Category Archives: Books
The Commission did not favor use of these trails by trucks or automobiles, declaring in 1914 that it made “no pretense of having built roads adapted for automobile travel….” Continue reading
Ernest de Koven Leffingwell was a joint commander, with Ejnar Mikkelsen, of the 1906-1908 Anglo-American Polar Expedition, which established that, contrary to long-held myths and stories, there was no land north of Alaska.
Self-described as “the forgotten explorer,” as his efforts went largely unrecognized in his own time, Leffingwell is credited for later mapping about 150 miles of the Arctic coastline, between Point Barrow and Herschel Island, along with the adjacent Brooks Range, between 1906 and 1914. Continue reading
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, was published in 1903, and the story is set in the Yukon during the 1890’s Klondike Gold Rush—a period when strong sled dogs were in high demand. Continue reading
There are many strange and unusual stories in the annals of northern sled dog travel, but one of the most fascinating concerns an enigmatic Japanese explorer and adventurer named Jujiro Wada. Born in Japan in the 1870s, the second son of a lower-class samurai warrior, he traveled to the U.S. in 1890 and worked as a cabin boy for the Pacific Steam Whaling Company and at Barrow for the renowned Charlie Brower, manager of the Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Company, which history buffs agree was probably where he learned to handle sled dogs and began learning the Alaska Native languages. Continue reading
‘Alaska and the Klondike, Early Writings and Historic Photographs,’ compiled and edited by Helen Hegener, was published May 10, 2018, and is now available as an Amazon Kindle eBook.
Charting an unknown country, exploring a wondrous land, searching for gold, delivering freight and mail beyond where any roads would reach, these were the exciting topics of books which became northland classics, with titles such as ‘Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled,’ ‘The Land of Tomorrow,’ and ‘Along Alaska’s Great River.’
Wonderful photographs accompany the often colorful writings of Frederick Schwatka, Hudson Stuck, Robert Service, Josiah Edward Spurr, and many others as they tell of adventures, explorations, fortunes won and lost, and the magnificent promise of our great northern lands. Read the words of those intrepid travelers who accepted the challenge of the north and left an indelible mark in their writing of it. Their first-hand observations are invaluable to understanding the history, as when world traveller Frank Carpenter noted while touring the construction of the Alaska Railroad: “I was so fortunate as to see Anchorage in the stump, tent, and shack stage, though it was growing marvelously fast. I give you my notes just as I penned them when I was on the spot, seeing how Uncle Sam’s engineers and executives were putting through their big job.”
Alaskan author Helen Hegener has compiled an engaging journey through the literary history of Alaska and the Klondike, and an introduction to some of the most compelling books ever written about the North.
The Kindle edition of this 2018 book is formatted as a print replica Kindle book, which maintains the rich formatting and layout of the print edition. Order your own copy today for only $5.99 (Kindle MatchBook $2.99). Continue reading
Now on Kindle, this book presents historic photos of dozens of individual roadhouses, and along with the colorful histories are first-hand accounts of those who stayed at the roadhouses while traveling the early trails and roads of Alaska, including the Reverend Samuel Hall Young, Frank G. Carpenter, Judge James Wickersham, Leonhard Seppala, Col. Walter L. Goodwin, and Matilda Clark Buller, who opened a roadhouse near Nome in 1901, at the height of the Nome Gold Rush. From Haly’s Roadhouse at Fort Yukon to the Grandview Roadhouse near Seward, and from the Slana Roadhouse south of Tok to the Deering Roadhouse on Kotzebue Sound, these respected establishments made travel in territorial Alaska possible. Continue reading
Alaskan Sled Dog Tales, by Helen Hegener, shares the important history of sled dogs in Alaska, highlighting the adventures of legendary mushers such as Leonhard Seppala, Scotty Allan, and ‘Iron Man” Johnson, and explaining how sled dogs were an integral part of historic events such as the 1925 Serum Run to Nome. True stories include Alaskan mail carrier Eli Smith’s epic trip to Washington, D.C., Alaska Nellie’s daring rescue of a lost mail carrier, the Rev. Samuel Hall Young’s 1913 trip over the Iditarod Trail, and Territorial Judge James Wickersham’s 1901 dogsled trip down the frozen Yukon River from Eagle to Rampart. Fascinating stories of Alaska’s history as seen from the runners of a dogsled, told by the adventurous souls who made the journeys.
“Musher after musher agrees that no one – racers or officials – knew what to expect.” ~Bill Sherwonit in Iditarod: The Great Race to Nome (Alaska Northwest Books, 1991) The First Iditarod Mushers’ Tales From the 1973 Race On a … Continue reading
Now available in a print replica Kindle edition, Long Hard Trails and Sled Dog Tales is a memoir of sorts, an adventure story to be sure, and a look at what it’s like to follow a winning sled dog team across the Canadian and Alaskan wilderness.
Award-winning author Helen Hegener hitched her wagon to a star: The legendary four-time Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion Lance Mackey, beginning with his bid for a fourth Yukon Quest title in 2008. Lance would go on to make sled dog racing history, and Helen would go on to build a publishing company specializing in the history of Alaska. Continue reading