“MEN WANTED FOR ALASKA, to build a railroad, apply 526 Jackson St.”
When twenty-one-year-old Bert Ray Libe read these words on a signboard in San Francisco one sunny July morning in 1905, they created visions of hunting adventures and gold-seeking opportunities in the rugged land of the North. His adventurous soul was infused with excitement as he boarded the SS Valencia bound for Seward, Alaska the next morning, along with four hundred forty-two other men, one woman dressed as a man, and a fourteen-year-old boy who jumped from the dock and was grabbed by some of the men to keep him from falling into the bay.
As was the practice in those days, among adventurous single men headed for the Last Frontier, he was given a moniker, “Fuzzy,” because of his thick and unruly hair; this made him feel right at home among the others with names such as Baldy, Slick, Tex, Kentuck, Caribou, and so on.
Thus began Bert’s long love affair with Alaska, which altered the course of his life forever.
See the breathtaking beauty of Alaska through Fuzzy’s eyes while he hunts in the pristine Kenai Mountains, traverses the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys of Southcentral Alaska, and ventures across the snow-covered benches of Denali with four dogs and a sled.
Explore with him in the spring as he searches for gold, up the rivers that drain the mountain glaciers to places where the animals had not yet learned to fear humans.
Connect with another part of history while he hauls supplies and constructs buildings for the Willow Creek Mine at Grubstake Gulch, as it transitions from placer to hydraulic mining in the fall of 1906.
Historical information is interspersed throughout for orientation and to support the authenticity of the stories—the early development of Seward and the building of the Alaska Central Railroad, and geographical information to highlight his various locations. Included are many photos that Bert took during his journey.
“Far beyond a travelogue or family archive, this story crackles with energy and personality, with abundant humor. It will entertain and inform even the most casual reader.” ~Paul H., Editor