Author Archives: Helen Hegener

About Helen Hegener

Author and publisher, Northern Light Media.

Project Jukebox: Mushing

“Dog Mushing in Alaska” highlights stories related to the history of dog mushing in Alaska, showcasing historic oral history interviews and incorporating new recordings into the collection. The recordings included in this project represent various aspects of dog mushing, including traditional use, freighting, mail carrying, recreational use, tourism, sled building, trail systems, dog care, and racing.  Continue reading

Posted in Alaska History, Iditarod, News & Information, Sled Dog History, Sled Dog Races | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Across Alaska in 1907-08

In October 1907, his work for the 1906-1908 Anglo-American Polar Expedition completed, Ejnar Mikkelsen set out on a formidable journey home, which would take him west along the Arctic coast from Flaxman Island, where he left Leffingwell to continue doing scientific research and mapping. Mikkelsen’s trail led to Barrow, Nome, Fort Gibbon, Manley Hot Springs, Fairbanks, and then down the Fairbanks-Valdez Trail to Valdez, where he boarded a ship for home. The first part of his journey was made by dogsled, the second half riding in the horse-drawn sledges which travelled the winter trails. Continue reading

Posted in Alaska History, Book Reviews, Books, Explorers, News & Information | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tribute to a Sled Dog

Prologue: Tribute to a Sled Dog, from “Sled dog : and other poems of the North,” by Charles E. Gillham, associate editor of Field & Stream magazine, an outdoor writer and game biologist. In 1934 he transferred to the Canadian Arctic as a Federal waterfowl biologist, and his arctic service resulted in four books, “The Raw North,” “Sled Dog,” “Beyond the Clapping Mountains” and “Medicine Men of Hooper Bay.” He left Alaska in 1945. Continue reading

Posted in Alaska History, Book Reviews, Books, News & Information, Sled Dog History | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Planet Mackey

Lance Mackey’s achievements were such that they caught the attention of two famous astronomers, and they named a minor planet in his honor. Continue reading

Posted in Alaska History, Iditarod, News & Information, Sled Dog History, Sled Dog Races | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sled Dog Mail

Dogs were capable of covering long distances, day or night, and could travel over frozen lakes and rivers and pass through dense forests. By 1901, a network of mail trails throughout Alaska was in use, including a system that followed almost the entire length of the Yukon River. The historic 2,300-mile Iditarod Trail was the main dog trail that carried mail from Seward to Nome. Continue reading

Posted in Alaska History, Gold Rush History, Iditarod, News & Information, Sled Dog History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iditarod National Historic Trail

Nationally, our Historic Trails commemorate major routes of exploration, migration, trade, communications, and military actions that formed America, and only 16 trails in the U.S. have been honored as National Historic Trails. The Iditarod is the only Alaskan trail in the National system, and the only Historic Trail celebrating the indispensable role played by man’s best friend in America’s Last Great Gold Rush. Without dependable sled dogs hauling freight, passengers, mail and more, the history of Alaska and the north country would have been quite different. Continue reading

Posted in Alaska History, Gold Rush History, Iditarod, News & Information, Sled Dog History, Sled Dog Races | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Addison Powell in Valdez

Addison M. Powell was an adventurer, prospector, hunter, and a guide for Captain William R. Abercrombie’s 1898 Copper River Exploring Expedition, one of three military expeditions organized to explore the interior of the new territory of Alaska. His book Trailing and Camping in Alaska, subtitled Ten Years Spent Exploring, Hunting and Prospecting in Alaska – 1898 to 1909, was republished in its entirety by Northern Light Media in September, 2018.  Continue reading

Posted in Alaska History, Book Reviews, Books, Gold Rush History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Gone Addiction

The international award-winning film by Becky Bristow, Dog Gone Addiction, follows three women as they test their personal limits, driving their dog teams through record cold temperatures and over icy mountain passes in the 2007 Yukon Quest, a 1,000-mile sled dog race from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Fairbanks, Alaska. The film focuses on a young Canadian mother, Michelle Phillips; Agata Franczak, a 48-year-old Polish adventurer; and Kelley Griffin, a veteran Alaskan musher. Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, News & Information, Sled Dog Races, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

W. T. Geisman, Photographer

As the official photographer for the Matanuska Colony Project, Geisman documented every aspect of the venture, from the kitchen help aboard the North Star to the colonists’ children playing in the tent city, from officials posing stiffly for portraits to farmers working together to build homes before winter. His photographs portray proud farm wives showing their neat tent kitchens, and a small girl sitting in an Alaskan berry patch grinning at the cameraman. Continue reading

Posted in Alaska History, Books, Colony Barns, Matanuska Colony, Matanuska Valley, News & Information | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1967 Centennial Race

The 1967 race was billed as ‘the biggest event in racing history,’ with an unprecedented purse of $25,000, richer than any purse offered for a sled dog race until then. It attracted mushers from all around Alaska, respected dog drivers such as George Attla, Gareth Wright, Earl Norris, Jerry Riley, Orville Lake, Herbie Nayokpuk, Dick Mackey, and even two champion sprint mushers from Massachusetts: Dr. Roland Lombard and Dr. Charles Belford. Continue reading

Posted in Alaska History, Books, News & Information, Sled Dog History, Sled Dog Races | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment