"Hudson Stuck's classic tale of winter travel in Alaska. One of the most detailed and realistic portraits of pioneer Alaska ever written. Stuck had a gift for words, and his accounts of the places he saw and the people he met are memorable." -- Terrence Cole...
Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled
The following, (of direct interest to the family), has been quoted directly from the book.
Between 1905 and 1910 Hudson Stuck, Episcopal archdeacon of the Yukon, took a series of winter journeys to visit the missions and native parishes in his district. Traveling with a guide and a team of huskies and malamutes, he covered an immense area, from the Canadian border to Nome on the Seward Peninsula, and from well above the Arctic Circle to the Kuskokwim in the south. With a keen eye he describes here the terrain, the flora and fauna, the northern lights and rarer atmospheric phenomena of the Far North, the many kinds of snow and ice and the bitter cold where death is a constant companion, and the society of the region: erstwhile boom towns of the gold rush and the Indian and Eskimo settlements. In his introduction to the Bison Book edition Terrence Cole discusses the life of the English clergyman and the importance of "Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled, originally published in 1914 and long out of print. Cole is the editor of the Alaska Journal and author of a number of books about the Far North.
During the winter journey of 1910-1911, Stuck had these words..."I was anxious that Walter's education should proceed. This boy had been with me for two years, winter and summer, and it was a great pleasure to witness his gracious development of body, mind, and character. Clean-limbed, smooth-skinned, slender, and supple, his Indian blood showing chiefly in a slight swarth of complexion and aquilinity of feature, he now approached his twentieth year and began to gain the strength of his manhood and to give promise of more than the average stature and physical power. With only one full year's schooling behind him, the year before he came to me, his active intelligence had made such quick use of it that there was good foundation to build upon; and our desultory lessons in camp--reading aloud, writing from dictation, geography and history in such snippets as circumstances permitted--were eagerly made the most of, and his mental horizon broadened continually. Until his sixteenth year he had lived amongst the Indians almost exclusively and had little English and could not read nor write. He was adept in all wilderness arts. An axe, a rifle, a flaying knife, a skin needle with its sinew thread--with all these he was at home; he could construct a sled or a pair of snow-shoes, going to the woods for his birch, drying it and steaming it and bending it; and could pitch camp with all the native comforts and amenities as quickly as anybody I ever saw. He spoke the naked truth, and was so gently and unobtrusive in manner that he was a welcome guest at the table of any mission we visited. Miss Farthing at Nenana had laid her mark deep upon him in the one year he was with her...
...The days were lengthening out now, the weather growing mild, although a keen, cold, down-river breeze was rarely absent, and travel began to be pleasant and camping no hardship. We preferred camping, on several scores, when the day's work had not been too arduous, chief amongst them being that it gave more opportunity and privacy for Walter's schooling. He was reading 'Treasure Island' aloud, and I was getting as great pleasure from renewing as he from beginning an acquaintance with that prince of all pirate stories."
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