Mad Trapper of Rat River

The Mad Trapper of Rat River eluded the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for forty-eight-days in the winter of 1931-32. It was called the “The Arctic Circle War”. It was the largest manhunt in Canadian history and when “they got their man” they didn’t know who he was. In fact, even today, no one knows his identity. Recently his body was exhumed for DNA, there is a Discovery Channel special about it. It’s a very interesting story. An examination of Johnson’s body yielded over $2,000 in both American and Canadian currency as well as some gold, a pocket compass, a razor, a knife, fish hooks, nails, a dead squirrel, a dead bird, a large quantity of Beecham’s Pills and teeth with gold fillings that were believed to be his. During the entire chase, the Mounties had never heard Johnson utter a single word.

It happened right here where this photo was shot. Imagine this landscape covered in ice and snow, up to 10 feet in some places. After Johnson’s death, RCMP officials realized that he had traveled over 85 miles away from his cabin in less than 3 days, burning approximately 10,000 kcal a day.



I really wanted to change lenses to my 300 f2.8 but was afraid to make too much noise. I had the 70-200mm f2.8 on so I sort of creeped up and got what I could. He was eating and as long as it wasn’t me I figured it was a win situation.


Washing off the Dempster

After driving the Dempster Highway, 1000 mile dirt road, you have to wash your car right away. They use some sort of caking agent on the road to keep the dust down. The problem with that is when it rains that stuff mixed with mud forms a concrete on your car and if you don’t wash it off it will dry and pull the paint off. There is only one car wash, well not really a car wash, just a pressure hose in Dawson City. A short video of washing the Dempster off of the Jeep.

Alaskan Highway

I first drove the Alaskan Highway in 1986. Back then it wasn’t as well developed as it is today. If you think about about it, the road was barely 40 years old back then with many gravel sections. Today it is pretty well maintained which takes some of the “adventure” out of it. That’s not to say don’t do it. Always go do it, never sit still. There are other roads up there with plenty of adventure on them. With that said they are going fast. Oil fracking, hunting and fishing lodges, timber exploration are all taking their toll on adventure. Do it now, before they pave paradise.