Fannie Quigley

Fannie made an art form out of the hard work of survival, carefully coordinating the numerous tasks of hunting, trapping, gathering, growing and preserving food, and of course, cooking.

Searching for Fannie Quigley: A Wilderness Life in the Shadow of Mount McKinley goes beyond the mere biographical facts of this unique woman’s journey. It also tells historian Jane G. Haigh’s own story of tracking and tracing the many paths that Fannie Quigley’s intriguing life took. Uncovering remote clues, digging through archives, and listening to oral accounts from a wide array of sources, Haigh has fashioned this rich lode into a compelling narrative.

Hardcover: $39.95 From Jane via Paypal

Paperback:  $19.95 From Jane via Paypal

Purchase from Amazon

Fannie’s Kitchen is featured in a display in the Denali National Park Visitors Center

Fannie's Kitchen

Into the Wild

The Kantishna country and the Stampede TrailWhen the film “Into the Wild” hit the big screen, I paused to reflect that the bus where Chris McCandless  took refuge, and then died is only about 100 miles from where Fannie not only survived, but perfected her wilderness lifestyle over 40 years.

Fannie was no starry-eyed idealist, but a realist. She did not have the luxury of placing her existence in the context of adventure, or even wilderness, but instead was focused on simply making a living, and supporting the prospecting efforts of her husband Joe.

I have often wondered whether or how Fannie understood the concept of wilderness scenery. Wilderness is a concept which, as a basically romantic ideal, leaning on the concept of the sublime, virtually requires the idea of leisure. Absent the leisure for contemplation, wilderness is only about survival. And survival, requires hard work.

Like most Alaskans, I see Chris McCandless as someone with a death wish. For Alaskans, enjoyment of wilderness is synonymous with preparation, and preparation for hard work. if you are not ready for that, stay home. Or enjoy the wilderness on an organized wilderness tour, a fly-n cabin, or somewhere, closer to the road.

One Response to “Fannie Quigley”

  1. Patty (Quigley) Voldbaek says:

    My step-father is Ken Quigley and related to Joe Quigley. He was his great uncle. Dad’s older brother, Joe Quigley, named after Joe, died in the 60s climbing a rock mountain in the Columbia Gorge. Recently, my cousin who is Steve Brown (and the Bailers) dad visited the tour and told my father about it. I am going to purchase your book for my dad. Is there an address my father could write a letter to you. He is 84 and loves to write and is the only survivor of his parents Lloyd and Zelne Quigley. Hope this makes sense…Anyway, thanks for writing the book.

Leave a Reply