ALASKA: First Year on the Susitna

50° above today. Heard a robin for sure this morning. Clear, sunny, fleecy clouds. Planted head lettuce, cucumbers, honeydew melons in flats and tins. Asters pushing up from the soil. Washed today. What a lot of snow-melting it takes.

—Bertha Donaldson's Diary

The days of dazzling brightness were coming at last. From the Susitna River valley, 100 miles north of Anchorage, the settlers could see breathtaking Mount McKinley and the whole Alaska range. Moose tracks appeared in the slushy tops of the frozen lakes, and there were beaver tracks and the tracks of the beaver trappers. Running water...

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