Random Essays

A Single-Handed Circumnavigation In A Vertue Sloop

A Single-Handed Circumnavigation In A Vertue Sloop

In 1985, I left Juneau, AK on a small wooden sailboat--a Vertue--and sailed her around the world. Years later, I gave a talk about the single-handed circumnavigation at The Explorers Club in New York City. Watch my talk here: An Errant Circumnavigation.  I didn't end...

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Supper’s Sting

It’s dark when I get home. I leave the car at the end of the driveway where I shoveled out a space for it and hike into the cabin. The stars are brilliant, my only light as I wade through the snow.

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At Home

The chainsaw lies on its side on clean newspaper on the unblemished concrete floor of the neatly organized basement.

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I was lucky there were no witnesses when I tried to push an overloaded Succotash out the door. I forgot to shift her into low gear before I started up the driveway and I had to walk her up to the road.

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We Meet

When I first saw Kainui, I was disappointed. Like your first date with a cover girl sans airbrush and Photoshop.

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How It Started

The ridge was high, snow covered and buried in cloud. Below us, below the cloud, was Juneau, home. I followed Don, muscling my skis into sudden turns when rocks jutted through crusty snow.

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First Career

I was stumbling around Tel Aviv, my gut host to a writhing community of bugs, worms and Dysentarymicrobes picked up from a half year in Africa.

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Taking Off

Dad faced two chairs knee to knee and offered me one. “You tell me that your problem is being with people.” “Yeah.” If I were a burr and you a wool sock, I wouldn’t stick to you.

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The Yukon

I’m a radical secular materialist, I don’t believe there is any higher power meddling, for good or ill, in my life. There are, however, two aspects of my life where I don’t poke at the metaphysics too much.

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British Columbia

Another three days and I reached the turn onto the Cassier Highway. This road runs south behind the coastal mountains for 750 miles to the Yellowhead…

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By the time I had done my shopping, packed up, and found my way to the back parking lot of the massive Victorian Banff Hotel where the north end of the Great Divide Trail begins, it was past noon on July 29.

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I was twenty-one hundred miles out of Juneau when I arrived at the Montana border. If you haven’t been through a land border in recent years, you’re in for a surprise.

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The Great Divide slices off only a sliver of Idaho—less than 80 miles. Mountain bikes are not permitted off road in National Parks, so the Trail couldn’t go through either Yellowstone or Grand Teton.

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Two days later, as I headed east from the Grand Tetons, the clouds lowered and let loose a fine drizzle.

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The wind piled into us as soon as we got out of Rawlins and up onto the high treeless plain south of the town.

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New Mexico

October 3rd should have been my last day in Colorado, and when I crossed the border into New Mexico, it was momentous moment—my last state, the trip was nearing its end.

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