Search for Perfect Beauty

Shin deep: the cold is like a jolt of electricity as we step into the water. Thigh deep: skulls-sized rocks roll beneath our feet. “A person wouldn’t last a minute in this,” Carol Kasza yells over the roar to Beth Wald and I who have hooked arms with her in our third attempt to cross the storm-swollen North Fork of the Koyukuk River in Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park. Waist deep: the river shoves at us like a living thing. If one of us slips now, all three of us will be swept away. Even in the clutches of the current, I catch myself almost smiling at the thought of explaining this to anyone — waist deep in an ice cold river in the middle of a trackless wilderness all in a search for a place called ‘Perfect Beauty’.”

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