Bets on Ice

Everyone knew the big day had come. The excitement even awakened the Male-mutes that snooze on the boardwalk before the town's false-front stores. There was open water under the big railroad bridge half a mile upstream; that meant the Tanana River jam was breaking.

The roar could be heard for several miles, as huge cakes of ice broke apart, flapped up, stood on edge, ground into each other, crashed and thundered. Most of the 300 citizens (mostly Indians) of Nenana, Alaska, made for the river, to watch a fragile candy-striped tripod anchored in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!