You know that special feeling when you meet a stranger during an adventure, form a bond, vow to keep in touch—and then the whole thing fizzles out? Don’t feel alone. As Chuck Thompson explains, firefly relationships are an outdoor rite of passage, and in their own strange way, they’re magic.
For more than 40 years, tribal chief and artist Roy Vickers was obsessed with a totem pole that was taken from a remote native village in British Columbia. He decided to make a replica, and all he needed was will, skill, and a 17,500-pound tree.
Most of us hit the outdoors seeking calm and quiet, but Chuck Thompson prefers to blast a little 38 Special by his campfires. Still, even a rustic headbanger like him has to wonder if the coming age of total connectivity in otherwise wild places is good for bees, beasts, and man.
For years, Chuck Thompson dreamed of picking some random spot on the map of British Columbia and plunging in for an adventure. He got all he could handle and more on the Klinaklini River, a Class V rager that cuts through heavily forested wilderness north of Mount Waddington. In fact, he's lucky he got out alive.