Streams and Mountains
Have you swept the visioned valley
with the green stream streaking through it,
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence?
Then for God’s sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.
- "Call of the Wild" by Robert Service
Still only 18 I idealized Alaska as the embodiment of the American wilderness. I had begun to dream, already, of searching for... what? Something pulled me to the wilderness. I had read about Everett Reuss and Chris McCandless and did not envy their fates but I felt tangibly what had pulled them away from their families and into their ludicrous adventures. So with high school over, I packed my belongings into a backpack and set off for the 49th state, a tantilizing mirage under its flag of the North Star. I have always been attracted to the North. (My blog is called NorthboundArtists with reason.) In Alaska I joined forces with Dan Perry (a park ranger from Idaho), Taelin Free, an absolutely remarkable adventurer and prison guard from British Columbia, and our tacitern guide Paul as well as a British guy named Matt who left after a few days, pursued by the blackflies. Together we paddled our way around the many branching inlets of Glacier Bay, racing the tides and watching orcas roll by our boats. The experience had me convinced from the start - adventure-travel was a lifestyle that I could not turn away from - it was a way to walk in order to get closer to... what? I would figure out what much much later.