The Usumacinta has a reputation as one of the best river trips in the world, and also one of the most dangerous. It forms the border between Mexico and Guatemala through the heart of the Mayan region, a vast, densely jungled wilderness where traditional authorities hold little sway…because of these amazing features, the Usu became one of the world’s preeminent raft trips in the 1970s, and a prime winter playground for off-season Grand Canyon guides.
It took me two days to hitchhike from Haines, Alaska, to the Yukon highway bridge where Walt Blackadar started his fabled 1971 first descent of Turnback Canyon. I launched in a drizzle feeling quite puny, just as Walt probably did, which I guess was the point. I was alone, as he had been, with 10 days and 230 miles of the Alsek River ahead of me. Running Turnback was never part of my plan, though.
Something bad happened to North American tent design shortly after the first freestanding dome tents became popular in the 1980s. With the exception of those who clung to tired yet trusty A-frames, the camping masses shunned non-freestanding tents as being old and dated.
Ed’s note: In the interest of, you know, facilitating dialogue, we’ve decided to start rolling out one of the magazine’s longtime recurring features, “Ask Eddy,” here on the website; below the latest, from the August 2011 issue. We invite readers to submit future questions for Eddy’s consideration here, at our Facebook page or by regular ol’ email: AskEddy@canoekayak.com.)
To say Concord, Mass., resident P.G. Downes (1909-1959) was ahead of his time is an understatement. Between 1936 and 1947, the Harvard-educated schoolteacher spent his summers exploring the then-unmapped reaches of the Canadian subarctic, sensitively documenting the plight of fading aboriginal cultures and creating detailed maps of the waterways he followed by wood and canvas canoe.
C&K’s canoe technique gurus, Paul and Willa Mason, demonstrate some of the finer points to packing for an overnight canoe trip in this latest episode of VIRTUAL COACH.
Canoe & Kayak Web Exclusivestory by Cliff Jacobsonphotos by John Bolivar Editors note about the author: You will probably figure out in reading this article that the author is a canoe man through and through. He currently owns twelve canoes-eight tandem’s and four solo’s. In his words” Canoes are like dear friends; one can never [...]