Category Archives: Sled Dog History

Roadhouse Registers

Travelers of the Trail • Seeking Shelter and A Warm Meal W. A. Dikeman and Charles Peterson reported by Iditarod Nugget as “First Mushers Over the Iditarod Trail: Taking 45 Days from Seward to Otter, they meet several others on the … Continue reading

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Ernest de Koven Leffingwell

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

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The Call of the Wild

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

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Jujiro Wada, Trailblazer

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

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Seppala House Update

The Seppala House Project STILL needs funds for moving and restoration, please donate generously: Continue reading

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Leonard Seppala House

The Leonhard Seppala House Restoration Project is an effort to save what many believe to be a key piece of Alaskan history, the home of a legendary musher, three-time champion of the All Alaska Sweepstakes, who played a central role … Continue reading

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Alaska Nellie

Nellie Neal Lawing, familiar to Alaskans as “Alaska Nellie,” lived a life much larger than most, even by Alaskan standards. She was a fisherman, a hunter, a trapper, a cook and a roadhouse keeper; she fed the crews building the Alaska Railroad, welcomed princes and presidents into her home, guided big game hunters and developed an impressive trophy collection of her own. She mushed a dog team, kept a pet bear cub, became famous for her strawberry pies, and saw a movie made about her adventures. She was one of a kind, an Alaskan original, and she lived life to the fullest. Continue reading

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Kindle Edition: Alaskan Sled Dog Tales

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. 
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Kindle Edition: The First Iditarod

“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

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Kindle Edition: Long Hard Trails

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

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