Travel Book Review – Alaska Traveler

Oct 03

Travel Book Review – Alaska Traveler

Alaska has been on my bucket list for some time. We may start with a seven-day cruise followed by a trek into Denali National Park, but we’ll eventually go back in our RV and spend more time there. So when I saw Dana Stabenow’s articles for Alaska Traveler in eBook form on Amazon, I had to read it. And it’s FREE on Amazon Kindle!

I didn’t think it was possible, but now I want to go to Alaska even more than before.

Dana Stabenow is an Alaskan born writer. She’s written over 25 books set in Alaska. Alaska Traveler is a compilation of 50 of her best articles about the weird, quirky and beautiful part of the state.

One of my favorite funny stories was about Winterfest, a month-long party held in Talkeetna. This party features the Wilderness Woman’s Contest, a bachelor auction, a Carhartt festival, bazaars and craft fairs and almost anything else they can come up with to help winter move faster.

I loved the description of the Wilderness Woman Contest. Each woman who enters runs an obstacle course – hauling water in buckets, making a sandwich and opening a beer for a bachelor seated nearby, drives a snowmobile to a wood pile and loads wood onto a sled, then drives around to unload the wood and then back to the beginning. If all that wasn’t enough, round three includes fishing for salmon – the fish are fake – shooting three balloons  “ptarmigans”, crawling through a ditch, being surprised by an “animal”, crawling back through the ditch, climbing a tree, crawling through the ditch a third time, grabbing a rifle and shooting the “animal” and then heading home.

All of these things are, of course, what’s expected of an Alaska woman living in “the bush”. There’s apparently a saying there – Men are men, and the women are too.

Alaska travel etiquette was another good article. Tips for enjoying your trip are interspersed with Stabenow’s humor. She discusses traveling on small planes as you get around the area – and don’t lie about your weight. Play it safe and don’t bring any alcohol with you as you never know if the area you’ll be in is wet, damp or dry. If you have a problem with hunting, don’t. Hunting means survival in Alaska. And if you’re a vegetarian, let your hosts or hotel or group know ahead of time. Getting supplies in some parts of Alaska is more than a trip to the corner grocery store.

The beauty of Alaska is described in her article about Winterlake Lodge. If you want adventure in the Alaska Bush, this is the place. Feed the mushing dogs and learn how to mush, ride a snowmobile, and have a gourmet cooking lesson all in the same place. Winterlake Lodge is a checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail, one of the only places open year round. Stabenow’s description of the place – the mountains surrounding the lake, the brilliant blue sky, the peacefulness – and I immediately looked up the website. Yes, it’s still there. And I’m going to go there one day.

I’m still reading the book, soaking in the life and beauty of Alaska. Some places are a given – Denali National Park is at the top of my list. But now a few other places have been added to my Alaska bucket list and when we spend whatever time we have there in our RV it will be with a new appreciation of the people who live there and the communities they’ve made within America’s last frontier.

More Dana Stabenow books are linked below. Read these – you’ll love them. They’re mysteries with a touch a romance. These are affiliate links through Amazon.

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