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Bushwhack Jack’s Tracts, by Jack Drury

Father and son

I tell young parents to hug their kids tight and not let go because they’ll be grown up and gone in a nanosecond. I also tell them to hang on for the ride, for their children will bring them more joy, and more pain, than they can ever imagine. My two boys, Eli and Dustin, came along — and ...

Every dog has its day

For 16 years, I led month-long wilderness expeditions in the fall and two-week winter expeditions in January for North Country Community College. People told me I had the best job in the world, and I said, “I do, but you’d hate it.” I reminded them I had to leave my family for those ...

Siberian shakedown

In the fall of 1998, I hopped onto a state Department of Environmental Conservation helicopter at the Lake Clear airport. We were heading up to Lake Colden to work on rebuilding the interior ranger cabin that had burned down the previous March. The pilot asked me, “Have you ever been in a ...

A close call

Occasionally we’re reminded our first-world problems are just that — problems that Third World folks would gladly have. The vast majority of the time, we turn the tap and quality drinking water comes out, we turn the key on a cold morning and our car starts (well, almost always), we turn up ...

Mountains, mortality and motorcycle mamas

I’ve been watching a four-part Netflix documentary called, “Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?” It’s about a community college student and outdoor guide named John Leonard, who in the mid-1990s collected enough Pepsi points to purchase a Harrier Jet. Pepsi’s promotion campaign was designed ...

The birth of a wilderness program

By 1972, I had completed my bachelor’s degree in Recreation Education from SUNY Cortland and had two transformative experiences — taking a National Outdoor Leadership School wilderness leadership course, and climbing Denali. A couple of years later, I completed the NOLS Instructor’s ...