Riding the Wild Side of Denali: Alaska Adventures with Horses and Huskies

Riding the Wild Side of Denali: Alaska Adventures with Horses and Huskies

by Miki Collins, Julie Collins
     
 

Identical twins Miki and Julie Collins trap, hunt, fish, and garden in Alaska's wilderness just north of Denali National Park in Alaska's vast interior. Their closest companions are loyal sled dogs and Icelandic horses, which eat fish and can withstand northern extremes. Whether taking a 1,900-mile excursion around Alaska by dog sled, defending their huskies from a

Overview

Identical twins Miki and Julie Collins trap, hunt, fish, and garden in Alaska's wilderness just north of Denali National Park in Alaska's vast interior. Their closest companions are loyal sled dogs and Icelandic horses, which eat fish and can withstand northern extremes. Whether taking a 1,900-mile excursion around Alaska by dog sled, defending their huskies from a charging grizzly, or dealing with a panicked horse in an airborne plane, the Collins sisters offer a new perspective on life in the northland. Theirs is an unusual lifestyle even by Alaska standards.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
If you've ever dreamed about homesteading in Alaska, you'll think twice after reading essayist Brice's description of backbreaking labor, isolation, and fear in her detailed portrait of two very different families living off the land. The Hannans, 150 miles from the nearest city in "a wilderness so profound that a case of appendicitis or a cut by an ax could be fatal," live simply in a dugout cabin, supplementing their store-bought provisions with food they grow, find, or hunt. Their two sons are home-schooled, and what little money they need is earned by trapping and seasonal jobs with an oil exploration firm. The Spears are also homesteaders, but they live on the road system. Though they have some modern conveniences, their primitive existence in a loosely organized community brings its own challenges of survival as they struggle to rebuild a church torched by an arsonist and deal with the "gut level hatreds, slander, property disputes, transciency and crime" of a diverse group of neighbors. Brice is at her best when letting the families speak for themselves--her endless commentary about "personality and place" gets tiresome. The twin Collins sisters, on the other hand, make homesteading sound like one big adventure. Sure, they work hard; sure, they've been threatened by grizzly bears, volcanoes, muddy bogs, and frigid weather--but it seems there's nothing these gals can't handle with their trusty sled dogs and Icelandic horses by their side. Raised in the Alaskan wilderness since childhood, they went to college but returned home to hunt, trap, fish, and garden, writing about their experiences in various publications. While their writing lacks the telling details of the Brice book, their tales of adventure are exhilarating. Purchase the Collins book for the sheer fun of it and save Brice for sociology students.--Charlotte L. Glover, Ketchikan P.L., AK

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780945397649
Publisher:
Epicenter Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Edition description:
Revised ed.
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range:
11 Years

Meet the Author

Miki grew up, with her identical twin sister, Julie Collins, in the vast, roadless wilderness north of Denali National Park in Alaska, spending their childhood in a community of roughly thirty people scattered around the shores of a large lake. After seven years of correspondence home schooling, the twin sisters attended high school and college in Fairbanks, studying biology and journalism at the University of Alaska. Then they returned to their family's homestead, where they continue to live a traditional Bush lifestyle, trapping for fur, hunting for meat, fishing, and growing their own produce. Miki once entered the Iditarod, and the sisters bought their first Icelandic horse, Lilja, in 1986.

Julie grew up, with her identical twin sister, Miki Collins, in the vast, roadless wilderness north of Denali National Park in Alaska, spending their childhood in a community of roughly thirty people scattered around the shores of a large lake. After seven years of correspondence home schooling, the twin sisters attended high school and college in Fairbanks, studying biology and journalism at the University of Alaska. Then they returned to their family's homestead, where they continue to live a traditional Bush lifestyle, trapping for fur, hunting for meat, fishing, and growing their own produce. Julie ran the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest, and the sisters bought their first Icelandic horse, Lilja, in 1986.

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