LOST IN TIME | Sierra Club

  • Instant oatmeal and rum in an alder thicket provide shelter from the storm
    Instant oatmeal and rum in an alder thicket provide shelter from the storm.
    Aaron Teasdale

    One evening in mid-June in the remote fishing port of Yakutat, Alaska, a young Tlingit girl and her mother walk past two men hunching over strange bicycles and a spread of colorful equipment outside the town's single-gate airport. "Where are they going on those bikes?" she asks her mother, which is an excellent question considering that Yakutat has only a few short Jeep tracks and no roads or trails leading to another town (because there is no other town). 
    "I have no idea, honey," her mother replies.
    From the patio of a nearby shack, aspirationally named the Yakutat Lodge, a woman in a Bud Light sweatshirt takes out a cigarette and says, "What're you guys doin'?" Ryan Krueger and I point to the fat, four-inch-wide tires on our bicycles and explain that we can ride on sand, that our tiny rafts will allow us to cross the many rivers we will encounter, and that once we figure out how to actually affix our tents and sleeping bags to our bikes and stuff five days of provisions into our backpacks, we intend to ride to the ocean and down its uninhabited coast to see what there is to see.
    She considers our dry bags, paddle shafts, bulging bike wheels, and various sacks of food."
    "You ever done this before?" she asks dubiously."
    "Actually," I say, pausing in my third attempt to strap a deflated raft to my handlebars, "this is our first time." 
    She says she'll pray for us.

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