• Ken Ilgunas

Walden on Wheels, the photographed edition

In my last post, for the fifth anniversary of my first book, I did a little reflecting on the sales history of Walden on Wheels. This got me thinking about the book and decisions I made when publishing it. If there were two things I could do over, I might have requested a hardback edition and I might have included a photo insert. I never gave a photo insert a thought, perhaps because, back then, I had neither a good camera nor magazine-quality photos of my journey.


But having just gone through my old photo files, I see that I do indeed have a few worthwhile images that would have put faces to names. It’s arguable whether photos help or hurt a book (I’m not sure where I stand, though I lean toward featuring photos), but if I did have a photo insert, the following photos would be included. Consider this the “photo insert” that never was:


Chapter Two: Cheechako

Paul and I at beginning of New York to Coldfoot, AK, roadtrip
Life-long dream achieved: Drove to Alaska

Chapter Three: Applicant

Graduating from SUNY at Buffalo with $32K in debt

Chapter Four: Tour Guide

Tour guide in Coldfoot, rafting down Koyukuk River
Coldfoot Camp trucker's cafe

Chapter Five: Garbage Picker

Friend Josh comes up to Alaska for work. Here were are cleaning trash at Yukon River Camp
Josh dominating Twelve-Mile Mountain in the Brooks Mountain Range

Chapter Six: Night Cook

Doing some aurora guiding in Wiseman, Alaska. Phot credit: Ed


Chapter Seven: Maintenance Worker

1980 Chevy Suburban, home to the James character
Jack Reakoff, Wiseman, Alasa, photo taken a few years later in 2011

Chapter Eight: Hitchhiker

Coldfoot, AK. Photo credit: Josh Pruyn
Guy who drove me across British Columbia
British Columbia teens
Mexican immigrant who picked me up in Washington state
Oregon to Salt Lake City ride

Chapter Nine: Voyageur



Chapter Ten: Corpsmember


Chapter Eleven: Son

Hitchhiking from Mississippi to NY


D.C. FDR Memorial

Chapter Twelve: Ranger


Chapter Fourteen: Purchase

1994 Ford Econoline featured on Craigslist for $1,500

Chapter Fifteen: Renovation



Chapter Sixteen: Acclimatization



Chapter Eighteen: My First Guest

Friend Chuck visits the van

Chapter Twenty: Ranger

Gates of the Arctic NP. Photo Credit: Whitney Root.
Gates of the Arctic NP. Photo Credit: Whitney Root.
Gates of the Arctic NP. Photo Credit: Whitney Root.
Gates of the Arctic NP. Photo Credit: Whitney Root.
Gates of the Arctic NP. Photo Credit: Whitney Root.
Gates of the Arctic NP. Photo Credit: Whitney Root.

Chapter Twenty-One: Pilgrim

Walden Pond, MA. Photo Credit: Chuck Johnston

Chapter Twenty-Two: Graduate

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