Nick Jans

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No Caribou

An Arctic Miracle on Hold Seth Kantner and I sat, leaning into our binoculars. The sandy knoll commanded a huge sweep of autumn-bright country—rolling tundra banded with willow and spruce, framed by the ragged,...

Cruising Alaska in the Time of COVID

I stood at a railing of the Majestic Princess on a still July morning. Clouds wreathed familiar peaks; gulls wheeled, seals and salmon swirled, and the land glowed green with the southeast Alaskan summer....

An Ode to Tents Past and Present

Snapped out of an exhausted sleep, I rolled over in my frost-coated sleeping bag. What the hell was that? A deep-bellied rumble echoed down the canyon. My friends Lynn and Carol stirred awake as...

The Plane! Bush Communities Rely on Air Service

I pause in my outside chores and cock my ear—a faint, whirring roar from downriver. Across the village of Ambler, folks are doing the same; or maybe they heard the announcement on their always-on...

Alaska to Ourselves

I stood where a river poured out of a mountain-edged lake, rod raised high, feeling my jig swing downstream, then settle as it crossed an eddy line. Tap…tap…then a weightless instant. A big, bright...

An Alaska Immersion Worth the Wait

I stood shivering outside the Juneau airport, fighting down a sneezing fit, having just enjoyed my second COVID-19 test swab in three days. Fewer than 24 hours before, I’d boarded a jet in Orlando,...

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...

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