This was one of the most physically adventurous stories Ive done for the magazine.
It involved going to the ends of the Earth. I did my own flying all the way to the North
Slope of Alaska. For me, adventure is not about having disasters but being out and about
in the world and gaining access to difficult places.
But this assignment was as much a mental adventure as flying somewhere in the distance.
When I sat where another person had been a long time ago, I couldnt help but imagine
individuals. That kind of experience shows the enormous instinctive empathy human beings
possess. Thats a wonderful thing to go through.
In all my years of covering controversial issues, Ive seldom seen this level of anger
among professional colleagues. I was surprised at how little the experts agree on who these
ancient people were and where they came from. There is a great deal of animosity among some
scientists because of these different points of view. And, tragically, there is also
deep-seated, angry, conflict between scientists and some Native American groups. This is a
topic that just seems to go very deep into human emotion.
My wife and I were trying to meet up with a team of scientists who were working in a cave
in a remote corner of Alaskas Prince of Wales Island. We started out in a little rubber
Zodiac, but the wind churned up the water, so we had to cross a small island on foot.
Following questionable directions, we walked into the rain forest and got thoroughly lost.
We wandered around the forest for what seemed like hours. We found lots of bear scat, but
no scientists. We finally found our way out by following the hum of the teams