Nick Jans


Nick Jans recalls his own encounters with the stories and tragic deaths of Timothy Treadwell and Chris McCandless. Treadwell is pictured here with Aimee Hugenard at Upper Kaflia Lake, less than 100 yards from where they would die a year later. Photo by Willie Fulton, courtesy Nick Jans. Seems like just the other day rather than 1992 I sat in my cabin, shaking my head over the Sunday paper. Moose hunters had found a body in an abandoned bus along the Stampede Trail. The poor galoot, long on ambition but woefully underprepared, had set out to walk across Alaska and instead ended up way short, hunkered in and around that bus for several months as he slowly starved to death. Eleven years later, I stood alone on the crest of a brushy hill overlooking Kaflia Lake on the Katmai coast where a California surfer-type dude and his female companion had…

Capturing the spirit in the sky

A SHIMMER OF LIGHT FLICKERS OVER THE KOBUK RIVER AND THE CURVE OF THE BORNITE HILLS. Then another. As I gaze eastward, yellow-white tongues of fire rise from the horizon, accelerate in pulsing curtains that blaze overhead, shred and vanish, then form again.

“WHICH WAY?” I shouted over the roar of the engine. Seth leaned forward, speed-reading the three-way split in the river that lay ahead. He gestured left.We both knew we had two chances to make that gooseneck turn into a six-foot-wide, three-inch-deep slot at 30 mph: slim and none.

Calling all moose

In the arctic stillness, on the far side of the river, an unmistakable racket echoed in the bright afternoon: the thrashing of a bull moose stripping velvet off his antlers and honing his moves, prepping for the rut.