2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – May 1999

Landscapes of the Soul: Canada's Arctic

Like your first love, you never forget your initial visit to the Arctic.

by: John Harlin

After an hour of speeding down the fjord's calm waters, the skiff slows and pulls up to a half- submerged rock. Jeff Bowman and I throw our packs ashore, then leap overboard. Immediately the outboard pulls back, and almost as quickly it melts into the slate-blue horizon. We turn slowly in place, trying to make sense of the sudden shift in our universe. A moment ago we were connected to the familiar electro-mechanical pulse of late twentieth-century life. Now we're standing alone on Baffin Island, a spectacularly empty 1,000-mile-long chunk of land in Canada's new Nunavut Territory.

We've flown thousands of miles to the northeastern corner of our continent for one ostensible reason: to trace a route up Mt. Asgard, a 3,500-foot granite spire. At least that's why Jeff invited me on this expedition. Though Jeff is a businessman from Boston and I'm a writer from Hood River, Oregon, we've somehow managed to link ropes in Yosemite, the Tetons, New Hampshire, and various rocky points between. But this would be our first adventure where backpacking to the mountain-a three-week trip-involves a greater journey than summiting it. And frankly, the lure of hiking through the foothills is the primary reason why I accepted Jeff's invitation. I wanted to come home to the Arctic, to my first true love, long ignored but never forgotten.

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

What brand boots?
Posted On: Aug 29, 2014
Submitted By: HuntersHikes
Hiking on rocks
Posted On: Aug 29, 2014
Submitted By: Silock
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions