FAIRBANKS — Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway starts in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Beyond there awaits 1,422 miles of wilderness, open road, adventures, mishaps and innumerable untold stories of the lodges — both surviving and vanished — that usher travelers along.
“Beyond Mile Zero: The Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community” is the name of a new book by author Lily Gontard and photographer Mark Kelly, both based in Whitehorse, Yukon. The pair set out to tell as many stories about the lodges and their caretakers as possible.
Gontard and Kelly will host a presentation and book signing at 7 p.m. Thursday at Barnes & Noble, 421 Mehar Ave.
Kelly began photographing the lodges in 2011, and after working with Gontard they published an essay in Geist, a Canadian magazine published quarterly. The short article blossomed into a 239 page book with color and archival photographs.
Their timing couldn’t be better — the book release coincides with the highway’s 75th anniversary. Full of history, anecdotes, profiles and lifestyles, “Beyond Mile Zero” should appeal to anyone who’s driven the highway or plans to drive the highway, though Kelly stressed it’s not a guidebook.
Because it’s the sole land route connecting Alaska to the contiguous United States, “It’s impossible to live up here without having a significant connection to the Alaska Highway,” Kelly said.
In 1955, services along the highway were available every 25 miles, according to the book, and the welcoming hospitality led to the…
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