This is the story of Dave Metz's death-defying, breathtaking, and passionate journey through the Arctic outback. Driven by his lifetime reverence for the outdoors, Dave, with the help of his two beloved Airedale terrier dogs, embarks on a three-month epic of survival and astonishing determination that rivals the most daring world-class explorations.
I find myself on a gigantic trench hemmed in on both sides by peaks that look like ice-daggers from another world. The idea that I'm at the mercy of the wild sinks in. . .and I desperately want out of this endless, icebound maze.
Skiing up frozen rivers, enduring bitter nights at twenty below zero, and staggering across vast reaches of barren tundra and scrub woodlands, Metz's unprecedented 600-mile trek took him to the remotest regions of the untamed North. In frightening and stunning detail, he shows us an unwavering spirit and a compelling sense of adventure that can only be satisfied when truly free. . .
Dave Metz has been to Alaska over a dozen times in the last twenty years. He's kayaked across Alaska twice, once with his beloved dog Jonny riding in the bow, and lived there for two years in remote locations. He's also kayaked and trekked in Peru, Brazil, Canada, and Borneo, and has hiked across most of Oregon and Washington. Despite his forays away from home, he managed to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Portland State University, where he also did course work in zoology. He currently works for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as a seasonal fish biologist. In addition to studying mammals and the preservation of indigenous cultures in rain forest regions, he continues zealously to embark on wilderness survival and exploration adventures, cycling, and hiking trips. He lives Philomath, Oregon.
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Table of Contents
Close to Paradise 5
A Land of Epic Proportions 13
The Northwest Coast 23
Too Cold to Wait 36
Crossing the Sea Ice 44
Skiing the Kobuk River 53
Aboriginal Lore 71
The Allure of Wilderness 86
Blazing My Own Trail 102
A Sign Left by Someone Lost 124
Nakmaktuak Pass 144
Falling in the Icy River 158
Noatak, the Fordone Frontier 173
Lucky Six Gorge 189
No Easy Ground 213
In the Heart of No Man's Land 225
Walkarbund Creek 240
Bone Hungry 252
The Passing of the Ages 269
Suggested Reading 273
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dave Metz decides he wants to spend four months crossing the Alaskan wilderness with no human company. Just him and his two dogs. He tells us his story in Crossing the Gates of Alaska: One Man, Two Dogs, 600 Miles off the Map.With two young kids at home, I¿m now an armchair adventure and after a few years of Adventure Doug. So I enjoy a good adventure story. The publisher sent me a free copy to review.In the spring of 2007, Dave Metz sets out from Kotzebue, on the west coast of Alaska, with two dogs to traverse the Brooks Range on foot. It was a tough journey covering 600 air miles (far longer on the ground) through some of the most remote territory on the planet. For four months, Metz and his dogs, battled bitter cold, rugged terrain, wild animals and the threat of starvation before arriving at Anaktuvuk Pass.Metz spent the first six weeks skijoring up frozen rivers toward the interior mountain ranges. What is skijoring? Strap on skis, tie up your dogs, strap on their leashes and the let them pull you. For Metz, he had the dogs in front of him and tow heavy plastic sleds behind him towing his supplies. Since Metz wanted to travel up the smooth surface of frozen rivers rather than bushwhack through underbrush, they had to race against the spring thaw.At one point he encounters a local. When Mr. Metz tells him his plan to ski from Kotzebue to Ambler, he gets ¿a blank face, like he isn¿t sure why anyone would want to do what I¿m doing.¿ The book left me wondering the same question.I never got a good sense from the book why he had taken on this adventure. At times, it seems the reason is to get back to nature in the sense of Thoreau and Walden. He wants to live alone with nature. But then he craves the companionship of his girlfriend, brothers and friends. He looks forward to drinking tequila and smoking cigars with them at the end as they are supposed to hike together on the second leg of the journey from Anaktuvuk Pass to Coldfoot.His main companions are his two dogs, Will and Jimmy, big Airedale Terriers. All three of them end of running out food and close to collapsing from starvation by the time they stumble in to Anaktuvuk Pass.The book lacks an interesting story and gets repetitive. He finds a big river that is hard to cross, he encounters nearly impenetrable brush, he falls down, again. I really didn¿t care if Metz made it to his destination. Since there is a book, you know he made it.Crossing the Gates of Alaska goes on sale January 26, 2010.
Crossing The Gates of Alaska is the story of Dave Metz and his journey across the Arctic with his two Airedale terrier dogs. The journey spanned three months and Metz shares the freezing nights, barren landscape and sense of adventure which a trip like this entails. The book also includes photographs of Metz's trip. What should have been a fast paced, exciting book instead dragged a bit. I was expecting something along the lines of Into Thin Air (by Krakauer), but Metz's book never seemed to get off the ground. A good book, but not great, readers who enjoy adventure stories will most likely enjoy this one.
An at times amazing account of a man's trek across a large section of uninhabited Alaskan wilderness with only his two Airedale dogs for company. His relationship with his dogs, his descriptions of the weather, the landscape and the people of Alaska make this book worthwhile; his moralizing on the natural world detract.
In Metz's book, Crossing The Gates of Alaska, he and his two dogs travel entirely on foot - without the use of motors or vehicles across the Brooks Range in Northern Alaska. This true story will appeal to true adventurers as well as arm-chair adventurers, young or older. His personal style makes you feel as though you are on the journey with him through numbing cold and blistering wind in one of North America's most remote and beautiful areas. Metz displays a keen understanding of animals and love of the land through the rich narrative that he developed using journals from the trip. He shows an unparalleled ability to learn from the land, from himself and from past experiences. Highly recommended!