Monday, July 23, 2007

Miscellaneous Comments and Questions Section

If you've got anything else to say that doesn't seem to fit anywhere else, it can go here.


  1. Anonymous10:23 AM

    General question for you Buck but I wasn't sure the best place to ask? I read your section about you. I'm wondering if there were early influences from books or people you knew that interested you in becoming quite the adventurer.My father is from Minnesota and it seems just about everyone hunts/fishes/tramp around in the snow for fun. Just wondering.

  2. I guess my dad was probably my major influence. He liked being out in the woods and on the river and observing animals and birds and the like. The family would go to the North Shore of Lake Superior every August and my dad and brother and I would hike way back in to fish for brook trout. That was always a great adventure for us. My parents got me a book about the mountain men when I was little and that really interested me.

    I guess all of us are exposed to many types of experiences when we are kids and develop our own interests for a variety of reasons.

    It's a great discovery when a person learns that regular people can have some genuine adventures if they just go for it.

  3. Hello Buck. This question may not be appropriate at this site but I might as well ask anyway. I was wondering if you have any advice for a person thinking of moving to Alaska and trying to find a place to live in the wilderness; like a small cabin similar to your own. I am from Wisconsin and I just can't seem to find enough unspoiled wilderness here. I would appreciate any helpful advice you have on doing this. Thank You

  4. Hi jrieks,

    If it's really something you want to do you might consider coming to Alaska to check things out before you move into the wilderness. Private land is limited in many areas for cabin building. And to be truthful, the vast majority of people find the idea of living in the true wilderness is not as much fun as the theory.

    I like my little cabin, but it's an easy drive into Fairbanks. Still, the idea of spending a year or more in the deep wildernss in your own little cabin is very appealing, and it still is possible today for those who want to give it a whirl.

    Best of luck,


  5. Hey Bruce,

    Just finished reading Into the Wild (I know, I know), thought of you and wondered what you were up to these days...and stumbled across your blog!

    Texas has started to cool, the maples are changing and I have started clearing brush again. The photo business has really taken off and I am busier than ever.

    Hope all is well with you. Drop me an email and let me know what you're doing.


    Your cousin Tom!

  6. Hi Tom,

    I haven't seen Into the Wild Yet. An email is on the way.

    Everyone else, Tom is a great photographer. You can check out some of his work here:


  7. Anonymous6:05 AM

    Hey Buck, Just found your blog and the stories of your adventures and travels. Great Stuff!
    There are a few of us adventerous souls that would like to travel the Mississippi from Minnesota some place to La in/on a pontoon boat. depending on how many actually find the time and nerve, maybe two boats. Anyway, reading your story of the Mississippi and another guy that did something similar, we are worried about "fall" and such that would prevent a pontoon boat from passing. We could portage a canoe or two, but a pontoon boat is another story and just might mess up a good trip.
    Comments or advice??
    Also, we plan to just put along with the current, fast enough to steer, but not use a lot of fuel. Is fuel available as you travel down the river?
    We actually don't need to start at the first wet spot in Minnesota, just where there is plenty of water and wide enought to pass through.
    Any advice and/or comments appreciated. We will be trailering from N Georgia.
    Thanks in advance
    WJ Smith

  8. Hi WJ,

    If I'm not mistaken, the furthest downriver you could launch a pontoon boat without dealing with portages would be Coon Rapids
    (basically the Twin Cities.) If you want to do the river above that point, you could always canoe to there, then take your pontoon boat from that point on.

    Fuel is available along the river, although since I wasn't fueling I don't have specifics.

    The current is pretty good below St. Louis. From the Minneapolis to St. Louis you'll find plenty of very slow water.

    Good luck with your adventure. Let us know if you go.


  9. carlos7:49 PM

    Hello Buck, I was your video "Alone Across Alaska" and i think you are a really brave person. The video shows that you had several encounter with bears. I have done hiking alone in the wilderness and i have had just one encounter with a black bear (not too big) and it ran away as soon as he saw me. however, in your video i can see that the bears approached to you in an menacing way and they even were running towards you. How did you make it out and safe from those encounters? did yelling "hey bear" was enough for it?

    i love hiking an outdoors but i always think about an encounter with a bear as one of the most scary situations it can happen to me. it is probably because i am kinda short person and i dont think that rising my arms and yelling will scare to the bears, specially the big male ones.

    thanks in advance for your response.

  10. Hi Carlos,

    I think most people are scared of bears to a certain degree. They are very large predators and needless to say there is a certain amount of danger during encounters.

    But it is even more natural for bears to be scared of humans. For every human a bear kills, humans kill tens of thousands of bears. People have been killing bears for a very long time and fear of humans is a powerful instinct. Most of those bears that looked menacing did not really realize I was a person yet. Bears have fairly bad eyesight. Yelling at them certainly helped, but most of them ran when they smelled me and knew for sure I was a person. Standing on a rock, holding up a hiking pole like a weapon, wearing a pack, holding open an unzipped jacket; all make a person more intimidating to a bear. Some of those bears were several times as big as me. They were mainly scared of me because I was a human, and they would have been just as scared of you if you'd acted the same way.

  11. Buck,

    I'm looking at an Canon Optura 600 camera (the one you used on your Brooks Traverse) on Ebay right now, and I'm just much use did you get out of the battery between chargings? How long did it take to recharge it with your solar panel? Thanks.

  12. These are all estimates as I never actually timed these things, but the standard battery lasted maybe 45 minutes. I usually used it as a backup. The extended life battery I bought lasted perhaps an hour and a half.

    Of course, temps and how you are using the camera all affect battery life, too.

    It's a similar situation with charging. I'd estimate that on a clear, bright sunny day with the sun high in the sky it would take about 2-3 hours to recharge the long life battery. It would take much longer with "weaker" sunlight.

    Overall the two batteries and that solar charger did the trick though and I was very happy with that setup. On a normal summer with more sun it would have worked even better.

  13. Been checking out some of your cool stories. I myself have hiked in Alaska (and plan to do so many more times). I am planning an AT thru-hike in the summer southbound and stumbled upon your advice for thru hikers on your website. My question: I noticed you selected a thermarest 3/4 sleeping pad. Why 3/4 instead of full length? and how would you compare them other than weight/space obviously.

  14. Hi Jonah,

    Most people who are going very light in backpacking will choose a 3/4 pad for size and weight reduction, as you mentioned. Usually something like an empty pack is used to prop up your feet. For most people that tends to work well and be comfortable.

    For lots of good reviews on sleeping pads and other backpacking gear, check out this link: