"Rules of Thumb" is the day-by-day story of my Alaska-to-NY journey from May-June 2007.
Rules of Thumb
Rule of Thumb #1: Prepare for anything. Failure especially.
Rule of Thumb #2: Even drivers who say, "If you're gettin' in my truck, you're gonna fuck" may not be so bad.
Rule of Thumb #3: Avoid drivers who "just got out" [of prison]
Rule of Thumb #4: Avoid situations like being commissioned getaway driver in the mission to traffic "Joey" out of town
Rule of Thumb #5: Bring lots of stuff
Rule of Thumb #6: Shatter your fears. Know the unknown
Rule of Thumb #7: To be poor in things is to be free of them
Rule of Thumb #8: Listening is an art form
Rule of Thumb #9: When there's no other alternative, walk
Rule of Thumb #10: When there's nowhere to sleep, start turning knobs
Rule of Thumb #11: No storm, no sunshine
Rule of Thumb #12: Trust
Click here to read my "How to hitchhike FAQ"
I have lived in Alaska for periods over the last seven years, working as a lodge cleaner, cook, tour guide, and backcountry ranger. The following essays were written in 2009 during my second season as a backcountry ranger.
6/1/09- Training week for us rangers.
6/12/09- Reflections on mosquitoes.
6/22/09- Some fairly close encounters with beaver and wolf.
7/3/09- I see James' Suburban. One of my inspirations behind vandwelling.
7/4/09- My beard is 65 days old.
7/31/09- I patrol the Arrigetch Peaks.
8/6/09- I get stalked by a black bear.
8/25/09- I canoe down the Noatak River. Grizzly and caribou encounters.
8/30/09- I packraft down the Charley River and visit the site of a famous plane crash. [This story was added in January of 2011.]
10/30/09- I discuss Chris McCandless of Into the Wild-fame.
8/3/10- I write a letter to my old park complaining about the installation of four weather monitoring stations
I moved back to Coldfoot, Alaska in June 2011 to write my book.
6/4/11- I arrive in AK
6/6/11- Couple photos of animals in Denali
6/9/11- A tour of my new home.
6/13/11- Sightings of fox and porcupine
6/15/11- Couple pictures of the McCandless bus.
6/25/11- Pictures of my 2-day hike up Slate Creek Trail
7/5/11- Pictures from the Continental Divide in the Brooks Range
7/19/11- Thoughts on being the "Writer in Resident"
7/25/11- My best friend Josh is involved in a National Scandal
8/4/11- My friend Josh Spice and me take an exploratory trip up Nuterwik Creek
8/6/11- Some more reflections on Josh's national scandal
8/7/11- I get paid well for writing for the first time. Plus some reflections on campus farms and sustainability education.
8/8/11- I take some odd jobs in the arctic to save a little money.
8/13/11- The owner of the camp asks me if I can fill in and work at Deadhorse for a couple weeks
8/15/11- First impressions of my new home, Deadhorse
8/21/11- I'm washing spoons now. Existential crisis, here I come.
8/30/11- I packraft the Sag River for three days
9/12/11- I try to packraft to the Arctic Ocean, but run out of time. Must, then, sneak through the hyper secure Prudhoe Bay oilfields.
10/5/11- A pina colada almost kills me. I leave Deadhorse.
10/9/11- I spend a couple weeks in a small village called Ferry
10/15/11- I move back to Coldfoot for a week to do a little guiding. Here's a tour of the camp.
I join Occupy Wall Street for a week.
10/22/11- I take a flight to NYC. Some first impressions of Occupy Wall Street
10/24/11- A tour of Zuccotti Park (or Liberty Plaza)
10/24/11- A march to end "stop and frisk"
10/26/11- The many initiatives of OWS
10/27/11- A tour of Zuccotti (Part II)
10/27/11- I take some footage of a march
10/28/11- We get rained on and raided
11/2/11- I publish an article in Salon about my week in Zuccotti
11/7/11- Some more thoughts on the movement