The Alaska Chronicles

The Alaska Chronicles, by Miles Nolte.
Departure Publishing (2009), 216 pages, hardcover.

We know we’re late to the party, but …

When Miles Nolte (screen name “Gaper”) left a series of dispatches on The Drake’s message board during the summer of 2007 about his experiences as an Alaskan fishing guide, he created a noteworthy achievement: social network content actually worth reading.

Reworked into a book and published by Departure Publishing, Tosh Brown’s enterprise with the stated goal of “facilitat[ing] a select list of accomplished writers who are challenging the traditional boundaries of sporting and expedition publishing,” Nolte’s raw and uncontrived account of one man’s summer as a fly fishing guide in the Northern Territories is a thoroughly engaging ride.

Bears, bugs, wind storms, clients from hell, back and olfactory-breaking (latrine cleaning) labor, infrequent fishing revelations (as it should be), and a healthy mix of well-written yarns all recounted with copious detail and a refreshing honesty. The guide life isn’t for intellectuals or summering wannabes—tough, unforgiving work—and Nolte’s copy reflects this fact.

When the paying “sports” finally do arrive at the lodge, I prepared myself for the book to fall apart into a stream of gratuitous epiphanies, but I was dead wrong:

“Today was our first day of guiding clients, and as you might expect, it began as an absolute clusterf__ck.”

Bald with honesty, frequently on the edge, technically accomplished, and willing to take risk—we need more writers like Miles Nolte.

Collect your internet dollars and buy the book, if you haven’t already.


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