Nobody had ever done it before: Hike, ski, and raft 4,679 miles through eight national parks, dozens of mountain ranges, and the length of the Yukon territory. Then along came Andrew Skurka.
"Accustomed to capturing his thoughts with a video camera, he recorded a stream-of-consciousness monologue about the caribou, the weather, and his sense of smallness, of being at the mercy of nature just as everything around him was and always would be. Tears flowed again.
"I haven't figured out why I'm crying," he says into the camera, "why the sight of these trails made me cry… I'm just like these guys. I'm just a creature on this Earth."
Even after the trip, he's still not sure. But he knows the tears weren't the same as the ones he'd shed near Slana. During the time I spent with Skurka, I never asked him what he was after, because he'd already shown me, in writing, in miles and ounces and hours. I don't know whether the moment with the caribou, so raw and moving, indicated that he'd found something deeper, but given how far he'd traveled and how difficult the journey had been, there was little doubt that Andrew Skurka had discovered something new.
"I was humbled," he says. And that small realization was as big as anything he's ever felt."
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Photo Gallery of the Trek...