Two weeks ago, I heard from my housemate, Sydney Bolin, that Loki the Wolfdog was in Seward. Bolin, who works at the Sea Life Center, follows Loki on Instagram and thus recognized Loki, his owner Kelly Lund, Kelly’s girlfriend Ally Coucke, and her dog Bailey who is also a wolfdog. They were having breakfast at the Sea Bean Cafe when they got recognized, something that happens to them regularly in Denver and Portland, and increasingly on the road as well.
Loki is a husky / arctic wolf / malamute mix with a calm demeanor and an owner who has made it his mission to be outside with him as much as possible. They’ve become an Instagram sensation, with over a million followers and sponsorship from outdoor companies, such as GoPro and Outside Magazine. Excitedly, I searched the internet for contact info, reached out to Kelly Lund, Loki’s owner, and learned that I’d just missed them. Their travels had taken them on to Homer, so I invited them to be in contact should they return to Seward in the future.
I scrolled through gorgeous photos of Loki and Lund out in the natural world and hoped that I’d get to connect with them in the coming years. After all, Alaska’s wild lands and wildness can catch hold of people, and sometimes they come back again to soak in the splendor.
On a Wednesday morning, I received an unexpected email from Lund: “We wandered back to Seward and are camping nearby. We’ll be in town late tomorrow morning if you’d like to meet!” The opportunity to meet after all! Yes, I would! Loki, Bailey, Lund and Coucke were traveling in a Toyota Tundra. Lund had added a platform in the truck bed for the dogs to sleep atop, with storage underneath for the couple’s belongings. On top of the truck is a roof top tent, accessed via stairs that reach to the ground. All of this makes for a compact living space for the four, contained within and surrounding the truck’s factory frame.
The Sea Bean Cafe on 4th Avenue had the privilege of playing host to Loki and Lund for the second time in a month. Lund’s parents, Patty and Eric, who reside in Oregon, also road trip travelers, had ended up in Alaska, and the four decided to meet in Seward. I wanted to know what it was like to be them, and how they manage to be on the road.
Loki has thick fur and stunning eyes, one of them brilliant blue. He pairs well with Lund, both of them quietly confident and physically able to do nearly any outdoor activity that calls their name. According to their website, Loki is especially fond of going snowboarding, which puts Lund on a board, and Loki romping through thick powdery snow beside him. I found myself lost in joy while watching the video, the sun glinting off the snow and the dog joyously pouncing along.
“Are you hikers,” I asked Lund. “Oh yes, we try to get out as much as possible. Loki especially likes areas where we can get off trail.” That’s another reason that Alaska’s wide river beds appeal to the travelers. The braided rivers allow for lots of trailess walking and high visibility.
For Lund, traveling with Loki is his job, taking photos and being present at various sporting and outdoor events, as they have gathered quite a following. Ally is less familiar with being on the road and has delighted in being able to do so these two months. “It feels weird to not be working, to understand it’s ok to not have to physically be somewhere.” Ally will be opening a fitness studio later this summer, and it worked out to take off a couple of months in between starting her new business and leaving her former job at an outdoor company.