His sense for exploration started modestly, with a powerboat tour of the Mississippi River from Minneapolis to New Orleans in 1960.
Soon, however, Will Steger was on to bigger and wilder things in a lifetime of exploration that has pushed human capabilities, if not sensibilities. For example:
Between 1963 and 1970, the Minnesotan kayaked 10,000 miles in northern rivers.
In 1983, he finished an 18-month, 6,000-mile dogsled expedition through the Northwest Territories and Alaska.
In 1985, he mushed 5,000 miles from Duluth, Minn., to Barrow, Alaska.
In 1986, he led the first confirmed journey to the North Pole by dogsled without resupply.
In 1988, he led a 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland.
In 1990, he finished a 4,000-mile trans-Antarctic expedition.
In 1993, he led a 1,000-mile Canadian Barrens crossing in preparation for the 1995 expedition to cover 1,200 miles by dogsled from Russia to Canada via the North Pole.
One of the great lessons he’s learned from these journeys, he says, is the futility of worry and the value of persistence.
Steger has learned to camp at temperatures below minus 60 degrees. But he struggles with the chilling reality that pollution from human development is having an impact even in the most isolated frozen regions of the earth.
Legendary trout revisited: The recent story (Outdoors, Jan. 25) on Lake Pend Oreille’s 37-pound world record rainbow trout caught in 1947 ended with a source of confusion.
The last sentence suggested a 33-pounder caught in Montana last year was the second largest rainbow trout ever caught in inland waters.
Several fish over 33 pounds were caught from Lake Pend Oreille in the glory days of Kamloops fishing from the mid-1940s through the ‘50s.
For example, Darrel Hulbert of Liberty Lake has a large box of clippings and memorabilia from around the world regarding the 36.5-pounder caught by his father.
Cecil Hulbert, a Spokane barber, caught the rainbow on Nov. 29, 1959, from a 14-foot aluminum rental boat in Garfield Bay.
“You can’t believe how that story traveled all over the world,” said Darrel, who has the mounted fish on the wall of his home. “I even have a clipping from a newspaper in Auckland (New Zealand). The address on the envelope of one letter simply said, “To the man who caught the big fish, Spokane, Wash.”
In those days, such a letter was delivered with no problem.
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MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: In Moscow Will Steger will be in Moscow, Idaho, on Friday to present an arctic exploration program beginning at 7 p.m. at the University of Idaho.