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Neil and Ian Provo deliver another installment of their classic Steelhead and Spines shorts. This latest piece offers picturesque scenes from glacier camping to rainforests.

Arriving in Haines, Alaska, in the spring of twenty sixteen, our hopes and dreams of riding the legendary spines would never become our reality. Traveling north with big plans and expectations is not recommended. We’ve learned quite well over the years that the weather will be deciding your plans. Rain was our reality. And so it was decided that we’d go fishing and hope the rain would soon turn to snow. Hiking from tidewater into the Tongass is also not recommended, unless bushwhacking through devils club at a rate of 4 miles per day is your thing. We enjoy the harshness of this place. It was a cold and soggy week of camping and steelheading in the rainforest.

Back in town, the spring thaw had arrived early on the coast, so we bailed, and headed north to the Alaska Range for one more shot at finding some powder covered spines. We found them, but terrible weather also found us again. After two weeks on the glacier, and only two sunny days for skiing, we had to pull the plug. Although it was time well spent – reading, eating, listening to the mountains, thinking, and just enough riding to keep us from going insane. Alaska has shown us both glory and defeat, providing an honest perspective of what it takes to get it good. Just being on those glaciers and seeing those fish, so far from home, is good enough.




Colin Balke is a content editor for who lives in Northern California. When not plucking away on a keyboard, he can be found splitboarding, camping, backpacking, or hanging out with family and friends.