On the night before we left Bainbridge, Georgia for a canoe trip down the Noatak River in the Gates of the Arctic National Park above the Arctic Circle in Alaska, we met Barb‟s oldest son at the local fish camp. “I know you two are crazy,” he said. “But on this trip, mama, you‟re certifiable.”
We spent nine days in a remote, pristine wilderness. No television, no cell phones, no ice cream stores – only the two of us depending upon our individual skills and our willingness to cooperate. A tent made of a thin layer of nylon was our barrier to the elements. Whatever challenges the river or the weather or the large animals threw at us, we had to manage.
Why do that? Why not take a cruise to the Alaskan fiords and be fed fabulous meals inside warm dining rooms? That way we could view the Alaskan frontier through big picture windows with no danger of hypothermia, lacerations or broken bones.
We explored Alaska our way because we wanted to experience that part of the world during the day and night, through sunshine and rain, on target or lost. We wanted a taste of what it was like when man was just another element in the world and not the commanding rulers the way we are now. To savor a place in its full richness you have to walk or paddle through it using your own muscles and brains.