Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Note From Darrell

To my Family and Friends:

How do I speak to this trip, this experience, this journey of a life time and how I feel to be complete with it? To write or talk about such a purely emotional state can only partially express the visceral delight that courses through this totally under human powered achievement. Nine years, six thousand miles – the miles alone are only significant in light of what I have learned along the way. Learning that stepping out on faith in the face of “not knowing” offers a unique chance to experience a greater richness of life both internal and external then I could have ever perceived.

I can never say it often enough how important it has been to receive the support from all who found interest in following my personal quest. I thank you with the utmost sincerity.

I will continue to post more details about the trip on my website and blog as I sift through the many pages of written journal entries, photos and personal reflections in the weeks and months to come. I will also be offering accounts of my adventure through slide show presentations and personal writings and maybe even a book. No promises on that last one right away.

Thanks for listening and stay turned.

I am well, very well,

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Final Steps

In an emotional moment, Darrell greets us from the shore of the Arctic
Ocean, having taken the final steps of his almost decade-long Odyssey.
He takes as many records as possible to preserve the moment, and
remembers everything it took to reach this ultimate point, sharing
with us a feeling of humility in his success. Congratulations,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Home Stretch

With his goal in sight, Darrell looks to the final miles ahead of him. With tricks in the river before him, the challenges aren't over yet, and Darrell prepares for the last days of his eight-year journey. He goes over the brisk and welcoming miles of the Anatubick behind him, finding him with good weather and a few encounters with on-duty scientists and native dwellers.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Reporting from Anaktuvuk Pass

200 miles to go! After surviving winds and rain in some of the harshest places on the planet, Darrell finds shelter at the Anaktuvuk Pass, where a small community provides rest. Darrell reports on wildlife and the natural beauty he's experienced along the way, as well as his expectations for the remainder of the trek. Weather up ahead appears good, and the home stretch of the journey looks positive. With only river travel remaining, Darrell needs only to gear up before setting out once more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Peregrine Pass

After hard travels over Oolah Pass and the Itkillik River, Darrell takes a rest day at the  precipice of the north fork of the Koyukuk River to recover for the remaining miles ahead. He charts his route on his map, sizing up the next few days of travel and christening a "Gardner's Pass" for himself in honor of his conquest.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

On the edge of Gates of the Arctic National Park

In an unforgiving part of the world used to frequent rainfall and generally harsh conditions, Darrell's been blessed with three days of sunshine that's given him a gorgeous view of the mountains of the Brooks Range that he hopes to conquer. With nine days to go to Anaktuvuk Pass, he's in good spirits, ready to take the plunge into true untamed wilderness, saying good-bye to roads and civilization, putting him low on the food chain until he reaches his next destination over a week later. Tomorrow, it's wading across the Dietrich River to Kuyuktuvuk Creek and further towards his goal.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Leaving Wiseman, AK on Final Leg of Odyssey

After a final few months to prepare for the journey, with high emotions, optimism, and gratitude for all those who have followed and encouraged him, Darrell sets out from Wiseman to reach a 6,000 mile goal set over ten years ago. From here it's a difficult but breathtaking trek over Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean, a journey of hiking and rafting that will finally complete Darrell's expedition.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Letter from Darrell

Dear Family and friends,

It’s August and in arctic Alaska the Brooks Range has seen its first snow fall. And I’m back to complete the final leg of my odyssey. I will step out into the Gates of the Arctic National Park in a few days to traverse a hundred miles of some very rugged terrain between Wiseman, Alaska to Anaktuvuk Pass. Then switch to water travel solo rafting the final two hundred miles down the North Slope via the Anaktuvuk and Colville Rivers to Arctic Ocean. Don’t let the relatively short distances fool you, these final miles have the potential of being some of the most challenging of the trip given their remoteness and intact eco systems. That means bears with a capital G for grizzlies. I will be posting to my blog as often as possible using my “SPOT” beacon and satellite phone. They say there will be coverage this far north, 70 degrees north latitudes at trip's end by September 1st.

