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Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

Oops! Somehow the year got away from me, and now it’s December 1 and I haven’t posted an update here since 2016… So, without further ado, here’s everything I wrote this year.

Back in January, The Walrus published the last in my series of short dispatches from Nunavut: Running the Road to Nowhere. Sticking with the northern theme, in February I wrote a quick hit for Hakai about a new study of Arctic shipping patterns, and for Pacific Standard I interviewed Alethea Arnaquq-Baril about her excellent and important documentary, Angry Inuk. I also wrote a short, fun dispatch for Up Here about life on Arctic Internet Time.

In late winter I had a traffic jam of features coming out all in a row. For Longreads, I profiled an elite birder and explored our need to classify and categorize the world around us: Bird Man. For Esquire, I attempted to cure my fear of heights by learning to rock climb: Exposure Therapy and the Fine Art of Scaring the Shit Out of Yourself On Purpose. For Seattle Met, I looked back at the aftermath of the Tunnel Creek avalanche (of “Snow Fall” fame) five years later: After the Fall. And for Outside, I wrote about a wild endurance climbing competition in the Ozarks: Headbangers Wall.

I also reviewed Dan Egan’s new book, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, for the Globe and Mail. (You should read it, it’s great!) And I really enjoyed writing this short dispatch for Pacific Standard about a communal sunset in Arches National Park.

In the summer, Up Here published my short profile of a woman who built an Arctic archive on Baffin Island: The Accidental Archivist. Outside dispatched me to the Kenai Peninsula to cover another extremely rugged event: Mount Marathon is the Toughest 5K on the Planet. And Amazon published my Kindle Single about a disastrous 1928 Arctic airship expedition – it’s available for purchase for just a couple of bucks, and I’d be thrilled if you checked it out: Mussolini’s Arctic Airship. (That’s the U.S. Amazon site. And here’s the link for Canadians.)

That’s it! Roughly 38,000 words, less than half my usual output in the last few years, but my goal has been to get to a place where I can write less and still pay the bills. (I’ve got a few things slated to come out in January that I’ve already written as well. Stay tuned.)

Still a month to go, but happy almost-New Year!

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Since I last updated the website (I know, I know) I’ve had a heap of new stuff published. In July, I had three magazine pieces appear: In Canadian Geographic, I wrote a short feature about my experience riding with the bike couriers of Montreal. (The story’s not online, but there’s a short accompanying blog post.) For Outside, I reviewed Blair Braverman’s wonderful new memoir, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube. And for Southwest: The Magazine’s national parks issue, I wrote about scattering my mom’s ashes in Canyonland National Park. (The story starts on page 74.)

For Hakai, a new-ish Canadian online magazine based on Vancouver Island, and dedicated to “coastal science and society,” I wrote a quick thing about coastal horror movies, and something longer about a Nunavut community’s fight against oil and gas development – and how Greenpeace got involved.

I wrote a handful of online pieces for The Walrus: dispatches from Pond Inlet and Cambridge Bay, in Nunavut, and a look at the Yukon’s recent territorial election.

I stepped down as a contributing editor for Up Here at the end of May, but I’m still writing for the magazine occasionally – including a profile of my old mining crew chief, a quick dispatch from the Royal Tour, and this short essay about going to survival school.

As always, I’ve got lots more coming soon…

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As promised, here’s my feature from the latest issue of Pacific Standard – it’s about the implications of a growing cruise industry in the Northwest Passage, with a focus on what that industry could mean for the people who actually live in the Arctic. I hope you’ll check it out!

There are a couple of online extras to go with the story: A selection of photos from my Northwest Passage cruise last summer, and an interview with the marine biologist who is studying the impact of increased shipping on narwhal in the region.

I also wrote about my most memorable afternoon on the cruise for Up Here: A Meal in Franklin Strait.

I don’t have a ton of stories in the about-to-be-published end of the pipeline right now, but I have a lot of reporting/travel planned for the summer. So stay tuned!

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After a long lull, I’ve had a few new stories drop in the last month.

