WINDS OF SKILAK
$5.99 on Kindle
To download, click on amazon link below
Winds of Skilak is A Tale of True Grit, True Love and Survival in the Alaskan Wilderness written by Bonnie Rose Ward. It’s their true story of leaving suburban America and moving to the wilds of Alaska.
Late last summer I entered a giveaway by TrayerWilderness. Since I never win anything, I was shocked to receive an e-mail from Tammy saying I had won a book by Bonnie Rose Ward.
Homesteaders don’t have much leisure reading time until fall and winter. So I decided to add this book to my winter reading list. As you know, every October I begin reading the Little House on the Prairie series so I intended to add Winds of Skilak to be read when I was done. We had to make a sudden move from the deep South to the wilderness of northern Idaho mid November of last year.
We moved into the guest cabin of our friends. The cabin has no electric, running water, or plumbing. We heat and cook on a wood stove and carry water to the cabin in 5 gallon buckets. We eat, read, and work by lamplight and battery-operated headlights. What does this have to do with Winds of Skilak? I want you to have a mental image of the environment in which I read this mesmerizing, enchanting book.
Me being me I started with the dedication page. I don’t like to skip anything in a book. I was immediately drawn by the love and affection the author expressed to the people in the dedication.
The bold opening of chapter 1 spoke so deeply to the ideas and feelings of my husband and I with our recent experiences. You will feel and experience the deep longing, pain, and conflict of both Bonnie and Sam Ward as you journey with them from the decision to leave the life they had built for themselves and follow their dream of moving to Alaska.
You will weep, even as I do while writing this and remembering, as they bid farewell to their family and friends. The image Bonnie paints of Sam and his father walking the farm for the last time together hand-in-hand moved me to weeping. You will experience the joy of seeing how all the planning Sam and Bonnie made, how their friends and family helped and contributed to their dream, encouraged them, and how the Lord provided for them in unexpected ways from people to things.
When Bonnie and Sam finally reached the shores of Skilak Lake I stood in terror beside her as the storm raged on the lake and she wanted to run home. You also feel the excitement and adventure in Sam as he is prepared to face the unknown and care for Bonnie and their dream.
If I could do a chapter by chapter review of this book I certainly would. There are so many stories to share and experience on their journey. You are immediately drawn into their unknown and unexplored world of adventure.
There are heart aches, health crisis, helpful angels, happiness, and heavenly lessons. When Sam drives Bonnie out onto the ice for the first time I found myself there with her. Once I read through the adventure, I realized every muscle in my body was tense and I had been holding my breath. When the ice began breaking up and they were spinning I was panicked with her. I knew she was okay, she lived to write the book. But you are so involved in the story it’s hard to think past that.
Every day when my husband would come home I would share the adventures of Bonnie and Sam with him that I had read that morning. When I finished the book, he laughed at me because when he came home I was sad. When he asked me what was wrong I said, “I feel like I’ve just been separated from dear friends.” That’s what you will feel.
Many times during the book the Lord spoke to my heart as Bonnie recounted the blessings, watchful care and tender mercies God showed towards she and Sam. He reminded me His arm is not short, He knows where we are and what we need and He will provide in His own way and in His own time.
You will laugh, you will cry, you will be angry, you will rejoice, you will be happy as Bonnie shares their adventures with you. If you only read one book this year, give yourself the pleasure and privilege of reading Winds of Skilak.
Be sure to share Bonnie’s book with your friends and family. They will thank you for allowing them to enjoy Sam and Bonnie Ward’s journey of true grit, true love and survival in the Alaskan wilderness. Visit their website Frontier Home: Living Off The Grid and let them know how much you enjoyed the book.
You can connect on Facebook at The Winds of Skilak. She is also sharing her email address with you: firstname.lastname@example.org so you can share your experience of the Winds of Skilak with her. I’m excited to share with you that she is currently in the process of writing a sequel to share more of their dentures with us.
Safe and Happy Journey
Rhonda and The Pack
We hope you enjoy the slide show depicting our life off-grid on the remote Caribou Island in Skilak Lake, Alaska, which culminated in my book Winds of Skilak: A Tale of True Grit, True Love and Survival in the Alaskan Wilderness.
NOW FOR THE SLIDESHOW: JUST CLICK ON THE PHOTO!
Frost covered trees on Little Caribou Island. The island appears to be floating between the frozen surface of Skilak Lake and the sky. Sam took this photo from the beach on Caribou Island. He threw the rocks out on the ice to see if they’d go through. At the time of this photo we were stranded on the island waiting for the lake to freeze up..
Podcast #78 – Embracing the Alaska Dream with Bonnie Rose Ward
December 10, 2014 By Tammy Trayer
CLICK ON THE RADIO to hear Bonnie Rose Ward’s interview.
December 10, 2014: In today’s show I had the privilege to interview Bonnie Rose Ward, author of Winds of Skilak. She can be found at www.windsofskilak.com where she blogs about her life in Alaska and her life today. Bonnie’s books was absolutely amazing and I had to get in touch with her for an interview!! Her book was something I really treasured because I could relate SO much to her story – it paralleled mine and it takes place in the wilds of Alaska which is the next dream our family would like to embrace. She is an inspiration and an amazing Mountain Woman.
