Alaska-bound man’s adventure resonates with Jupiter resident

Graham Strickland and his dog, Colt, are headed for Alaska, where Strickland plans to build a log cabin in Delta Junction. Courtesy photo

Graham Strickland and his dog, Colt, are headed for Alaska, where Strickland plans to build a log cabin in Delta Junction. Courtesy photo

Graham Strickland’s story of exodus from Palm Beach Gardens to build a log cabin in Alaska struck a chord with many readers, including a Jupiter man who undertook a similar odyssey 40 years ago.

This note comes from Robert Swartzbaugh, who isn’t finished writing his own adventure:

“I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and went to college at F.S.U. and Colorado State University. After 5 years of college, I decided to head west and buy some land and build  a log cabin. With 4 friends who had the same dreams, we did just that. To this day I have the same 92 acres in the Teton mountains, and the same log cabin. On January 23, 1977, an article in The Ft. Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel written by Ray Boetel came out about our journey. It is titled The Native Sons. I believe you would enjoy reading it. My wife and I are currently building a much larger log home on the property with a totally self sufficient “off the grid” solar system. I have made my living for the last 40 years shaping and re-building golf courses. It is always important for people to believe that with hard work dreams do come true.”

This photo shows the cabin Robert Swartzbaugh and friends built in the Teton mountains. He still has the property and has expanded the cabin since then.

This photo shows the cabin Robert Swartzbaugh and friends built in the Teton mountains 40 years ago. He still owns the property and with his wife is almost finished transforming it into his “dream” cabin. Courtesy photo

West Palm Beach resident  and Army veteran Wayne Sahlbach has fond memories of the roughly 18 months he was stationed at Fort Greely in Delta Junction, Alaska, where Strickland is headed. It was 1965.

He rafted in a small creek that was part of the base and water-skied for the first time. The “lifers,” men who had been there for awhile, liked to pull pranks on newbies like him.

One time, he walked out of headquarters where he worked to go back to barracks, leaving the controller inside. He “literally walked into a herd of buffalo,” 10 to 15 of them grazing in a grassy area. He couldn’t open the door to get back inside.

“Everybody in post headquarters was looking out the window at me,” Sahlbach, a former courier for the Palm Beach Post recalled.

He and some friends passed through Denali, six million acres of wild land, and saw mountain goats walking the ledges.

“I know exactly where he’s going, and he’s going to love it,” Sahlbach said of Strickland.

 

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