Exposure

Finding Solitude and Wilderness in the Canadian Yukon

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Photo: Bruno Augsburger
Ever since Swiss photographer Bruno Augsburger discovered the Canadian Yukon Territory in 2000, he's made it his goal to spend as much time there as possible. Augsburger will spend weeks alone in the wilderness, relying on bushcraft skills to survive. His new book, Out There, is a visual collection of those solo months as he travels through the often untouched Yukon.

Photo: This is one of my simple snow shelters. It protected me from a cold wind during a sled dog-expedition. But if the conditions are better, I prefer to sleep under open skies as I don’t mind the cold.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
The Chilkat Tlingit traders and later the prospectors of the Klondike gold rush used the Haines Highway to Alaska as a trail. Today, it's probably one of the few highways you could still use as a trail because it gets so little traffic. Bears often take advantage of the empty road, feeding on the roots and plants along the highway.
This is some of the summer and autumn equipment I store in my cabin in the Yukon. From there I head out on foot or with the canoe to set up camp in the woods or the mountains. Everything is more intense in the bush.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
Peaceful and surreal at the same time. Twenty minutes after I took this shot, a storm hit my camp. It snowed all night and I had to keep shoveling the tent free.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
When the birds begin to migrate, the first snow cannot be far away. These Canada geese will spend the winter in the southern United States or Mexico.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
I believe hunting is the most honest way of consuming meat. In September, the moose come out in the open and we head out with a canoe and set up a bush camp. For one to two weeks, we only whisper, experiencing every sound and every movement. This intensity is what draws me to the Yukon.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
When the beautiful creature finally lies beneath me, I feel humble.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
Two men need around six hours to gut, skin, and cut a full-grown moose. It's a risky period as the scent can attract grizzlies and other predators. Most incidents between humans and bears in the Yukon happen on the hunt.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
Lots of water and willows make for ideal moose habitat. In the fall, I often come here to hear the cows calling the bulls. Imitating their sounds is essential for the hunt.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
Fish is one of my favorite protein sources when I’m out—they're easy to catch and they don’t have to be gutted and skinned. You can buy the most expensive rod, find the perfect place, choose the perfect time—and yet there's no guarantee that you'll come away successful. This uncertainty mesmerizes me.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
When no headlines reach you and nobody can contact you, books are important companions. I always take one along when I’m out, such as Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Sometimes I read only one or two pages in the morning and have the words in mind all day long.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
I cut wood to prepare for winter. It goes hand-in-hand with clearing the forest around the cabin, protection from wildfires in the next season. I light huge piles like this when snow covers the ground and I don't have to worry about fire danger.
Indian summer up north.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
Absolute purity: crystal clear water and soft moss, most likely never touched by a human being.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
When snow or fog reduces visibility, the horizon and reference points disappear. To experience it is both disturbing and beautiful—you want to flee and stay put at the same time.
Photo: Bruno Augsburger
Even though temperatures can drop to 58 below, I love the Yukon winter. There are no bugs to bite you and no bears to look out for. I've had several experiences with grizzlies coming into my summer camp, so I sleep deeper when they're hibernating. The snow can also be helpful to navigate on foot during winter. In the summer, I'm limited to the animal trails as the smooth-looking meadows are almost always swampy and impassable.

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