Mary Ames set off for a life of adventure at 17. She hitchhiked around the Lower 48, and when that got old, she hopped freight trains. She avoided the paved path to college by picking vegetables in the fields of California, Waitressing, tending bar, trapping, hunting, fishing, cleaning houses, planting trees, working as a physical therapy aid and teaching children to swim. When her body started to give out, she returned to college and emerged with a degree in journalism. She lives in Alaska's Matanuska-Susitna Valley. She has survived life in Alaska, in the Bush, in Fairbanks and Southcentral since May, 1985.