I have been reading through a mystery series that is set in Alaska. While the mysteries themselves are nothing spectacular, I have been thoroughly enjoying learning about a slice of life I didn't know much about. The first book is Murder on the Iditarod Trail in this series by Sue Henry. Her books are filled with depictions of life in Alaska, the sport of dog sledding, and history of the Klondike gold rush, which, aside from being able to recite chunks of "The Cremation of Sam McGee," I didn't know a think about. I have been fascinated.
This probably explains why, when I came across the book, Jason's Gold by Will Hobbs, when I was checking out recorded books for our trip last weekend, I grabbed it. It is about a 16 year old boy who goes in search of his brothers who have headed north as part of the Klondike gold rush. There is a lot of history about the time period, but it is well folded within the story and had us all on the edge of our seats. (The reader on the recorded version does a satisfactory job... you just never know when the reader will ruin a really good book.) We all really like it, and with an age range of 6 to adult, this is no small feat.
My new awareness of all things North is probably also why I decided that one of the things we would study this year would be Alaska, the Arctic, and the Antarctic, with a little dog sled racing thrown in for good measure. The summer has been wonky, so I felt as though I'm doing this a little last minute when I sat down yesterday to begin school planning in earnest. (I made a good start yesterday, so I think we're good to start after Labor Day.) In doing some research, I came across the National Park Service's website for the Klondike gold rush. I had no idea that there was a National Historic Park encompassing part of the trail the prospector's took to get to the gold fields. There were a lot of photographs and we were all thrilled to see actual pictures of what we had just listened to. Seeing actual pictures of the Chilkoot Trail, I find it amazing that so many people transported thousands of pounds of supplies over the trail on their backs. Go ahead an take a minute to use the link to look at the pictures. It's gorgeous... particularly if you don't have to hike it carrying 1000 pounds of stuff.
And now I have one more thing to put on my list of things I would love to do. How cool would it be to hike the trail? M. and I were commiserating the other day that there are just too many things to learn and to do to be able to fit them all into one life time. We are absolutely baffled that anyone could be bored... God has made the world such an interesting place.
For now, we'll all have to be content to learn more about it. I hope some of you will as well.