2010 Teacher on the Trail Herb Brambley’s Most Memorable Moment

pictures: George Nyce (L), the village of Takotana (R)

photos by Herb Brambley

The Takotna Incident : A Memorable Moment from 2010 Along the Iditarod Trail

I was walking toward the school in Takotna when out of nowhere another human being appeared. No place to run. No alleys to duck into. What do I do? There are no movie theaters, no 7/11’s, no Walmarts.  I did what one usually does in a village in Alaska where options are limited, stopped and talked. So, the conversation went something like this.



“Are you from Takotna?”

“No. just following the race.”

“Me too. I’m the Teacher on the Trail for this year’s race.”

“Where are you from?”

“Well”, he said, “I live in Alaska now, but I’m originally from Pennsylvania.”

“Oh, I’m from Pennsylvania too.”

“Where in PA are you from?”

“I’m from Doylestown”, he said.

“Oh, me too. “

“I was born in the old Doylestown hospital up town,” he said.

“Oh, me too.”

“What’s your name?”

“George Nyce”, he said.

“Oh. Are you related to the Nyces that had the planning mill in Doylestown?”

“Yea”, he said. “That was my dad.”

“You have got to be kidding me! We’ve probably run into each other sometime in the last 50 years. We just didn’t know it. My dad and I used to get lumber and hardware there all the time.”

This was one, and there were many other, memorable moments along the trail. One of the best pieces of advice that I can give a traveler in Alaska as well as someone just meeting a new neighbor for the first time is to find common ground whether it be a common interest, hobby, music, or acquaintance. This draws people together and makes life pleasant and interesting.