Alaska is a State of Mind


Nick Jans, pictured here in fall 2019 on the headwaters of the Kobuk-Noatak divide, was running rivers in Florida instead of Alaska during summer 2020. Thought COVID kept him south, Jans says that “Alaska is a state of mind.”

Peering through wraiths of mist, I power around the next bend. The greens of spring glow in the fog. On a sandbar ahead, what seemed to be a log shifts, rises, and sprints with startling speed. The nine-foot gator vaults into the tannin-stained water, and a couple of turtles bail off a log. I ease up on my jet ski, watching the landlord depart with a sidelong glare my way,

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