that took Michio’s life in Kamchatka, Russia, in August of 1996.


Here’s that brief sampling, and it ends by referring to Nanook, the monster bear of the North:

The wind that carried away
your grandfather’s last breath
Gave it to a newborn wolf
as its first breath of life.

We are ever reborn in new forms of life. Boy, you must pray for each form of life that you take… just as your grandfather prayed. The words of your prayer are words that we can hear.

We are each an expression of the earth. When you pray for my life you become Nanook. And Nanook becomes man.

Someday we shall meet in the world of ice. And when that happens, it does not matter whether it is I who shall die, or you.



Before leaving the subject of Michio I’d like to say that Janie and I counted the man as a friend, though in truth we had spent but a week with him in Old Crow, Yukon Territory. Still, we kept in touch, and when his photographs were used to round out the story and several photographs I provided National Wildlife about the Gwich’in Indians and their attempts to preserve the Porcupine Caribou herd, I was pleased.


The museum also contains exquisite art depicting, in some cases, epic hunts.

The museum also contained exquisite art. As well, it contained the bones and tusks from the giant mammoth; a special room entitled “The Place Where you Listen,” which features sounds that often seemed to replicate earth actions. It contained other attractions to include a special exhibit of photography entitled “2009: The Last Polar Bear – The Truth About Global Warming.”

We spent almost four hours in the museum, which tells you that for an impromptu visit, Alaska’s Museum of the North must be exceedingly interesting. Janie and I are sure that there are many others out there like us.


Sunrise  and sunset in Fairbanks will be 4:38 and 11:14 respectively.



*Lilies in Glacier National Park


Comments are closed.