Heidi worked at a coffee shop; Dolly helped her husband, an electrician, run his business.
Dolly introduced Heidi as “my daughter,” and I would come to know the two women as a unit.
The skull was resting on its side, the face angled toward the ground. The Alaska State Troopers arrived by helicopter and salvaged what they could.
Glacier-topped mountains spread across the eastern and southern parts of the peninsula; marshy lowlands cover much of the rest.
From the air, it was easy to see why Alaska attracts certain kinds of people—not just loners and misfits but explorers and adventurers as well, anyone drawn to wild, wide-open spaces.
All of the items were charred to varying degrees, like most everything else in the path of the Funny River Fire, which burned nearly 200,000 acres in the western lowlands of the Kenai Peninsula, a remote corner of this remote part of the world, a place one local described as “the middle of the middle of nowhere.”No one knew at the time that the Funny River bones would set in motion a series of other discoveries, adding a surreal twist to a long and disjointed tale of people lost and found and lost again, and in the process reminding everyone involved of their smallness in this vast land.
Troopers guessed that the bones were those of an adult male, based on the size and style of the boot and the fact that in these circumstances, the deceased is usually a man.
But the condition of the bones made determining the cause of death impossible. He could have tumbled down one of several steep embankments nearby and broken his neck.