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Moldy Moose and Other Tales from Wrangell, Alaska

Desiree Cooper

Marc Sanchez

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(John Yeager)
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Beth Comstock: We've got the Pacific Ocean on one side of us and gorgeous, green mountains on the other side, because we are smack dab in the Tsongas National Forest, which actually is a rain forest. It's lush and gorgeous and wonderful here.

Desiree Cooper: How do people get around every weekend, because you guys are actually on an island?

We are on an island, but we have paved roads, so we all have our cars. We have one car and two or three boats. We have the one river that's right off of us. The Stikine River is the fastest flowing navigable river in North America, which is our playground. There are two natural hot springs up the Stikine River, so that's a community recreational event.

What's your favorite spot in Wrangell?

My favorite spot is out on our sailboat, with all of our kids around having great fun time on the water.

How much time do you get to be on the water?

Very rarely are we able to get all the kids on the water. We have nine kids. But, we try very hard during the summer to make it at least once a weekend, if not three or four days out of the week that we're spending out there.

What's going on in Wrangell right now? What's the big news?

During this time of the year, we are very much into supporting our high-school basketball team. And, this weekend is the Stikine Sportsman's Association dinner. It's nothing but wild food, such as venison and fish. They've actually had some seal meat and alligator one time.

And I understand there's an award this weekend?

We get the Moldy Moose Award. That's for whomever has embarrassed themselves the most in an outdoor recreation activity.

Is it actually a moldy moose horn?

I think there's moose horns attached to a toilet seat, is what I've heard.

So this weekend you've got this big dinner, with the moose horns and basketball games, but what's a typical weekend in Wrangell like?

Saturday morning the big rush is that you have to get to the grocery store before they run out of milk, because both grocery stores run out of milk by about 11 o'clock in the morning. And then, you can leave it there, and they'll deliver it to your house. And then you have to go do the rummage sale circuit, because that's the social event of Saturday morning.

I have a question about the milk. Why don't they just order more milk so that people don't have to scramble for it?

I would imagine, in the 30 years I've lived here it's always happened. No matter how much milk, it's Wrangell's mindset that: "We've got to get milk. We know they're going to run out."

Maybe they should get the moldy moose horn award for not being able to supply enough milk?

(laughs) That's right.

Well, Beth, I want to thank you for joining us at Weekend America.

Well it was great to talk to you.

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  • By Jessica Graham

    From San Diego, CA, 09/24/2013

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