Have you ever been scared to poop? Then you’ve never been here. A place so lawless and wild that it is a life-saving requirement to excuse yourself from breakfast with a loaded shotgun. Most people who have been attacked by bears recount a scenario where there is no time to even think. It all happens so fast that drawing a shotgun or bear spray is rarely an option.
I’ll be candid and tell you that this trip was expensive. We had to fly into the middle of nowhere, then hire a pilot to fly us further into the middle of nowhere. The float plane would have to be filled with gear we didn’t own and couldn’t afford, so that we could survive 10 days floating down a river in a place where you carry a shotgun to take a dump.
As a group of filmmakers, we spend an immense amount of time watching other people do cool stuff, both behind the camera and replayed thousands of times in editing software. It was our turn.
Sometimes taking life by the horns is tough to organize, scary and prohibitively expensive, but you won’t be complaining about any of that when you’re 100 miles from the nearest road floating down a river catching rainbow trout with mouse flies.
The fishing in Alaska is as good or better than anywhere I have ever been. Every summer, millions of salmon return from the ocean to the rivers. They are the lifeblood of everything around this remote stream. As we float through pools choked with salmon, it’s sad to think that at one time this was a common sight from California through Washington.
We came all this way to see what those places in the lower 48 might have looked like. There’s a sad but real thought in my head that the only reason we came here was to see this river before it suffered a familiar fate.
We collectively have traveled the world to film all kinds of wild places, but there was something about Alaska that felt slightly more wild than anywhere. None of us had headphones to check the audio, or one eye fixed to a camera monitor.
The tall grass of the tundra-like river bank stretches for miles, blowing back and forth in the wind, which is keeping the mosquitos away.
Our lives haven’t been this quiet for some time, I think to myself with my pants around my ankles. While it might be scary, this is the best poop I have taken all year.