For Longreads, I sat down (well, virtually sat down) with ace freelancers Jason Fagone, Josh Dean, and May Jeong to talk about the business of freelance writing.

Here’s a short essay I wrote for Up Here’s sports issue about the steep learning curve of outdoor sports in the Yukon: Swimming in Cold Water.

And I wrote a dispatch for The Walrus about the challenges of maintaining natural golf greens at 64 degrees north.

I also wrapped up my year-long Pacific Standard column, Dispatches From a Changing Arctic, with one last entry. But that’s not the last you’ll hear from me at Pacific Standard – my print feature story about the impact of a growing cruise industry in the Northwest Passage is due out in May! The photo above was from my incredible cruise through the Passage last summer…

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What I Wrote in 2015

I wrote an estimated 100,000 words over this last twelve months. Here are some highlights:

Throughout the year, I wrote a biweekly online column for Pacific Standard about the changing Arctic environment (and how its residents are engaging with those changes): Dispatches From a Changing Arctic. It wraps up in the next few weeks.

Way back in the January issue of Up Here, I wrote about the mysterious appeal of the Yukon Arctic Ultra: Cold Hard Competition. And my story about surfing (or trying to surf) in Tofino ran in the January issue of AFAR: The Far Side.

February and March were busy. I chronicled the rise and fall of the greatest comment section on the internet for Longreads: ‘It’s Yours’: A Short History of the Horde. I mourned the loss of Alaska’s ferry bars for Hazlitt. Over at Deadspin, I asked: What happens to enforcers when hockey uses them up? And I had a lot of fun digging into the history of the lost sport of ski ballet for Grantland (RIP).

One of my favorite stories this year was Unclimbable, for SB Nation Longform. It’s about an amazing group of young climbers I met while traveling in the Northwest Territories in 2014. (It comes with amazing photos by GPB Creative; hire them for all the things.) Also for SB Nation, I wrote about my experience in an extreme endurance canoe race, the Yukon River Quest: Hellbent, But Not Broken. (Photos in this case were by Joel Krahn; give your money to him, also!)

In June, Hazlitt published my story about Ramona Wilson, one of too many young women who’ve gone missing or been found murdered along British Columbia’s Highway of Tears. My story about the Yukon’s landmark Peel watershed land management case appeared in Up Here’s August issue: The Battle For The Peel. And on a lighter note, I wrote about Whitehorse’s own Garbage Truck Santa for The Walrus.

Apart from my column, I didn’t write or publish much in the last few months of the year – I tried to take some time off after my mom’s death. I’ve got big things coming in 2016, though! Happy New Year.

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MORE New Stories

First up, a new feature for Up Here – Seeking Klondike Gold, With Drones.

Second, an essay for Deadspin about the intersection of hockey, fighting, and substance abuse: What Happens to Enforcers When Hockey Uses Them Up?

My most recent Pacific Standard column is about GROLAR BEARS!

And finally, a really fun-to-research piece for Grantland about a forgotten winter sport: The Rise and Fall of Ski Ballet.

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It’s been a busy few weeks. I came back from Ottawa late in January, and less than two weeks later I hit the road again to follow the Yukon Quest sled dog race to Fairbanks (by car, not by trail). I’ve been home for a little over a week now, catching up on sleep, email, etc.

Meanwhile, I’ve had a few new pieces published.

My story about surfing in Tofino is in the latest issue of AFAR. It’s available online, but pick up the print version if you can – the photo spread/layout they put together is gorgeous.

For Longreads, I wrote about how The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates built a unique and important corner of the internet – in his comments section. It’s Yours: A Short History of The Horde.

My story about the 2015 Yukon Quest, with wonderful photos by Katie Orlinsky, is up online at National Geographic: Survival is the Ultimate Goal in World’s Toughest Sled Dog Race.

Alaska will no longer have bars on its state ferries. I wrote an obituary for them over at Hazlitt.

And my biweekly column for Pacific Standard is now through its second month. They’re all collected here.

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