We can’t always travel to the places on our bucket list. But we can go there with books! I started the Fifty States Of Fiction challenge with the aim of reading one book from every state in the country. Each week in 2017 I’ll be here to talk about a different state, share with you some geographical fun facts, and explore how a novel, play, or personal narrative captures the essence of the area. Want to follow along? Check out this free printable calendar I’ve created just for you! Let’s get started!
Today’s State: Alaska
Nickname: The Last Frontier
Motto: “North to the Future”
Bird: Willow ptarmigan
Entered the union in: 1959
Now, pack your bags everybody. We’re about to explore Alaska as Jon Krakauer portrays it in Into The Wild.
In April of 1992 Christopher Johnson McCandless changed his name, did away with his material possessions, and set out to live a transcendental life in the North American wilderness. The allure of the Alaskan bush pulled him in. Starting out as an average hitchhiker, “Alex” bummed a ride a hundred miles out of Fairbanks along Parks Highway to the foothills of the Alaska Range. When he arrived at the rough, overgrown Stampede Trail, he set his eyes on his trek, planning to reach the land just north of Mt. McKinley and live off the land along the way. Sunken in the gully between the lesser hills of the Outer Range, the Stampede Trail boasts an extremely difficult terrain of boggy thickets and rolling lowlands. During his springtime voyage, Alex was forced to wade through the melting waters of the Teklanika River. Days later he discovers the abandoned bus beside the Sushana River that would provide him his final comforts of civilized shelter. Here he lived off of spruce grouse, small squirrels, rose hips, and lingonberries until he died, four months later without having encountered another living human soul. Whether you regard Christopher McCandless as a courageous, noble spirit looking to explore an alternative to the industrialized, modern world or an aimless nutcase devoted to the ideas of abandonment and slow decay, his trek into the Alaskan wilderness is a story of adventure, adversary, and absolutely chilling intrigue.
Have you read any other books set in Alaska? Have you traveled there yourself? Make sure to let me know what The Last Frontier means to you in the comments! Check back here next week to explore Arizona through literature.
And remember, if you want to keep up with our schedule as we travel the country, you can download my free printable calendar.
See you all next week!