Galesburg native’s book recalls paddling adventure on Yukon River

YUKON RIVER, Alaska — During the COVID summer of 2020, journalist/outdoor writer Gary Tomlin self-isolated in Alaska’s wild, sparsely populated Interior wilderness. He paddled 800 miles down the Yukon River from the Canadian border to the lower river near its expansive delta.

The Galesburg native’s book, “God, Gun and Big Water: Paddling Alaska’s Mighty Yukon River,” is an account of the adventures of his six-week sojourn.

“I tried to weave the themes of spiritual experience, the constant vigilance for self defense and my interaction with the surprising and unpredictable forces of the river,” Tomlin said. “In two words, it was ‘clean’ and ‘quiet.’ For example, most people have never heard a whole movement from a bird’s repertoire, uninterrupted by other sounds. It was a common concert for me on the water.”

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