Going to the Source


Outside magazine, August 1999


Going to the Source
Guides. Mentors. Teachers. The dedicated ones who showed us the way, who showed us how, who did it right, and who shared their passionate devotion to the wild world.

Who needs to ask directions? Not you. You're plugged in to the cell phone, the satellite-generated topo map, GPS, weather radio, personal digital assistant with a trails database accessed from the Web. We live in that exalted stage of evolution where man is liberated from his own deep cluelessness. Single-handedly you can home in on the fastest route to the next megalopolis or a waterfall or the nearest microbrew to the trailhead.

Well, sure, but can you track a cougar through the snow? Have you fought back politicians and oilmen to save a wilderness? Figured out how to preserve a grand tradition? Some directions can't be downloaded. They come from skill, rich experience, and the hero's lonely quest.

We tracked down the living archives of this knowledge. The guide who taught Sebastian Junger a certain panache and a cautionary lesson. The titan of wilderness education you've never heard of. The Stradivari of fly rods. The woman who reads wolf tracks like a novel. Taking us to the more elusive joys, they represent no less than the soul of the world outside. Unplugged.


AUTHENTICITY 101

While some of the greatest outdoorsmen are self-taught, the rest of us mortals require a more formal education. Following, enough highly regarded schools to get you jump-started on the most coveted outdoor arts, from carving a canoe paddle to bossing a pack of sled dogs.

MOUNTAINEERING:
EXUM MOUNTAIN GUIDES, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 307-733-2297
RAINIER MOUNTAINEERING, INC., Paradise, Washington, 360-569-2227
AMERICAN ALPINE INSTITUTE, Bellingham, Washington, 360-671-1505

WILDERNESS MEDICINE:
SOLO, Conway, New Hampshire, 603-447-6711

WILDERNESS SKILLS:
NOLS, Lander, Wyoming, 307-332-5300
OUTWARD BOUND, Garrison, New York, 888-882-6863

TRACKING:
THE TRACKER SCHOOL, Asbury, New Jersey, 908-479-4681
THE TRACKING PROJECT, Corrales, New Mexico, 505-898-6967

BOATBUILDING:
WOODENBOAT SCHOOL, Brooklin, Maine, 207-359-4651
THE CENTER FOR WOODEN BOATS, Seattle, Washington, 206-382-2628.

RIVER RUNNING:
O.A.R.S., Angels Camp, California, 209-736-4677

SCULLING:
CRAFTSBURY COMMON, Craftsbury Common, Vermont, 800-729-7751

TELESCOPE BUILDING:
TELESCOPE OPTICS WORKSHOP, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, 360-650-3818

WHEEL BUILDING:
BARNETT BICYCLE INSTITUTE, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 719-632-5173.

FLY ROD CONSTRUCTION:
THE FLY FACTORY, Grayling, Michigan, 517-348-5844
M.T.S. RODS, Phoenix, Arizona, 602-996-2934

FLY-FISHING:
DAVE AND EMILY WHITLOCK FLY FISHING SCHOOLS, Midway, Arkansas, 888-962-4576

MUSHING:
PLETTNER SLED DOG KENNELS, Big Lake, Alaska, 907-892-6944







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