I want to thank all of you that have followed my trip over these past nine years. The personal responses sent by those of you this spring were especially encouraging as I struggled to find the right combination to successfully move forward. As I walk into this unknown, I know you are there. I hope the August where you are will reveal insights into your unknown. The metaphor for this trip has always been that my life is a journey and not a race.

All the best


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Completing Another Leg

Having connected the Yukon River with the Brooks Range, Darrell celebrates safely in Wiseman, Alaska.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

On the Way to Wiseman

Spurred on by success, the road to Wiseman looks bright.

On the Road in Coldfoot

Enjoying a well-deserved nice meal for a change in the local cafe after eight more brutal miles.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Avoiding Cold Feet on the Way to Coldfoot

With a backpack instead of a sled, snowshoeing proves fairly exhausting.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Returning to the Yukon

Learning from his previous two trials, Darrell returns for a third attempt at following the pipeline.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Full View of Brooks Range

Hard work is rewarded with a glimpse of the divine.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beginning the Third Attempt

Darrell and his trusty sled return to the pipeline route.

Yukon River Bridge

A renewed approach for braving the Yukon.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Message to Supporters, Old and New

Dear Family, Friends and Fellow Travelers,

Once again, I am blessed with the opportunity to follow my dream, my passion, of traveling north to the Arctic Ocean under my own power, under human power. My capacity to fulfill this dream is enhanced and expanded by your interest, curiosity and well wishes. Know that all of your thoughts and prayers for my safe passage are received with gratitude. I thank you.

I want to acknowledge and thank those of you that have supported my adventure since its inception in 2001. And special thanks to those who have given their support and encouragement before, during and after last year's trip from Skagway to Fort Yukon. Your generosity of spirit and honest expressions of hospitality will always remind me how open-hearted I want to be.

The question “Why am I drawn to this journey?” has offend been asked. The answer if there is one is echoed in the words of author and open ocean kayaker Chris Duff’s in his book “On Celtic Tides”.

"There have been times in my travels when I have felt touched by a feeling of being fully alive physically, emotionally and spiritually. These are moments of true harmony, places of prayer and mystery that do not necessarily answer questions, but allow my mind or soul to dwell briefly in another realm. These places to which I travel are always wild and require great effort to reach. They are places where I can only stay a short while before retreating from the exposure, both physical and emotional. I always leave with mixed feelings of having been blessed and at the same time heavy with a sadness that is half in the rising and falling of my chest and then somewhere much deeper. I know I will never return to many of these places, though, they will live forever as feelings and emotions and snapshots of memory." - Chris Duff

My journey this year, takes me back to the interior of Alaska to complete the challenge of crossing the Brooks Range and the final destination of reaching the Arctic Ocean on the Alaskan coast. My route is overland and starts now with a spring ski across the Yukon Flats and following the frozen Chandalar River up the south side of the Brooks Range. Then I will come back in August to traverse the top of the “Range” through Gates of the Arctic National Park and down the north slope by way of the Colville River to the sea. In these final legs, I will stay focused, attentive and synchronous with the rhythms of our mother earth and the four elements of earth, water, wind and fire. I feel privileged to be able to pass through this land leaving as little trace as possible with remembrances in my mind, words and images only. I will celebrate its beauty and respect the dangers that wilderness can offer up.

With that, I invite you to travel with me on this solo journey via the magic of the Internet. Just log on to and click on Darrell's Blog. You can also follow the trip on Facebook and Twitter. You will be able to locate where I am most days and plot my progress via Google Earth maps from a SPOT Connect remote tracking system and occasional real time pod casts. If you want to send me an email just click Contact Me on the website Home Page or leave a blog comment, facebook post or tweet. I will be responding to e-mails when I get back to civilization. I get a little “Bushy" when I'm out there so “bear” with me if I don't respond to you right away.

All the best,

Darrell and his big brother Bill at Togwottee Mountain Lodge, Wyoming

A slight parking problem

You wanted to haul all this snow, right?

Teton National Forest, near Jakson, Wyoming.

Snow Camping in Wyoming: Gear Testing

Snow Camping in Wyoming: The Shelter!

The Grand Tetons

The Pulk

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Going Forward From Ft Yukon

Darrell discusses his plan of attack for the Yukon Flats, Chandalar River Drainage and into the Brooks Range.