One hundred years ago, a group of men sailed to the northern coast of Alaska to find a land mass rumored to protrude from the Arctic Ocean. They did not find the land. After wintering in the north, everyone hurried back to warmer places. Except for Ernest Leffingwell.
Leffingwell, a geologist, teacher, and a veteran of the Spanish-American War, stayed behind on Flaxman Island, a sandy wedge of land north of Alaska’s coast and 58 miles west of Kaktovik. He lived for nine summers and six winters in a cabin made from the ship that brought him there in 1906.