MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from Yukon Alone by John Balzar, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Yukon Alone

The World's Toughest Adventure Race

by John Balzar

Yukon Alone by John Balzar X
Yukon Alone by John Balzar
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2000, 301 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2001, 320 pages

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Print Excerpt


"Let's see, what else is there?" she laughs. "Cookies? I made some cookies once. Did I mention the cookie part?"

Two years ago she moved from the bush in Bettles to the woodsy Fairbanks suburb of Two Rivers. Well, it is a suburb in concept anyway. Two Rivers is a collection of cabins on dirt roads in the hills north of town, an area where trail dogs probably outnumber people five or ten to one. The want ads in the local newspaper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, have a special category, No. 102 Dog Mushing. At the local convenience store, Skip's Cache, I stopped for a six-pack once and the cashier gave me the current road conditions: caution, the last motorist through reported a cow moose grazing on the shoulder about a mile ahead.

Here Aliy established Northwind kennels with Louden. Last year, as an unknown rookie in the Quest, Louden impressed everyone with his sixth-place finish. This year, with thirty-eight dogs in their yard, both Jerry and Aliy have entered. To bring in money, Aliy went back to waitressing and working part-time construction. In her spare time she went beaver trapping to stock some high-fat trail meat for dog snacks. She also dissected the carcass of a beef calf that had been a local teenager's 4-H project. In exchange for her report on the cause of death ("I am a biologist, you know") Aliy kept the meat for dog food. Her family thinks her life is terrific; her dad sent her a 40-below sleeping bag for the race and her grandparents paid her $800 entry fee.

Do you know where your daughter is tonight? Yes, out among the wolves and the stars at 20 below, with the sky dancing smoky green: the otherworldly light show of the aurora borealis. Athabascans say the aurora lights the trail to heaven. Why not? What better home for God than up in those shivering firmaments of pure energy? This father's daughter is at the doorstep of a cathedral that few can even imagine. Where is yours?

Copyright © 2000 John Balzar

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