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Squirrelland: Imagination and the Alaska Red Squirre

by Eric Wade
photography by Doylanne Wade

Print (softcover) $17.95  


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Upstream is a continuation of Eric Wade's wilderness story begun in his earlier book, Cabin. For many years, Wade has traveled twice a year to his cabin on a river for an extended stay in the Alaska boreal forest. There he and his wife, Doylanne, built a rewarding life among bear, moose, owls, grouse, and fish. But their recent trips carry a different feeling as they face the challenges that come with aging. Wade gives us a look at his pain and frustration as he needs to adjust his behaviors to suit his physical changes, having reached the point in life when he transitions from building and growing to slowing down and letting go. Beautifully written, Upstream is a meditation on a life spent in the wilderness and the realization that one's dream doesn't fade as the years go by, but one must be prepared to make some changes.

NATURE / Ecosystems & Habitats / Wilderness

ISBN: 978-1-956056-20-4 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
ISBN: 978-1-956056-21-1 (ebook)

LCCN: 2022930151

Released February 2022; Copyright 2022

156 pages; 34 black-and-white images


Author Biography

Eric Wade is a writer, teacher, musician, naturalist, and outdoorsman. He earned a bachelors in English Education at Southern Oregon University and a masters in Journalism from the University of Oregon. He served as a public-school teacher, principal, and director of nonprofit corporations for more than forty years. He often journeys into the Alaska interior wilderness where he roams the woods looking for wildlife—flora and fauna—as it’s always been. He is the author of Cabin: An Alaska Wilderness Dream, published in 2019.

Eric's wife, Doylanne Wade, features prominently in Upstream. She can dash for a camera with lightning speed, a skill she honed chasing four sons. When wild animals appear or sunsets morph to mesmerizing beauty, there’s often little time to respond, an aspect of photography she loves. For more than thirty years, she has captured stories in the Alaska wilderness. She uses a DSLR camera with 150-600mm and 18-270 lenses.


“Squirrelland is an unexpected surprise. Full of poetic prose and depictions of the little moments and dramas of life in the deep woods, it’s also a close examination and study of one of Alaska’s primary but often overlooked residents: the red squirrel. Illustrated throughout with gorgeous photographs, the book is a tribute to the importance of the small, resilient creatures that populate, survive in, and enhance our wild places. If you’re familiar with Alaska woods life, the book will make you miss it; if not, it will provide a glimpse into the quiet magic of that world.”
Sarah Birdsall, author of Wild Rivers, Wild Rose

“Delightful, compelling, informative, entertaining, profound—it is difficult to find one word to best describe Squirrelland by Eric Wade. Choosing as his topic an animal small in stature, the ubiquitous red squirrel, Wade artfully guides the reader to an exploration of larger themes in nature. Wade employs scientific observation, but the key is that through careful observation of one small part of nature, a microcosm, we are led to better understand and appreciate the macrocosm of greater nature. Wade’s observations of this industrious and unique animal at times take on a kind of free associative style with thoughtful reflections, fascinating tangents, and engaging allusions to history, literature, and philosophy, all of it making for very satisfying reading. You may grow to admire, perhaps even like the red squirrel.

In the background, providing context is the story of Wade and his wife, Doylanne, and their chosen life at their cabin in the wilds of Alaska. The references to the forest, the surrounding flora and fauna, the weather, the harsh and unpredictable conditions, and always the stirring beauty provide a dramatic backdrop for this story and lend it an almost symphonic complexity.  The photographs spaced throughout the book, taken by Doylanne, of red squirrels in action along with stunning scenes from Alaska supplement and enhance the text and enriched any pictures I tried to form in my mind.

If you love nature, if you like to consider and reflect on your place in nature, if you love a good read, and if you like beautiful photographs of nature, then Squirrelland is the book for you.
John R. Harvey, Ph.D., author of The Stillness of the Living Forest: A Year of Listening and Learning

“Prepare yourself for full immersion in the world of the red squirrel of interior Alaska. The subjects of Doylanne Wade’s exquisite photos range from the tiny to the immense—from the petite red squirrel to the massive bull moose. She zeroes in on rain-slicked lowbush cranberries and pans out for sweeping views of Denali and the river and sky around the homestead she shares with her husband, writer Eric Wade. Eric’s text likewise examines the red squirrel up close and in wider context. Inspired by a study of eastern gray squirrels in Massachusetts, he undertakes his own study to better understand the squirrels around the couple’s homestead. He weaves personal observations, scientific facts, and literary and historical references into a beautifully written account.”
Chris Lundgren, author of Accidental Adventures: Alaska—True Tales of Ordinary People Facing Danger in the Wilderness

“In our super-sized culture, Eric Wade makes a case for attending to the small and (dare we say) common red squirrel. With a naturalist’s keen eye, he offers authentic perspectives on off-grid homesteading and our multi-faceted relationships with wildlife. A delightful foray into the Alaska wilderness with striking color photos by Wade’s wife, Doylanne.”
Deb Vanasse, author of Roar of the Sea, a 2023 Oregon Book Award finalist

Articles and Reviews


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