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Two in the Far North

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  729 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
This enduring story of life, adventure, and love in Alaska was written by a woman who embraced the remote Alaskan wilderness and became one of its strongest advocates. In this moving testimonial to the preservation of the Arctic wilderness, Mardy Murie writes from her heart about growing up in Fairbanks, becoming the first woman graduate of the University of Alaska, and ma ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Alaska Northwest Books (first published 1957)
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Jul 25, 2011 added it
Shelves: north
I won't rate this book, since I decided not to finish it. I read about halfway, before realizing that nothing was actually happening in the book and the writing was not enough to carry the book on its own. The first part of the book is about the author, age 9, moving to Fairbanks with her family for the first time. The journey and first winter were interesting, but after she gets married and leaves on their "honeymoon", it was just WAY to drawn out for me. Far too many useless details. "then we ...more
Jul 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
a memoir of three different trips to the far north in Alaska. She describes the first trip when she is 8 or 9 and her father is transferred to Fairbanks as a deputy district attorney. They travel by boat to Skagway then by train to Dawson city then down several rivers to Fairbanks. The only other way was by overland dogsled or horse sled in winter which took nine days. Margaret describes what it is like to live in the town that is only 10 years old after the gold rush of 1897-98.

The Second trip
Steven Howes
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When I was in high school and working in a grocery store, I would pour over every new issue of Alaska Magazine and dream about being out in the wilderness chasing caribou, moose and bears, banding birds of all sorts, studying plant life, and living off the land. This book is the author's account of several trips into the Alaska wilderness with her husband, noted wildlife biologist Olaus Murie. The first expedition (the Murie's honeymoon) was in the mid-1920's and involved long river trips (both ...more
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. You gotta hand it to a woman who goes exploring in Alaska by dog sled in her early 20s with her brand new husband at the turn of the century! There is nothing spectacular about the book or her writing, but just the life that Margaret Murie led (and how humble and matter of fact she is about it) makes the book a pleasure to read. Plus, she's so incredibly appreciative of the opportunity she had to experience Alaska the way she did. Really enjoyable read.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
"Two in the Far North" tells the story of the intrepid (though she had no idea this term could be applied to her) Margaret Murie, who traveled with her husband across uncharted Alaska as he worked for the National Geological Service. Murie paints herself as a sort of fly on the wall of her husband's adventures, yet her experiences are often the ones leaving the reader shaking her head. One instance sees Murie ensconced in an overladen raft, hurdling down a rapid-riddled river - - with her infant ...more
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Try and get the 35th Anniversary Edition with added info and foreward.

An all time favorite book!!! Story begins when Margaret moves from Seattle to Alaska when she is 8 yrs old in 1910. Continues thru her education, marriage, honeymoon dogsledding and love of and adventures in the wilderness. SOO MUCH that has been preserved is largely because of their efforts. This book is written from a woman's perspective and yummy wonderful. On the cover it has a label "An American Wilderness Classic" I rate
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This book will make you long for unspoiled nature while at the same time making you glad you don't have to deal with the mosquitos and other difficulties Mardy Murie braved while caring for her husband and family in the wilds of Alaska. This was before modern camping conveniences, and this woman was TOUGH!
I've never once been to Alaska, but I have a dear friend who lives there, and her stories fascinate me, even though she lives in civilization. So I started checking out books from the library about life in the interior, which is how I came to read Braving it: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild, as well as James Campbell's prior book about his cousin, Heimo Korth, The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska's Arctic Wilderness. This ma ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am enthralled by Alaska and although I tried to fit as much exploring in as I could in my two visits, I only saw a small portion of it ... and then both in the month of June. I would love to experience more. Part of the allure is its wildness and part of the reason for its wildness is Mardy Murie, an early environmentalist and the author of this memoir. She, along with her biologist husband, Olaus, worked their entire adult lives advocating for the preservation of the land they loved. Her husb ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it

