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Spring 2004 Issue
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    30 Years of the Cookery
    Wild Side of Medicine
    NOLS Expands College Credit Program
    Confessions of a Yukon Greenhorn
    Belay Off
   
Wilderness Facts
Leaders in Wilderness Preservation
Tebenkof Bay
Tribute to a True Wilderness Leader
Paddling at the Edge of the World
Alaskan Rain & the Rivine River
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The Way It Was…
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Confessions of a Yukon Greenhorn
Essay by Liz Hardwick, NOLS Instructor
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
I’m remembering what it was like to be in the Yukon that first summer. I remember how one day a caribou decided to follow us as we crossed a wide valley bottom. It pranced on the spongy tundra playfully coming closer, bounding away and coming back again. From 20 meters its antlers looked enormous. Later, on a ridge top, I found a set of caribou antlers and hefted their weight onto my head. It felt like at least 20 pounds, and I did my best at caribou prancing, biting it on the tussocks (mounds of unstable ankle-grabbing moss) winding up rolling on the ground laughing my antlers off.
© Jim Chisholm
 
There were also sunny days, and in August it’s already fall in the Yukon. The dwarf birch and willow were turning an amazing shade of burgundy. The whole landscape was red and gold. We munched on cloudberries, delicate flavored raspberry-like things a pale shade of orange.
© touryukon.com
 
We found huge ram’s horns curling twice, almost completely covered in moss and filled with decomposing rotten things. We smelled bear, heard bear, and spent a lot of time hollering to the bears. We saw fresh four-foot gashes in the ground where grizzlies had dug out arctic ground squirrels from their burrows, but we never actually saw a bear. I remember waking up at two in the morning and seeing the night sky in a perpetual state of sunset, the fireball of the sun never actually dipping below the horizon.
© Chris Hatton
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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