OUTSIDERS: Nick Jans

Posted: Sunday, April 01, 2007

Age: 52

Sound off on the important issues at

Occupation: Writer/photographer

Favorite outdoor activity: Spending time out in the country, alone or with one good traveling partner.

Favorite outdoor sport: Currently it's skate skiing. Great workout and a very zen-like deal. Whenever you try too hard, you fall apart.

Favorite outdoor memory: Camping alone in an Arctic valley in the middle of a wolf pack for three days. There were a dozen animals at a rendezvous spot, and they pretty much went about their business as if I weren't there - howling, playing with each other and ravens, grooming, and so on.

Each animal had its own personality, and I was impressed by how each pack member was a sentient individual. At one point, a big male, a yearling who was the goofball of the bunch, brought a stick by the tent, as if asking me to join in. They had no business trusting me, because I was in fact a wolf hunter in those days. But not after that.

Favorite outdoor spot: There's a certain tundra hill in the Kobuk country that I've been returning to for 28 years, sort of a meditation place. The country is big and a big web of caribou trails converge there. If I could pick the last thing I ever saw in my life, it'd be that view, facing north.

Close encounter: I accidentally cornered a big male grizzly in his den in the hills north of Noatak village. All of a sudden this enormous head pops out of the hole - a very surreal, Bart-the-Bear type Hollywood experience, you know, the roaring, the big claws, the teeth. And instead of thrashing us, he galloped off down the mountain.



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