January 18, 2022 Karen Lewis

Trailbound Alaska Documentary Showcases the Historic Iditarod Trail

Max Romey watches as the sun begins to set in Seward, sharing a glimpse of the watercolor scene he just created.

Max Romey watches as the sun begins to set in Seward, sharing a glimpse of the watercolor scene he just created.

“Trailbound Alaska”, a KMTA grant  funded film is finally ready to debut at the Bear Tooth this spring. The documentary is the brainchild of filmmaker Max Romey.  In the summer of 2020, “Trailbound Alaska”, a grassroots film project, set off to retrace the Iditarod National Historic Trail with a pair of running shoes and a sketchbook. It shares the journey of the “Southern Trek,” an incomplete 120-mile section that travels through the Chugach National Forest. Starting at Mile Zero in Seward, a group of local runners including Denali Strabel, ( a top 5 finisher in the mulitple Mt. Marathon races), Lars Arneson (a competitive runner and paraglider), Eve Van Dommelen (Max’s wife and anti-hunger advocate), and Max Romey adventure over mountain passes, through raging gorges, and impassable terrain, to go from Seward to Girdwood in a four-day push

Eve Van Dommelen films Max Romey, Lars Arneson, and Denali Strabel just before they start the Southern Trek journey at Mile 0 of the Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT) in Seward.

Eve Van Dommelen films Max Romey, Lars Arneson, and Denali Strabel just before they start the Southern Trek journey at Mile 0 of the Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT) in Seward.

“For so many years, I failed to recognize the KMTA corridor beyond it being a highway on my way to Seward for Mount Marathon. But, after spending just a little time exploring, it has opened up an entirely new world for me. Between the history and landscapes and the ways the trails connect the two, you could spend an entire lifetime discovering this area and not get tired of it.” Romey said.

The “Trailbound Alaska” films utilize a combination of documentary-style footage, personal interviews, and watercolor sketches. The Southern Trek film will blend a complex range of topics found within the KMTA corridor to share a big picture of the area while also including personal narratives.

Lars, Max, Denali, and Eric Strabel (Denali's husband) take a quick break along the Primrose Trail, a segment of the INHT.

Lars, Max, Denali, and Eric Strabel (Denali’s husband) take a quick break along the Primrose Trail, a segment of the INHT.

“Trails are a gateway into one of the most interesting and diverse landscapes I have ever experienced. They are a pathway both into an unbelievable setting and history that I had not known about prior. After exploring just a piece of it now, I cannot wait to continue to explore this region.”

“Trailbound Alaska” was accepted and shown at five film festivals and was the keynote at three events, including a presentation to the Alaska Wilderness League. “The interactions, especially the local ones, have been really rewarding and have started some great conversations. One of my favorite parts has been updating people on how the trail is growing and changing with the new bridges and sections that have been added. It’s great to have this little snapshot into where the trails was in 2020 as it will become a fascinating time capsule for years to come, capturing what has changed and what has stayed the same” 

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