I rarely never finish a book. Even when I find it incredibly tedious, I push through. I just couldn't do it with this book. I read for an hour or two and would think that I had progressed at least by 10%. When my e-reader said 2% or 3%, I found t incredibly discouraging. It took me 2 weeks to read 50%, and I usually read a book every week. I had to put it down and move on. Some of my friends completed the book (this was a book club pick) and confirmed that not much happens in the second half. So
Jan 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I love the SUBJECT matter of this book. Margaret relates how she and her wildlife biologist husband, met, married and then went to work to help preserve some of Alaska's wilderness.

I still haven't finished it even though I love it. I go back and forth with it, getting into 25 pages, then getting bored with it. However, I loved the subject matter so much, that I bought the interview of her narrated and produced by Harrison Ford and Robert Redford.

So why the hemming and hawing? Well, Mardy (Margar
Jul 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, although I was in Honduras I felt transported to Alaska and it made me want to go there desperately. Also, it made me inspired to complain slightly less about my travails in the least it didn't take weeks by dog sled to get to my sites!
The book is basically a memoir about a woman who grew up in Alaska and then married a field biologist studying caribou and such and tramping around the wilds. She later became important in protecting the area and establishing and defending A
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am a fan of the outdoors and love Alaska. This was an excellent story of what it was like to be true explorers before the days of Gore-Tex, GPS and cell phones.
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's amazing that Margaret Murie marched behind her husband, a wildlife biologist, into the wilds of Alaska and managed not only to endure but to thrive. One of my favorite memoirs.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Like Wallace Stegner, Maurdy Murie is another must read for all living in the great west
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Simply written book by an amazing and inspirational woman - Margaret Murie and her husband were founders of the Wilderness Society and were outdoor enthusiasts, biologists, and wilderness protectors all of their lives. Great story.
Review originally published on my blog here:

First published in 1962, Murie's book is a classic in American wilderness literature. It covers the span of years in Murie's life from 1911 to mid-century.

Murie's writing is evocative, drawing the reader in to a different time in history, introducing us to Alaska's quirky and hardy characters, and impressing upon us the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness as it was nearly a century ago (and which I hope is largely
Julie Garred
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Literally the slowest and most detailed book I've ever read. The first 100 pages were great. Then it became an impossibility to finish.
Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best nature memoirs I've ever read. Murie writes beautifully, bringing life to her memories of characters, friends, travels, animals and the most wonderful mountain valley, the Sheenjek.
Margaret Murie and her biologist husband Olaus were, with a handful of friends, responsible for protecting most of Alaska under The Wilderness Act, and turning for the Sheenjek landscape into a National Arctic Refuge.
Sadly, both are under attack from WY Congress-sub-human Liz Cheney who took part autho
Dec 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Turns out that this was the second time I had read this book but it was so good that the second time through was well worth it. There are some familiar names in the story: William O. Douglas, Dick Proennke (sp?), and a few others. The author was born in Seattle, grew up in Alaska in the 1910's, married biologist Olaus Murie after she graduated from U of Alaska in 1924. Olaus was a field biologist whose studies included caribou migrations way up in the Wrangell Mountains and the now famous Porcup ...more
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Apparently this is the year of reading books about Alaska. It is interesting to read this after reading Shadows on the Koyukuk. It was written in the 60s I think and you can tell, Murie writes about herself as "just a woman" a lot (as in, can't do as much as the men even when she clearly is) and how silly women are, which is pretty off putting to a modern reader. Also every time she talks about native alaskans feels weird and condescendingly racist. Like the bill bryson book I read earlier I'd l ...more
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It was very engaging - when she introduced her teenage life I rooted for her - wanted her to find adventures but stay safe and be loved, and she seems to have done all of that.

