In Search of Ptarmigan


Lessons in feathers and freedom

Picture it: You’re in the mountains of Alaska, out where the trail ends and the air tastes unused. You’ve forgotten what a crummy week you just had. You’ve even forgotten the cramping protests in your right thigh and the 10 miles you’ll have to hike back to the truck. Here in the mountains, you’re just an animal; a pair of lungs and a circuit of senses, raw and unfettered, living second to second. Same as the ptarmigan you so desperately chase.

This was me last September. I was halfway up a scree slope on the Kenai Peninsula, and my heart was thumping like a

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