For Don and Lanna Langdok, a daring and gutsy decision to move to Anchorage, Alaska, has led them to writing a book to share their story.
“So many people we knew wanted to know what Alaska was like,” said Don. “We thought writing a book would be a great way to share that.”
“Our daughters were quite young when we lived there,” said Lanna. “This was a great way to help them remember.”
After months of preparations, the high-school sweethearts, both born and raised in Iola, began their journey on April 30, 1969.
The book, “Cheechako Sunrise, Sourdough Sunset,” chronicles short stories of homesteading in Alaska; from living in the Chugach Mountains in a 24×36-foot home with no plumbing, water or electricity, to salmon fishing and even capturing a wolf.
“Some of my favorite moments were in that home,” said Lanna. “Picking blueberries on the mountain, reading books to the girls with only the light of a lantern, it seems like only yesterday. These stories truly come from the heart.”
“We were living our dream,” said Don. “We never wanted to leave there.”
Unfortunately for the Langdoks, their dream would be cut short.
Don had developed some health issues, and in 1977 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“Being that far away from family was scary,” they both agreed.
And so, on Oct. 16, they started the long journey home to Iola, a home that they knew all too well, but still not the Alaska that they had grown to love.
“We truly struck gold when living there,” said Don.
The Langdoks have since traveled back to Alaska to visit friends.
“The biggest change is the population,” said Don.
“When we were there, the population was about 46,000 and now it’s over 300,000 people,” said Lanna. “All the wonderful things are still there to see.”
The Langdoks offer some words of wisdom for people wanting to travel to Alaska.
“If you have a desire to go to Alaska – go,” said Don. “I have never regretted those years we spent there.”
“Alaska is amazing, but also very costly,” said Lanna. “Make sure you have some money in your pocket.”
“You cannot live off the land like you used to when we went there,” said Don. “You will definitely need something to fall back on.”
“We have been blessed by living in Alaska,” they agreed. “It was a journey to the last frontier, a journey of discovery, not only of the state, but on personal growth.”
Book signing events will that place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Just Rusty’s, Glacier Wood Golf Course in Iola, and also from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at Book World, 1136 Main St., Stevens Point.