Running NorthRunning North
A Yukon Adventure
Autor: Ann Mariah Cook
Mariah Cook found out. Together with her husband, 3-year-old daughter, and 32 purebred Siberian huskies, she moved there from New Hampshire in order to train for the legendary Yukon Quest, the most rigorous sled-dog race in the world.
Alaska is more than just the largest state in the Union; it's also a state of mind, as AnnHer tough, thoughtful memoir, Running North, chronicles the ordeals as well as the rewards of their mushers' life. In the course of their transformation from cheechakos, or greenhorns, to sourdoughs, or seasoned Alaskans, Cook and her husband learned to defend themselves and their dogs from extreme weather, adapted to mushing in Alaskan conditions, and even absorbed the niceties of Yukon social customs (hint: always put on a pot of coffee for visitors). The book ends with a harrowing account of the race, complete with packs of wolves, howling blizzards, minus-60-degree temperatures, and a few narrow escapes. But this is as much Ann's story as it is her husband's, and as a result it goes far beyond the confines of a simple adventure story. Full of intriguing glimpses into sled-dog (and musher) psychology as well as lyrical observations about the beauty of the Yukon landscape, Running North is as much concerned with the who and why of adventure as with its how and when. Leaving behind the comfort and security of Cook's New England life required a multitude of adjustments, from the design of the dogs' booties to a new appreciation of interior decorating, Alaska-style. In the end, however, it was going home that proved hard: "Returning to New Hampshire, I saw my life as a stranger might view it. I could not get used to so many houses, so many neighbors, so many social demands. Everything in my life had been redefined in only seven and a half months."