This video was filmed on March 14, 2011 as part of the National Geographic Live! Lecture series at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Introduction

National Geographic Explorer Andrew Skurka is an accomplished adventure athlete, speaker, guide, and writer. The 31-year-old is most well known for his solo long-distance backpacking trips, notably the 4,700-mile (7,564 kilometer) 6-month Alaska-Yukon Expedition, the 6,875-mile (11,064 kilometer) 7-month Great Western Loop, and the 7,775-mile (12,513 kilometer) 11-month Sea-to-Sea Route. In total, he has backpacked, skied, and packrafted 30,000 miles through many of the world’s most prized backcountry and wilderness areas—the equivalent of traveling 1.2 times around Earth’s equator!



Outline

  • Introduction (start-01:35 min.)
  • Parents' expectations and a different life path (01:36-02:20 min.)
  • The start of long-distance backpacking: the Appalachian Trail (02:21-02:53 min.)
  • Hiking the Sea-to-Sea route and the Great Western Loop (02:54-04:20 min.)
  • Learning how to travel off trail (04:21-05:55 min.)
  • Planning the next trip: Alaska (05:56-08:09 min.)
  • March: starting the Alaska-Yukon Expedition (08:10-09:44 min.)
  • A frozen landscape and brutal conditions (09:45-11:14 min.)
  • Video: skiing the Alaskan mountain range (11:15-13:18 min.)
  • Video: summer in the Alaskan bush and bear encounters (13:19-16:08 min.)
  • The Lost Coast: beach walking and terror (16:09-18:00 min.)
  • Off trail routes and the importance of reading maps (18:01-20:49 min.)
  • Game trails and the ability to move, eat, and sleep (20:50-23:46 min.)
  • Meticulous planning and the path of least resistance (23:47-26:00 min.)
  • Extreme wilderness (26:01-26:50 min.)
  • Video: swarming bugs (26:51-28:26 min.)
  • The "aha!" moment: feeling like the last person on Earth (28:27-31:49 min.)
  • Return to Kotzebue, Alaska (31:50-32:55 min.)
 

 

Strategies for Using Video in a Variety of Learning Environments

  • Have students preview several of the videos and choose the one they find most inspiring. Have students describe in writing a conversation they might have with the speaker(s).
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caribou
Noun

large deer native to North America.

cross-country skiing
Noun

sport where athletes on skis race across a relatively flat landscape.

Noun

long, narrow ocean inlet between steep slopes.

Noun

mass of ice that moves slowly over land.

kayak
Noun

small canoe made watertight around the waist of the occupant and moved in the water with a single paddle.

pack ice
Noun

large area of drift ice, or ice not attached to a shoreline.

travel
Noun

movement from one place to another.

Noun

environment that has remained essentially undisturbed by human activity.

wildlife
Noun

organisms living in a natural environment.