Name: David Monson
Residence: Fairbanks, Alaska
Years lived in Alaska: Since May 1977
Current Location: Home in Fairbanks, Alaska
Date of Photo: February 15, 2020
Temperature: – 27 F degrees outside / 68 F inside
Current Weather: Clear and Sunny
Image Description: David Monson sits at his kitchen counter in his home in Fairbanks. A portrait of his late wife, 4-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher, sits on the mantle behind him.
What first brought you to Alaska:
I first came to Alaska, I think, because of the sense of adventure and because I had been in school for such a long time, I didn’t wanna sit behind a desk anymore. I wanted to go out and be free to be anything I want. And Alaska at that time offered the opportunity to. So, I got into a pickup truck and drove all… the Alaska highway 1977. We had, like, I don’t know how many flat tires ’cause it wasn’t paved then. I arrived in Anchorage. There was a one-lane road into Anchorage and I found a place to sleep ’cause it was during the pipeline so there was no, no housing at all available. And, you know, found the place that I was supposed to be. Which is up here.
How has Alaska captured your heart?
Alaska’s captured my heart. I think, because of all the diverse places and people that you can go and things you can do. I have been king crab fishing in Dutch Harbor back when the, there was actually no law enforcement out there. There was no, uh, it was, it was just crab boats. And I was a public defender in Kotzebue, live in a tent all winter long as if that’s a great thing, but the wind blew and I stayed warm. I had my dog team up there. Of course I’ve run the Iditarod. I’ve been on Denali with Susan. I’ve mushed all the way up to, uh, Barrow from Prudhoe Bay before you had, GPS. So we had to kinda guess where Barrow was. I think that kinda thing you can’t do anyplace else. You can’t go someplace for a thousand miles without hitting a fence or a road. But here, you can.
Describe just one of your favorite “Best Days” or “Most memorable experiences” in Alaska.
My most memorable thing in Alaska is impossible to pinpoint. Every day is an adventure. The sun comes up and I see the seabirds over the bow of a crab boat. I see, a windstorm out on Norton Sound, mushing dogs to Nome. I see, the villagers in Barrow coming out to meet me, when they’ve just captured a whale and we’ve gone out and helped them pull it in. I’ve been up on Denali and watching a dog team going across the glacier. Um, it’s, yeah, how can you, you know quantify that. But of course my most memorable days are when my daughters were born.
What in Life do you know for sure?
What I know for sure in life is that every day is a gift. When you wake up in the morning and you’re able to, uh, go out and have some kind of adventure or share it with a person, you just don’t, you’re, you’re not guaranteed that. You’re privileged to be able to have that experience and so, uh, you know, every day I get up and look out the window or look at my friends or just go for a walk. Hey, that’s what it’s all about.