Canoeing in the Yukon with Alex Hutchinson

Mill Creek.  A tributary of the snake river in the Yukon

Mill Creek in the Yukon: @ NYTimes

If you’re a lover of good, crisp writing, spellbinding adventure and the great outdoors, then there’s little not to like about Alex Hutchinson’s badass piece in the New York Times on canoeing in the Yukon.

The first-person narrative chronicles Hutchinson’s ten-day mission down the Snake River in the Peel Watershed.  The river drops over 4,000 feet in elevation without any waterfalls, which makes for a snappy pace of about 10 miles-per-hour.

A day into the trip, Hutchinson and his cohorts quickly feel the brunt of the river’s rage:

Rounding a tight corner, we took on water once again — but before we could get to shore to bail, we were swept into the next rapids and capsized. Mike and I suddenly found ourselves thrashing desperately across the current toward the rocky shore, each clinging to a pack, as our upturned canoe hurtled down the river to oblivion.

They’re able to extricate themselves from the situation, but encounter a number of tough challenges along their trip, including the malfunction of their water purifiers and a close encounter with a Grizzly Bear who happens to be fishing in their path.

In addition the adventure, there are striking descriptions of the lush scenery of the Yukon, a place I’ve never visited, but would badly like to some day.  One of my favorite sections is the description of “Fireweed,” which is the first plant to grow after fires.

As we emerged from a winding canyon the next afternoon, a startling sight greeted us: the entire hillside ahead was a vibrant purple, as if it had been colored by a giant magic marker.

This is one of those great pieces of travel journalism that makes me not only want to get in the outdoors, but write about it.

Check it out and let me know what you think?

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One Comment

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