Hiking Across the Old Crow Range, Canada 2012
In 2006 I got two large Airedale terrier pups.
Little did I know we'd hike across Alaska together, and that the pups would change my life forever.
You can order my book Crossing the Gates of Alaska from the following links:
Afoot in the Midnight Sun
From the Isolation of the Alaska Wilderness, the Dogs Brought Him Home
You can order Afoot in the Midnight Sun from https://www.createspace.com/3760204
Praise for Crossing the Gates of Alaska.
"A seasoned wilderness survivalist takes on Alaska's backcountry in his most daring trek to date... meticulously mapping out a daring hike that would take three months to complete and cover 300 miles across the Brooks Range, an exceptionally remote, mountainous passage ... only ... traversed by a handful of hardcore explorers... Metz delivers a spectacularly descriptive travelogue ... An intense treat for armchair adventurers and renegade backpackers." — Kirkus Reviews
"Beautifully captures the vastness of Alaska - and the determination of the human spirit." - Sheryl Kayne, author of Volunteer Vacations Across America and Immersion Travel USA
"Wow! I opened the book and found myself in the heart of Alaska's wild frontier, something I can only dream of doing." - Kevin Runolfson, author of The Things You Find on the Appalacian Trail
"This is a thrilling, true life adventure story that has not only outdoorsman/author Dave Metz on the edge, but also the reader." - Craig Reed, features editor, The News Review
I created this site to introduce people to my travels across the Brooks Range of Alaska. I spent three seperate seasons trying to traverse the entire range. In 2007 I spent four months skiing and hiking from the northwest coast to the Dalton Highway and in the summer of 2009 I spent two more months trying to trek from the Dalton Highway to the Canadian border, but fell short at the Sheenjek River, where I built a log raft and tried to float out. In 2012, I finished my traverse of the Brooks Range, hiking from Arctic Village to Old Crow, Canada in 27 days and losing 20 pounds. It was the end for me. With my surviving dog Will I arrived in Old Crow on the last leg of our journey after loosing my othe dog Jimmy to lymphoma only a few months before.
From Crossing the Gates ofAlaska:
The vastness of the land makes my jaw drop and I wonder how I will walk out of here with so little food. I look northeast, far down the Killik River Valley. It stretches almost straight for four days walking time before veering north where it vanishes through some final jagged mountains and then spills its water out onto the sprawling arctic plain. Behind me, and flowing southward, is the Alatna River. Three hard days hiking that way and I would reach the edge of the spruce forest that covers much of Alaska south of there. I might make it to the village of Alatna, one hundred miles down-river if I were to leave now, while I still have food left. I'm already raked thin from rationing a backpack full of food and marching eight hours a day. Instead of heading south though, I choose to stick with my original northern route. As the crow flies, I'm about eighty miles from the village of Anaktuvuk Pass. I will have to hike across treeless terrain so exposed that if feels like the wind could pick me up and carry me over the farthest mountains. I get the chills looking back at the harrowing passes I've already come through. I don't look back for long. I will have to move forward, or starve.
From Afoot in the Midnight Sun
Bears rarely prey on people, but when they do it’s a horrendous death. Bears kill by biting your skull over and over until you stop moving, and they might start eating you before you’re actually dead. Bears defending themselves account for most attacks on people. Get too close and startle a grizzly, and there’s a chance he’ll charge and disable you before fleeing. Bears are highly capable killers, so in defense they often attack.
A grizzly bear can weigh over a thousand pounds, smell his prey out of the air from three miles away, and roll over a seven hundred pound metal dumpster like it’s a beach ball. Man-eaters are rare, a freak of nature gone askew; a desperate old bear trying to find food perhaps.
I’m headed into bear country and though I’ve yet to see a bear, I know they’re out there, roaming and looking for an easy meal. I try to keep all this in the back of my mind, but also to remember it and know that a bear could be almost anywhere in Alaska.
From 2012 and a new book I'm writing.
I’m still following the same heading, marching over one wooded ridge after another, on and on, forever it seems, with a new ridge taking shape every day far off in the hazy distance. I hike up one lengthy, gradual slope covered with spruce and brush, then head down the other side, sometimes using my hands as I walk to part the brush in front of me, like swimming. I begin swimming for hours, floundering and unable to see any landmarks ahead. Much of the time the brush is sopping wet and I quickly become drenched and cold. It’s merciless country, and since I can never see a mountain on the horizon to zero in on, I feel suffocated in the brush because it’s strewn clear across the immensity of the land, and I must somehow make it through.