Breaking the Crust

I find the pull of open spaces strong enough to lead me away from warmth.

In the fall of 1985, about six months after I had skied across Yellowstone Park alone for the first time, a woman called me from Los Angeles. Someone had told her about my 14-day trip and she said she was interested in doing a Hollywood film about it. She had a lot of questions. I told her some of the stories: wading the Snake River half naked at 5 degrees, sleeping in snowbanks under a thin tarp at 35 below zero, traveling three days during a major blizzard through wild country without a map or compass, hearing my own heartbeat any time of the day or night, and no communication or rescue plan if I got hurt.

She was intrigued as I told her stories for about 45 minutes. Then she asked me if I ever thought I was going to die. I said “no.” She said “thank you” and hung up.

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