My father, Richard H. Collins, was station manager for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at a bush villiage called Lake Minchumina. When I was 8 he retired, and we moved from FAA housing across the lake into a homestead my Mom had bought before she married Dad. During the first few years living there we spent the summers working on a new cabin, and the winters traveling in an old school bus which my Dad had converted into a mobile home.
My father has a cabin in the southern Brooks Range (on the Kobuk River) near a Eskimo villiage called Shungnak. Up through the time I was about 12 we took frequent summer vacations there.
This made for a pretty idilic childhood. Of course since there was no school in Minchumina I took correspondence courses up through high school. The summer before I was to start 9th grade we spent in Fairbanks, building a house. Then, during the winters, we moved into town and my sisters and I went to a 'normal' school until we graduated high school.
After I got out of high school I took a year off and went trapping for a year. A year after I got out of college I spent 4 months out in the bush near Talkeetna building a cabin.
I have always been interested in self-sufficiency. As such I have often had large gardens (see hobbies). I also did a lot of berry picking (my personal record is 5 gallons of blue berries in one day) and hunting (I have gotten a moose every year I've tried).
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This page last messed with spring 1999.