Mirage in the Arctic: Explorations in Unknown Alaska: The Astounding 1907 Mikkelsen Expedition

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One of the last great northern sledging expeditions as well as a first-hand account of the Alaska gold rush.
"Mikkelsen's description of his 2,500-mile journey in Mirage in the Arctic has a rollicking, novelistic quality: now our hero has a hairsbreadth escape from a rising tide, now he's entrusted with a $40,000 bag of gold, now he finds the frozen corpses of some prospectors, and now he meets a proverbial pistol-packin' mama. Such incidents almost make you forget that his epic...

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2005 Trade paperback Illustrated. New. No dust jacket as issued. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 240 p. Contains: Illustrations. Arctic Adventure. Audience: General/trade.

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The Lyons Press, 08/01/2005, Paperback, Brand New!

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Overview

One of the last great northern sledging expeditions as well as a first-hand account of the Alaska gold rush.
"Mikkelsen's description of his 2,500-mile journey in Mirage in the Arctic has a rollicking, novelistic quality: now our hero has a hairsbreadth escape from a rising tide, now he's entrusted with a $40,000 bag of gold, now he finds the frozen corpses of some prospectors, and now he meets a proverbial pistol-packin' mama. Such incidents almost make you forget that his epic trip was scarcely less demanding than a traverse of the Greenland Ice Cap or a crossing of the Sahara.
His devil-may-care attitude toward danger suggests an Indiana Jones of the Arctic. And like his Hollywood counterpart, Mikkelsen felt most at home when he was farthest from home."-from the Introduction Ejnar Mikkelsen, born in 1880, was one of the foremost Arctic explorers of the twentieth century. As a person who thrived on risk, he often seems like a prototype for today's devotees of "extreme adventure." He died in 1971 at the age of ninety.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592286713
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Series: Arctic Adventure
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ejnar Mikkelsen, born in Denmark in 1880, was a self-described out-of-work explorer shackled by what he called the “fettering ties of civilization.” While not a household name even in his native land, he is considered a significant explorer who thrived on risk. He died in 1970.

Lawrence Millman has written for Smithsonian, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Islands, Summit, and many other magazines. His books include Our Like Will Not Be There Again, Hero Jesse, A Kayak Full of Ghosts, Wolverine Creates the World, The Wrong-Handed Man, and Last Places. When not on the road, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt

EXCERPT, from Chapter I: The Difficulties of Starting An Expedition:

"Everything seems so easy and straightforward when you are young and a born optimist, and when your mind is filled with exciting plans which you will risk much—-no, everything, to carry out.
Naturally, in your youthful arrogance you imagine that you are being thoroughly realistic and practical and have carefully considered all the difficulties which could obstruct the road to your goal. One way or another these difficulties become so small or—-in imagination—-so easy to overcome, the elements of uncertainty so unimportant, that the impetuous course of your thoughts towards the great goal is not impeded by anything so humdrum as the possibility of encountering obstacles. They, of course, can easily be dealt with when they come, if they ever do.
So it was in 1905 with my plans to find the unknown land which theoretically existed in the ice far to the north of Alaska.
The first and greatest unknown was of course the question whether this land I had never seen even existed. Time after time I went through all the arguments advanced, all the alleged proofs of the existence of that unknown land, and to me they seemed most plausible. In my opinion there were really no grounds for doubting that the land was there in the Arctic Ocean—-quite the contrary. The land must be there, since two ships' crews have definitely stated that they had seen distant mountains rising high above the great masses of ice of the Beaufort Sea, far north of Camden Bay.
But all the same there was a tiny doubt. Could you put any reliance in a report of this kind coming from whalers, people who have had so many strange experiences on the high seas and related so many strange occurences, that even sailors themselves sometimes doubt their veracity? And they were the source here. "

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS:
I. The Difficulties of Starting an Expedition, II. The Hunt for 150,000 Crowns, III. The Outlook Brightens, IV. Fair Weather and Storm, V. Northwards along the Alaskan Coast, VI. Joys and Sorrows of the Polar Winter, VII. In the Pack-Ice, VIII. Early Summer on the Pack-Ice, IX. Summer on the Alaskan Coast, X. A Bitter Decision, XI. The Long, Long Journey, XII. Conflict Between Old and New, XIII. The Worst is Over, XIV. In Gold-Digger Country, XV. The Endless Trail, XVI. Gold, XVII. The Hectic Life of the Gold Country, XVIII. The End of the Road, XIX. Forty Years On.

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