If you like my Mountain Woman Radio you can also Subscribe to me on iTunes.
PART ONE INTERVIEW ON WCHS & WVAH TV with Brad Rice
TRUE PIONEERS: Meet Bonnie Ward, a Nicholas County wife who, along with her husband, gave up everything to move to ALASKA for 15 years.
Facing the harsh elements, the Wards find strength in each other, and the awe-inspiring beauty of “the last frontier.”
And just when they finally settle in, a freak accident proves to be the ultimate test of their resolve.
CLICK PHOTO TO SEE PART ONE INTERVIEW
PART TWO INTERVIEW ON WCHS & WVAH TV with Brad Rice
What would YOU DO if your husband came home, and said you were moving to ALASKA?
– Oh, and also said he QUIT his job and put the house UP FOR SALE?
It didn’t take long for a brave woman to say YES and became a “wilderness wife” in Alaska.
Ward’s spirited debut memoir documents the privations and advantages of life in Alaska’s wilderness.
The author was just 25 years old in 1980 when her husband, Sam, quit his job and sold their Ohio home. Sam was from West Virginia mountain stock, and had strong survival and hunting skills, so they decided to go to Alaska. Although suburbanite Ward was initially reluctant about going on such an adventure, she threw herself into her “new role as a wilderness wife.” After a five-day journey, they settled on Skilak Lake on the Kenai Peninsula, known for its sudden storms. They started out in a tent, eating nothing but rice and not showering for a month. The chapter on how they built their cabin, “By the Sweat of Our Backs,” particularly stands out. Throughout, black-and-white photographs and lively, recreated dialogue show how the Wards adjusted to new standards. “We eventually learned to slow our pace to nature’s speed. Compared with squatting in the woods, an outhouse was quite a luxury,” Ward writes. A few close friendships with other residents eased their loneliness, even after 2 feet of snow and a frozen lake isolated them during the winter. However, the cozy, Little House on the Prairie–style domesticity of their “little piece of paradise” couldn’t keep danger at bay, as when a tree fell and broke Sam’s back. In this memoir, Ward strikes a good balance between repetitive daily tasks—foraging, canning meat, making blueberry jam, milking goats and sewing leather garments—and more momentous events, such as an earthquake, a view of the Northern Lights, and run-ins with bears. She also uses a menagerie of animals, both domestic and wild, to provide much comic relief. Along the way, Ward emphasizes the spiritual as well as the practical implications of becoming a pioneer woman: “The wilderness made me who I am today….Although I remained far from the nearest church, I felt closer to God than ever before.” The descriptions of nature sometimes shade purple (“Autumn showed her brilliance by clothing the mountains in a skirt of tie-dyed glory”), but, more often than not, the language is restrained. The couple’s Alaskan odyssey lasted 15 years, so there’s still plenty of room for future sequels.
An often engaging story of outhouses, canned moose and bears—oh, my!
Review by Christina Freeburn
Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.
I was drawn to the setting and reading about a woman willing to go outside her comfort zone and live a life different from what she knew, and far from where she called home. Even though Bonnie was following her husband’s dream …originally… I found her strong and determined. She loved her husband and made the choice to follow his dreams, she was also making the choice based on her convictions and beliefs. I admired how she was willing to share her weak moments and fear. At times she was terrified and questioned the decision of moving to Alaska, but she didn’t allow fear to dictate her life.
I loved reading the details about the wilderness, Alaska, and the Wards simple life style. What I loved most was getting to know Bonnie and seeing everything through her eyes. She has such an open heart and honesty in her writing that I was drawn into story. I read non-fiction as I like seeing how the world, life, and situations are viewed by others. It gives me another way to look at the world … and at times encourages me to reevaluate what I thought I knew about a situation in my own life. It makes me pause and look past my view and consider how the someone else might perceive it.
There was an event that happened in the book (I won’t elaborate as I don’t want to give it away) involving a neighbor that I first felt wasn’t fully addressed. I wanted to know how Bonnie came to terms with and what was said to the neighbor after the incident. I was confused why it was never brought up again. It dawned on me that the reason Bonnie didn’t mention it again in the books was because she forgave. It wasn’t an easy forgiveness. She shared her anger, heartbreak and how she struggled with it. Bonnie also shared how she opened up to God and prayed about it and was able to forgive her neighbor.
I realized Bonnie didn’t mention the incident again because she was showing forgiveness. It wasn’t because the author forgot to “tie it up” for readers, or an “editing” issue (as I’ll admit was my first thought) but that is how forgiveness works. It isn’t dwelt on. Isn’t rehashed even in the mind. It’s done. Over. Bonnie’s ability to forgive so truly is what I admire most about her and left me in awe. I hope one day I can have that type of “pure” forgiving nature that the incident doesn’t need a big act of closure on it for it to be done. I’d like for “I forgive” to be enough.
Winds of Skilak Review by Christina Freeburn can be seen on her blog: The Self Rescue Princess. Link below!
In the spring of 1981 we purchased our “little piece of wilderness heaven” on Caribou Island in ill-tempered Skilak Lake. Following are photo’s of beginning our new life in the wilderness! I hope you enjoy them. Please forgive that some of these photo’s are old and grainy.
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