Aaron Teasdale 
Member since Sep 5, 2011

Aaron Teasdale is a writer and photographer based in Missoula, MT.

Aaron Teasdale 

Recent Posts

Osprey Kode 30

The Osprey Kode 30 ($139) may not be the perfect ski pack, but it’s the closest I’ve found in my two decades of skiing and pack wearing.

(Gear Reports)   Mar 1, 2012

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Marmot Scree softshell pant: Universe's best?

I'm convinced that every outdoors-loving person should have a pair of these pants.

(Gear Reports)   Nov 4, 2011

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Boardworks SHUBU inflatable standup paddleboard

Since my introduction to standup paddleboarding, or SUP, a year ago I've become a hopeless addict.

(Gear Reports)   Sep 5, 2011

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Recent Articles

Go it alone

A solo trip to Cooke City puts risk and reward into perspective

The avalanche came, as avalanches do, suddenly and with unstoppable force.

Dec 1, 2013

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Survive and advance

Thomas Elpel thrives on nothing but nature

When you pull up to Thomas Elpel’s hillside home above the tiny mountain burg of Pony, Mont., you can’t help but notice the deer legs scattered in the driveway.

(Head Lines & Features)   Apr 1, 2013

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Beyond the summit

A family expedition to Big Sky turns into a father’s quest to manage his own expectations

Snow choked the air and swallowed my skinny, traction-less skate skis with each step.

(Head Lines & Features)   Dec 1, 2012

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Recent Comments

Re: “Finding Kishenehn

Whoa, Waylon, did you seriously just write a bitter and misguided, 13-point critique of my story? Normally I would ignore your strange rant, but since you’ve accused me of lying and directly attacked my credibility as a writer, I must respond.

I appreciate that you’re passionate about wilderness—and the concepts that wild places aren’t inherently scary and that humans belong in them as much as any other animals—but you’ve overcorrected. You’re so caught up in defending wilderness and portraying it as a benign place that you’ve lost your objectivity.

Yes, wild places are beautiful, peaceful, and soul-fortifying. But they’re also violent, harsh, and uncaring. Welcome to nature. It doesn’t care about your feelings. And if you’ve never felt fear in wilderness—especially when you’re alone, after dark—then you’ve probably never been alone after dark in the wilderness. I have. Lots. And hope to be a lot more.

Many of your points are stylistic critiques, and you’re certainly entitled to your opinions, but I’m unclear who appointed you the Wilderness Writing Police. Your uncreative standards would make for leaden storytelling. I tell the truth, make no mistake, but if you want literalism I suggest you read scientific journals or newspaper reportage.

Addressing a few of your 13 points…

1. It was easy to tell the tracks were from a carnivore, Waylon. A lion or a wolf to be specific. Though they were well covered, they’d been made during the storm and the entire foot of snow was not on top of them. More importantly, you could tell from the size of the entry holes that it was a larger animal. The individual tracks led away almost in a straight line—the telltale sign of a carnivore—so I knew it wasn’t an ungulate, which have more offset, widely-spaced tracks (from side to side, that is). There are other ways to tell the difference from their track pattern, entry holes, etc. If you knew about tracking you would know this. If you didn’t know about tracking, why would you attack someone over something you clearly don’t understand?

As for “oversized,” calm down man. It’s called storytelling.

3. So you’ve shot pepper spray in below-freezing temperatures? That’s useful information. That’s the kind of comment I would welcome for this story, especially if it were presented in a constructive, helpful manner. It’s the manufacturer, by the way, that suggests it doesn’t work below freezing.

5. That quote about fear being an essential part of the wilderness experience came from an excellent article in Wild Earth magazine (RIP), published by the Wildlands Project, a wilderness- and habitat-restoration advocacy group started by Dave Foreman, among other luminaries. Wild Earth, to which I long subscribed, was the preeminent journal of wilderness thinking and “re-wilding” for many years. The article was about grizzly bears and how their presence in wild areas teaches us humility and reverence. It was written by a highly respected wilderness writer. I’d be happy to send you a copy. I’m easy to track down online.

And if you think I’m calling the woods an “evil place” then I have no idea what story you’re reading.

6. Look at the quote you cited, Waylon. I said I’d be off the human grid “for this hike.” Meaning the hike I took on that day, until I reached Ben (who, yes, had a radio at the cabin). Seriously man, why are you foaming at the mouth over this? I’m not trying hide anything.

As for you assertion that “this ranger station is hardly a thirty-minute walk from the North Fork Road,” that would only be true if you forded the North Fork of the Flathead River, and then only if you sprinted. The actual trail is four-plus miles with two creek crossings. If you can do that in thirty minutes, good for you. It takes most people a lot longer.

7. I have many maps of the Park. Some show the Kishenehn trails and cabin, some don’t. The ones they give out to every visitor at the entry stations don’t. That’s what I was referencing.

8. Your asking me to tell you what wilderness means to me? Did you not read my article? Also, your confusing capital “W” Wilderness, as in federally designated Wilderness, with wilderness, as in wild places. You will find very few people who don’t think the Kishenehn area is wilderness.

11. Yes, the wolf whose tracks we saw near the meadow could have smelled us, rather than seeing or hearing us. It’s also possible it had been there an hour before us. But the tracks were quite recent and we surmised it had sensed us in one way or another. Could we have been wrong? Sure. Have writers like Abbey, Lopez, and Dillard taken much greater liberties in their own works? Count on it.

12. You really think I don’t know that bears are omnivores Waylon? I’ve explored some of the wildest areas on five continents, worked on wildlife studies in Glacier and nearby wildlands, observed bears in the wild countless times, and have more natural history field guides and wilderness books than Barnes and Noble, but thanks for the remedial lesson on bears. Also, there are wolves, lions, lynx, wolverines, and plenty of other carnivores here, all of which I’ve tracked many times over the years.

In the future, I suggest you do a little better job being a rational, reasonable person and getting your facts straight before typing biblical-length screeds attacking someone’s integrity. Step back from the desensitizing glare of the internet and think about how we best communicate with each other in a civilized society. Until then, I’ll see you in the wilds.

16 likes, 39 dislikes
Posted by Aaron Teasdale on 05/07/2013 at 1:13 PM

Re: “All you can eat

For the love of God, can we please get an Indian restaurant in Missoula!

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Aaron Teasdale on 05/02/2013 at 4:40 PM

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