Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Musk Ox Farm, and a Glacier

Musk Ox have no relation to oxen or cattle. They are a distant relative of the goat family. They got their name because they look like oxen and during the rut they pee on vegetation and then rub their faces in it. Thus they have a musky smell. Musk Ox.

OK, so I really didn't get to hug a living Musk Ox bull, nor get nose to nose with a cow. These two were taxidermies of herd members who had gone to the big pasture in the sky and were now in the Musk Ox Farm Museum.

What we did get to do was walk along the fence lines of some huge pastures on a beautiful day hearing about how the Musk Ox was saved from extinction and now has been reintroduced to the wild. This farm has the only domesticated herd in the world. 

We were able to get quite close to many of them along the fences. They are not being killed for meat, although it is said Musk Ox meat is some of the best there is. They are being selectively breed for docility and for qiviut production. Qiviut is the soft under-coat that  is combed out and harvested in spring and early summer. It is highly prized by knitters.

The horns are trimmed to avoid injury to the people who handle them. The two calves in this picture are about two months old.

Four little legs and a hairy rump. This little guy is trying to get a snack, but mom gently kicked him away. Weaning is not a gentle process.

The calves are born with a full qiviut under-coat. They shed it out and regrow a new one by fall. It is hair, not fur.

It was soon time to say good by to these hairy guys and head on down the road. My plan was to stop at the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site and stay in the overlook parking lot. I had found the information in my book that overnight parking was allowed for a small fee, and that there was a nice walk out to an observation deck.

I'm really trying to just go slow and enjoy what we see.

But, this was not to be. Craig could not get the Alfa as level as he wanted it to be. When you have a Norcold refrigerator this is very important. I wouldn't mind a nice, bigger capacity residential like many other Alfa owners have, but Craig loves his Norcold.

So we were unable to stay there, and did not even go on the walk. Fortunately there was a great turnout quite close and we got a nice picture.

We ended up at a park in Glennallen.  Next, we are heading over to Valdez.
Months ago when looking at where to go in Alaska I felt a bit overwhelmed. Knowing it was a good idea to have a reservation for the 4th of July week, I picked Valdez. 

Our daughter and grandsons are coming to Alaska for a week and we will be meeting them in Valdez.  It should be fun.


  1. Strange looking creatures - they look like they are out of a prehistoric diorama. What fun that your daughter and grands will be joining you. Enjoy.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I've never seen musk oxen outside of a zoo. The setting for this farm is very photogenic.

  3. Neat! I'd love to meet a musk ox!

  4. Nice that you got to experience the Muskox and the nn move on down the road for more fun.

  5. Who knew that I would learn so much about musk oxen? Always enjoyable, Merikay!

  6. I've been behind on my blog reading. How cool to see you up in Alaska! RV friends of ours workcamped at Glenallen last year. What a wonderful summer you'll have!


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