Alaska's state bird is the willow ptarmigan. It's a member of the grouse family, but to the uneducated eye, at a glance, it looks like a dove. I mention this because when you blast a toeside turn and the resultant rooster tail makes a flock of these fowl erupt in front of you, it's enough to make you think you're in a John Woo movie. Best move is to come out with both guns blazing. Slash first, ask questions later.
There's a chance you may come across a man biking down the Richardson Highway toward Thompson Pass with a fully-grown falcon perched on handlebars. Do not be alarmed. This man is probably trained to rescue and rehabilitate raptors. You know, mommy bird style. I didn't ask if he ever vomited into the young bird's mouth, nor if he taught it how to "sick 'em."
|Mike Basich, dropping. Photo: Jeff Hawe|