In the winter of 1927–28 Helge Ingstad and Hjalmar Dale were fur-trappers in the Canadian wilderness. Four years later Ingstad published Pelsjegerliv and secured his place in Norwegian literary history. The book has been very influential as an inspiration for
generations of wilderness explorers.
This new book about Hjalmar Dale is partly a biography and partly a description of the pioneering time in Canada. Hjalmar Dale lived among the fur trappers and gold prospectors. He was attracted to adventure and he travelled through huge wildernesses by canoe and dog team. The blank spaces on the map disappeared gradually, and Dale's death marked the end of the pioneer time.
If Helge Ingstad and Hjalmar Dale had not met, Pelsjegerliv would never have been written. Ingstad might just have come home after two unsuccessful years in Canada. He would never have been to Greenland and never have been District Governor of Svalbard. Many of the people who were inspired by Ingstad might perhaps have led quite different lives. Lars Monsen might never have crossed Canada; Robert Sørlie might never have raced dog teams; and Stein P. Aasheim might have got a proper job.
'Hjalmar Dale from West Norway was Helge Ingstad’s teacher. Randulf Valle’s biography gives a vivid picture of his life as a tracker in the wilderness of Northern Canada a hundred years ago. (…) Hjalmar Dale is the most significant supporting character in one of the most important books in Norwegian literature. So he deserves a biography of his own. Valle’s book can also be read in relation to Ingstad’s Pelsjegerliv (The Life of the Fur Trapper), and the author points out how this book differs from Amundsen’s and Nansen’s books: Ingstad’s book is not about mapping new lands, an era of scientific discovery and the national renown which follows..'
DAG OG TID
'Randulf Valle’s book is both authoritative and well-written. It will be of interest to all who want to develop a thorough understanding of how people have done their utmost to explore new regions and make use of the natural resources to be found there. This is both a biography and a cultural history.'
'Randulf Valle’s book about seeking an alternative life in the wilderness is fascinating. Many people know of Hjalmar Dale through Helge Ingstad’s debut book, Pelsjegerliv, published in 1931. Valle achieves a fine balance between good story-telling and accurate history.'
To the top