20/35 Year Look Back

In celebration of 35 years of the Seeley Swan Pathfinder, each week we will run parts of articles that appeared in the issue 35 years ago and 20 years ago. The entire issue will be uploaded to our website seeleylake.com for you to enjoy. We hope you will enjoy the journey with us as we follow our community through the past 35 years as documented by the Pathfinder.

35 years ago: February 19, 1987 issue

Dave Armstrong: 48 years of mushing

Experienced mushers agree: the Governor's Cup 500 sled dog race is more intense than the historic Alaska Iditarod. According to Helena musher, Dave Armstrong, who at 66 is the oldest musher to compete in the grueling Governor's Cup, "It's a tough race, there's no question about that."

"Tough" is a matter of degree when the word is spoken by a man like Armstrong. He first handled sled dogs in 1939, helping to train the teams for Admiral Byrd's historic Antarctic expedition.

Then came World War II. Armstrong was first stationed at the War Dogs Reception and Training Center, near Helena, Montana. From there he went to Newfoundland, where he trained Search and Rescue dogs and prepared for the Allied attack against Norway (which never took place).

"The best team I ever had was that first team," he explained, remembering the days of searching for downed planes through the snow and ice of Newfoundland.

"We worked with the dogs eight hours a day, seven days a week for three months. I could do anything with that team."

Today, more than 40 years after his World War II experience, Armstrong and his wife Alice are still mushing through life with a genuinely contagious spirit of adventure.

In 1947, Alice knit a "dog wool" sweater for Dave and, in 40 years, the sweater has never worn out. Sort of like their marriage. These two partners in life chuckle and grin and encourage each other constantly.

Alice is a nurse and she monitors Dave's diet carefully during his racing competition. Dave also ran the Seeley 200 two weeks ago and the Polebridge 150 early in January. She believes in nutritional balance and frowns upon the candy bars and junk food that many mushers live on during these long-distance races...

To read more of this article and the rest of the issue visit https://www.seeleylake.com/home/customer_files/article_documents/1987-02-19.pdf

Editor's Note: This year's Race to the Sky was dedicated to Armstrong who died at age 100 last spring. He one of the original founders of the Sacajawea Sled Dog Club in the mid 1970s. It is now called Montana Mountain Mushers, which is the only mushing club in Montana.

20 years ago: February 21, 2002 issue

Seniors raising funds for van purchase

The Seeley lake Senior Citizens (SELA SENCI) moved a step closer to obtaining a passenger van with the successful submittal of their Application for a Capitol Assistance Grant. The primary purpose of the van program is to provide transportation for aged persons and persons with physical disability in the Clearwater River Valley area. The van will also be available to other members of the community on a space available basis. the van will provide both scheduled service to regional commercial centers as well as "on demand" service within the Clearwater River Valley.

The senior citizens plan to provide this service by purchasing a special 13 passenger van (small bus) and operating it with volunteer drivers and schedulers. Since such a bus would cost over $50,000 to purchase, the seniors are seeking financial support. Their first step is to apply for the Capitol Assistance Grant, administered by the Montana department of Transportation. This application was submitted on Jan. 30 and will be evaluated in the next three weeks. The Department of Transportation reports receiving 30 such application for the approximately 10 buses they can financially support. Their review and selection process should be complete by mid-March.

To read more of this article and the rest of the issue visit https://www.seeleylake.com/home/customer_files/article_documents/2002-02-21.pdf


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