The Hard Way Home


The Hard Way Home

Alaska Stories of Adventure, Friendship, and the Hunt

Steve Kahn

Outdoor Lives Series

224 pages
1 map


September 2014


$16.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2010


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About the Book

A lifelong Alaskan, Steve Kahn moved at the age of nine from the “metropolis” of Anchorage to the foothills of the Chugach Mountains. A childhood of berry picking, fishing, and hunting led to a life as a big-game guide. When he wasn’t guiding in the spring and fall, he worked as a commercial fisherman and earned his pilot’s license, pursuits that took him to the far reaches of the Alaskan wilderness. He lived through some of the most important moments in the state’s history: the 1964 earthquake (the most powerful in U.S. history), the Farewell Burn wildfire, the last king crab season in Kodiak Island waters, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and cleanup, and even the far-reaching effects of the 9/11 attacks.

The essays in The Hard Way Home offer a view of Alaska that is at once introspective and adventurous. Here we find the state’s plants, animals, people, geography, politics, and culture considered from an intimate perspective, yielding hard-earned lessons about conservation, sustainability, and living well. An irrepressible guide, Kahn invites readers to share his experiences and discoveries and to consider questions about a place, and a life, that are disappearing.

Author Bio

Steve Kahn is a lifelong Alaskan and former hunting guide who lives a subsistence-based lifestyle on Lake Clark near Port Alsworth, Alaska. He is a contributor to the anthologies Wild Moments: Adventures with Animals of the North and Crosscurrents North: Alaskans on the Environment.


"Alaskan Kahn has written a series of heartfelt, yet understated, essays about life on the Last Frontier that will appeal to nature lovers and thoughtful outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen. . . . This is quiet Alaska, and much closer to the truth than most depictions."—Colleen Mondor, Booklist

"The Hard Way Home offers exceptionally well-crafted prose about life in the bush, and establishes Steve Kahn as one of Alaska's most gifted writers. We need to hear more from him."—David James, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

"A fine read for anyone who wants to understand Alaska better, The Hard Way Home is a solid addition to any memoir collection, highly recommended."—Midwest Book Review

"Steve Kahn's essays and stories cover a lifetime in the outdoors of Alaska, from early adventures as a young man, to his career as a big game guide, to reflections on the simple subsistence life he and his wife Anne now share on the shores of Lake Clark. There is much to admire here—in particular, good writing, and the classic Alaskan life of flying, fishing, hunting, and living off the land."—Tim Troll, Alaska History

"The Hard Way Home provides an excellent firsthand account of life in rural Alaska. It is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, anyone wishing to learn about life in the wilderness, and those interested in Alaska history."—Greg Urquhart, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

"Alaska seems like a great place to get in touch with the world around us on more than just a material dirt and rock level but instead to dig a little deeper. This book was a perfect window into the lives, attitudes and personalities of people who are living all the way there on the other side of Canada."—Outdoor Book Club

Table of Contents

Map of Alaska
Part One - Ranging Out
Chapter 1 - One Last Cast
Chapter 2 - Hats Off to Hal
Chapter 3 - Burn
Chapter 4 - Standing on a Heart
Chapter 5 - Crabbing
Chapter 6 - Field Test
Chapter 7 - Exxon Summer
Part Two - Guiding Days
Chapter 8 - Searching within the Archipelago
Chapter 9 - The Hard Way Home
Chapter 10 - Something in the Bones 
Chapter 11 - Porcupine Pass
Chapter 12 - Trespass
Chapter 13 - Ruse of Rocks
Chapter 14 - Almost Too Legal
Chapter 15 - Tracks on the Pingston
Chapter 16 - A Face in the Fog
Chapter 17 - Fines and Fine Lines
Part Three - Settled In
Chapter 18 - Getting There
Chapter 19 - Return
Chapter 20 - The Wake
Chapter 21 - September Shadows
Chapter 22 - Of Wood and Warmth
Chapter 23 - Salvage

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