Momma Grizzly – A Close Call with a Charging Bear

I started back toward camp in lengthening shadows. With the slippery going along that narrow, loose-cobbled beach near the Hubbard Glacier, I was focused more on my feet than the brushy cut bank a few yards to my right. Weaving toward the bank to get around a scattering of boulders, I glanced...

The Goodly Doctor Walker – All in a day’s work

“Easy girl …let me see,” Vic Walker murmurs, gently prying the jaws of his canine patient and leaning close to inspect teeth, then peering into the back of her throat. He examines paws, feels along flanks and belly. For Walker, it’s an everyday veterinary moment—except the formidable jaws...

Bears Just Wanna Have Fun

It had to be there, a bright red, six-gallon plastic can full of gas. I was depending on every drop. I’d marked the spot for my cache on my way upstream two days before: a high bank, just below a distinctive slough. Had it been stolen way out here?

The Grayling Factory – Signs and Wonders in the Arctic

Crouching, I cast into the sort of clear, eddying pool in deep, mountain-edged wilderness that might bend any devout angler’s knee. My marabou jig swept off a gravel ledge and tumbled along the bottom, past a snag, and downstream, its movement telegraphed through my light rod and thin line.

Breaking Trail – Another Day in the Arctic

It was a hard day for going anywhere, let alone up the Redstone Valley and over Iviisaq Pass. My Eskimo buddy Clarence Wood and I plowed through loose, rolling drifts from the previous day’s blizzard, our snowmachines dragging basket sleds loaded with gas, gear and grub, bound for a week in the...

Still Wild – the Roadside View of Denali

You could travel the wildest reaches of Alaska for a lifetime and not witness a scene like this—a pack of wolves feeding on a caribou kill on the edge of a rushing river. From the crest of a tundra bluff, I watched the gray alpha male tug at a hindquarter as others waited their turns. Then a...

Three Strikes – Bad Decisions but Incredible Adventures

“This doesn’t look good,” Seth Kantner muttered, peering at the pale gray end of a spark plug, then passing it to Vic Walker and me for inspection. The top plug on my side looked even worse—grains of aluminum piston speckling the electrode, sure signs of a damaging, possibly...