Human Journey

Scorched in a ‘Frozen Wasteland’


National Geographic grantee and contributor Jon Waterhouse, an avid paddler and Alaska Region Director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, is leading the 2010 Healing Journey down the Koyukuk River from Coldfoot to Koyukuk, Alaska. Along the way, he’s calling from the field via satellite phone to share stories with BlogWild readers of the river, the wilderness, the wildlife, and the people he encounters.

“Hi Ford, it’s Jon Waterhouse. We’re in Allakaket, Alaska today. Things are going well: Lots of wood frogs like I said in my last message.

“Today we’re having our river school with all the kids here in Allakaket, a whole crowd of them. We’re teaching them safety in canoes and safety on the water, inspiring them to do science—we’re showing them all of our science equipment.

“We’ll try to get out an email this evening with a bunch of the stories. I’m going to be speaking to a fellow who’s about 81 years old. He was born here in Allakaket and lived here all his life. That ought to be pretty cool.

“We’ll be talking to you soon, but meanwhile, here we are in beautiful Allakaket. Yesterday it was over 98 degrees on the water out there. We expect the same today. ‘Frozen wasteland’—yeah, right!

“Be expecting an email from us later today.”

Photo of people blessing the first birch-bark canoe made in Ft. Yukon, Alaska in more than 75 years by Jon Waterhouse, taken during the first Healing Journey in 2007.

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