“A superb book . . . . Few can duplicate Mr. Scott’s ability to relate a provocative adventure.”The New York Times Book Review
Tracks Across Alaska
A Dog Sled Journey
Atlantic Monthly Press
978-0-87113-470-7 • $12.00 • Paperback • Aug. 1991
Alastair Scott, the Scottish adventurer, is possessed only of chronic wanderlust and the perfectly beguiling pipe dream to dogsled his way across Alaska, following, for the most part, the Iditarod Trail. He arrives in Manley Hot Springs without dogs, sled, or experience. In amazingly short order, he outfits himself, begins to learn the rudiments of mushing, and one day lights out across the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Tracks Across Alaska is the entertaining, humorous, and humble account of Scott’s journey through the Alaskan bush. Scott evokes the awesome magic of the landscape and encounters an extraordinary range of Alaskans, from the Iditarod champion Susan Butcher and other dog sled racers to trappers, Eskimos, a bush priest, the faceless fire and brimstone of KJNP (King Jesus North Pole) radio, and icefisherman on Little Diomede Island three miles from the Soviet Union, and F-15 pilots ever-watchful for encroaching MiGs. Scott’s narrative recreates these characters in all their many lively and distinctive qualities, recording events and dialogue with crisp journalistic skill and an eye for the timeless, the transcendental, and the telling image.
His affection for this dogs adds an extra dimension to his tale. Each dog has its own remarkably unique personality, and the eight together make an unforgettable team. As Scott writes, “When dog sledding is perfect it is one of life’s supreme sensations. It is the spirit and pleasure of travel in highest refinement. Man, animal, earth: a primitive trinity, beautiful in harmony.” Tracks Across Alaska is a travel book like no otherthis is as close as vicarious experience comes to the real thing.