When I read the title of this book, The Wild Side of Alaska, I was immediately reminded of a scene in the movie A Few Good Men. The young military lawyer Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise) is questioning Col. Nathan R. Jessup (Jack Nicholson) about why Private Santiago was to be transferred from Guantanamo. Col. Jessup says, “I felt his life might be in danger once word of the letter got out.” Kaffee asks, “Grave danger?” to which Col. Jessup responds, “Is there another kind?”
Is there another kind of Alaska besides the wild side? After reading Donna Morang’s latest book The Wild Side of Alaska, I am thinking there is only one side and it is definitely wild. This memoir of her time spent in Alaska in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s is chock full of tales of her hunting and fishing adventures while living in one of the most remote parts of America. Encounters with a grizzly bear, a hungry wolf, unbelievably cold temperatures, dangerous white water, flooding – you name it, Donna dealt with it and much more in Alaska.
Donna’s love for adventure in the wilderness of Alaska is evident throughout the book. Reading about her fishing the Katmai and hunting polar bear in the Brooks Range, I can feel her excitement of the moment. I can feel the moment during one hunt when a huge grizzly appeared in front of her and her husband, “so close, all I could see with my scope was hair.” Or the time when Donna was hunting polar bear and with her hand shaking a little, she “took the gun off safety, braced my arm, and tried to pretend it was only target practice.” What hunter hasn’t felt that same excitement, hasn’t tried to block everything else out, hasn’t tried to tell herself, “You can do this. You’ve done this before so many times. This time is no different.” All the while knowing full well that this hunt might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
While reading The Wild Side of Alaska, I found myself thinking these alternating thoughts: “I would love to do that!” and “There is no way I could do that!” It’s nice to read about the realities of an adventurer and the possibilities of my own adventures.
You can find The Wild Side of Alaska, along with her other book Big Backpack – Little World on www.amazon.com.
The Wild Side of Alaska, by Donna Morang