"How keen the sensations of a little adventure when you are far in the wilderness with nothing to dilute them! (p.239)"

"So on and on, a thousand things to say, now that the dread weight was lifted. I squeezed the rosy fat bundle in my arms, and the old drowsy dragon blinked an eye and slithered away out of my mind. Breath
Jane Wolfe
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Anyone interested in Alaska and the Arctic Wildlife Refuge would enjoy this book. Murie's story, an understated love song to the wilderness and northern Alaska, spans a good part of the twentieth century. In this edition, each section and chapter begins with a small ink drawing, mostly birds and animals of Alaska, done by Murie's husband, a scientist. Throughout their marriage, the couple traveled and camped the rivers of northern Alaska. He did scientific work as she journaled about their exper ...more
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
This is the story of Margaret ("Mardie") E. Murie, the so-called "Grandmother of the Conservation Movement". She tells us a great deal about her childhood growing up in Seattle and Fairbanks, and about the early years of her marriage to Olaus Murie, in which the two of them traveled throughout Alaska by dog sled as Olaus surveyed Alaskan wildlife. She skims through her later years when she helped establish the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

We are fortunate that Mardie kept a journal throughou
Aug 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Started reading this again in the tent on our trip in Denali. Still found the early chapters charming -- especially the tale of taking that last mail post out from Fairbanks overland (and frozen river) to Valdez just before the railroad opened up. Forgot that Mardie was the second graduate of UAF and the first woman. Also her marriage in the north meeting up with Murie from his field work. Interesting contrast between getting to the field by steamer and then going to the Shenjik (which I have hi ...more
Wendy Feltham
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a special book. Margaret Murie grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska 100 years ago, traveling by dogsleds and horse-drawn sleds before there were railroads and airplanes, camping out by lakes in swarms of mosquitoes, watching caribou... an amazing life! She accompanied her biologist husband as he studied birds and mammals, and later worked to establish the Wilderness Society and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I savored the mundane details of her childhood, the perils of her travels, the joy ...more
The true story of Margaret Murie's life in Alaska, including many of the trips she took into the bush with her husband, a famous naturalist.

I really enjoyed this. It was great to get a first-hand perspective on Fairbanks' early days (I graduated from high school there), and to appreciate how far we've come since then. She makes the trips into the bush seem like ordinary outings, when they're running dogsleds on [somewhat] frozen rivers, and wilderness camping most of the time. As they have chil
Mike  Davis
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The author was married to a naturalist studying the Alaskan wilderness and lived many years there with him. It is typical of wilderness classics in it's incidental and descriptive praise of nature from her diary, but also accepts that hunting is part of man's right to his share. I was tempted to rate this as 3-star, but the ending philosophical comments, made years after her early experiences in the vast wilderness, pushed it to a 4-star. This book might be a bit tedious for non-nature lovers, b ...more
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book has really stayed with me. It's not a page-turner, but it's a decently written memoir by an ordinary Alaskan woman who had the kind of adventures that I want to have before I die. Murie grew up in Fairbanks in the early 20th century, and her description of the city in that era - when it was still primarily a mining town - is fascinating. Then she marries a government biologist and goes off into the Bush on boats and dog sleds. Without ever saying it explicitly, she makes it clear how i ...more
Clearview Library District
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I became fascinated with the Murie's after reading this. It will forever change how you look at Alaska. Margaret travels to Alaska as a young girl and falls in love with it primitive wildness. She meets her future husband, a wildlife biologist, and they fall in love and marry and become crusaders that ultimately save thousands of acres of wilderness. The writing is naive in that it is journal type entries but Mrs. Murie more than captures the majesty and romance of the Yukon in it's heyday in th ...more
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Margaret Thomas "Mardy" Murie (August 18, 1902 – October 19, 2003) was a naturalist, author, adventurer, and conservationist. Dubbed the "Grandmother of the Conservation Movement" by both the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society, she helped in the passage of the Wilderness Act, and was instrumental in creating the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She was the recipient of the Audubon Medal, the J ...more
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