“It’s a pristine alpine region with stunning scenery, exceptional wildlife, great hiking and whitewater,” says Neil Hartling, the owner of Whitehorse, Yukon-based Nahanni River Adventures and long-time local guide. “The plexus of rivers that form the watershed provide years of expedition options that could fill a career of northern adventures.”
French soothsayer Nostradamus would have had a heyday this year. After an otherwise ho-hum summer, paddlers across the country were greeted by a rash of freakish, end-of-the-times weather that, in many cases, made survival a higher priority than paddling. But paddlers will be paddlers, and a few got after it anyway.
The sea kayak team behind last year’s tsunami debris-hunting Ikkatsu Project shifts its focus from Washington to south-central Alaska, where they explored Augustine Island on one of the least-visited and wildest shorelines in Cook Inlet this summer, and (unfortunately) found what they were looking for … and more.
“Followed by his pet mallard, John Lawrence Jolley stepped out of a battered aluminum canoe adorned with a cow’s skull, wearing a stained suit with black work books, a wool beret over a baseball cap, and designer women’s sunglasses. He rolled a smoke and began talking.” Our correspondent reports from the 12th Annual Phatwater Challenge in Mississippi.
Interview with Darcy Gaechter part-way through the top leg of her team’s current Amazon source-to-sea expedition, where Gaechter is attempting to be the first woman to complete the descent. Says Gaechter of paddling by an active dam construction site on the Mantaro: “The engineers knew we were coming and agreed to stop blasting for the day, which is a very good thing, otherwise, we would all probably be dead.”
Forty years ago, a film appeared on the big screen which caused theater-goers to squirm with angst—not from some imaginative sci-fi scenario, but because the sequence of terrifying events could easily be related to real-life possibilities, particularly for paddlers in the southern Appalachians. ‘Deliverance’ also launched into greater prominence the careers of Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox. Three Georgia whitewater paddlers happened to be in the right place at the right time, becoming part of the film’s legend. Doug Woodward recounts what it was like to be part of that experience.