Farewell Putyuk

WE BETTER GET GOING,” ALVIN WILLIAMS SAID “Daylight’s burning.” A dozen of us stood with shovels and axes on a snow-covered knoll on the  south side of the Kobuk River, five miles below the Inupiaq village of Ambler.  Weathered wooden crosses rose through the drifts; before us, a rectangle of cleared ground. My companions had known Clarence Wood all their lives. I, the oldest and sole naluagmiu—white man—had known him four decades, as my traveling partner and friend. Most of…

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Wolf Grin

I was sitting with several photographers on the Katmai Coast on an early June day in 2015, waiting for a big male brown bear to wander closer. Someone said, “There’s a wolf coming up behind us!” And sure enough, up trotted this young male, to within ten feet of me. His eyes had a very familiar look to them; reminded me of a certain black wolf I knew, you know? Maybe it was because I was closest; but he gazed…

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Spent a quiet half hour near this gorgeous male grizzly in early October, just a few feet off the Alaska Highway near Kluane Lake. I’d just driven hundreds of miles through the first snow of the season, heading south from Fairbanks to Haines There was a tremendous wind ripping whitecaps across the lake, and this bear was peacefully browsing on berries and starchy roots. He was fully aware of me but calm and almost sociable.

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Starry Night

Took this shot from my yard in Ambler, AK this past September. Just a few spectacular moments out of a night that was lit by faint to moderate auroral displays. Reminds me of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” with all that swirling motion. If you look closely, you can see the Kobuk River glinting in the middle distance.

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Nick Jans: Summing Things Up

Many people are familiar with the name Nick Jans. For more than 25 years he’s written about his experiences in various parts of the state for Alaska Magazine. From those essays and other experiences, he’s published 12 books. A recent work A Wolf Called Romeo captured a slot on the New York Times Best Seller list. A long time back, I  interviewed Jans when he came out with his first book, The Last Light Breaking. It described and celebrated his…

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Halfway House

So here Sherrie, dogs, and I are, on the summer solstice, the one-month anniversary of moving to Haines—more precisely, to a gravel lane off Chilkat Lake road, just after mile 26 on the Haines Highway, about 10 miles shy of the Canadian border. Our five-acre homestead perches on a knoll a half mile off the Klaheni River—a post-and-beam horse barn with a small but pleasant cabin-like apartment upstairs, and a 450-square-foot yurt (a semi-permanent, wood-framed, circular tent) 200 yards down…

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A Wolf Called Romeo

At last, after seven years of living the story of Romeo the wolf, and another three years of writing and interviews and research and review and seemingly endless edits and re-writes and revisions, A Wolf Called Romeo is complete, and being shipped to bookstores across the country. The first-print hardcover edition, which I held in my hands for the first time a couple of weeks ago, looks gorgeous. I know you’d expect me to say so, but really, I’ve seldom…

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Nick Jans
HC 60 Box 2628
Haines, AK 99827


“A Wolf Called Romeo is one of the best books I’ve read in a great many years. It gives heart-wrenching insight into an amazing animal, important insight into the shining side of our relationship with that animal, and important if bitter insight into the dark side….Riveting, a real page turner– one that years from now you will remember in all its detail. If you have only the time to read one book, read this one.”
Elizabeth Marshall ThomasAuthor of The Hidden Life of Dogs and A Million Years With You
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