Book: Dancing on the Edge of an Endangered Planet by John Mattsoncategories: Book, Kayaking, Skiing, Rock Climbing, Totem Pole, Peru, Nepal, Tibet, Mekong River, Aspen, Grand Teton, Devil's Tower, Adventure Travel
John Mattsonabout this book: "Dancing on the Edge of an Endangered Planet" is an exciting collection of short adventure stories that spans the globe, and follows the life of a poor farm boy who dares to pursue his dreams.
My life began on a small farm near the badlands of North Dakota, and my education started in a one room school with one teacher for 8 grades and only 7 students. But the rural schools were being abandoned, and we were moved to the nearby town of Golden Valley where I graduated with 10 fellow classmates. I managed to secure a scholarship and was studying engineering at Arizona State University, but like many people of this period, I was somewhat discontent. The year was 1972. The Vietnam war was still raging, and the first signs of the planets destruction were starting to hit the news. My life was boring and in need of a purpose, but a spirit somewhere deep inside was searching for adventure.
A sudden unplanned ski trip to the White Mountains became an enlightening experience, and opened my mind to the thrill of skiing and the beauty of the natural world. It was the most fun that I had ever experienced, and that day I made a vow to pursue my new passion.
My first adventure was a job in an underground gold mine in South Dakota. It was as exciting and dangerous as any extreme sport, but the wages payed for a season pass at the local ski area, and I began to master my new passion.
The scene quickly moved to Aspen, Colorado where I learned the trade of carpentry, and attempted downhill ski racing and freestyle ski jumping.
This mountain mecca was filled with other young adventurers, and soon I was introduced to the sports of rock climbing and kayaking. These new passions opened the door to a myriad of new adventures, and I enjoyed a great camaraderie with new friends who shared my passions. The stories about learning to kayak and climb include some thrilling moments about learning to live on the edge, and detailed information and photos that explain the technical aspects of the sports.
Traveling 80 mph in a downhill ski race, and standing on the summit of some grand desert spires are among my greatest thrills, and riding rodeo broncs was probably the most foolish. But the thrill of whitewater and mystical canyons became my main passion. Kayaking is like dancing on water. A skilled kayaker is like an amphibian who can play in a raging river, and the access to seldom seen vistas is an incredible reward. I share some very thrilling and scenic kayak adventures including; The infamous Colca Canyon in Peru, A first descent of the Mekong in Tibet, The Humla Karnali in Nepal, The Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone, and the mighty Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. These are all very special places and adventures that I will always cherish.
Skiing and rock climbing also resemble dancing and the title depicts a life of extreme adventures motivated by the futility of watching as my beautiful home is threatened by the forces of greed and technology. I have found a great passion in nature, and I have used the extreme adventures to cushion myself from the harsh reality of our modern life. In nature I find truth, and the extreme sports provide great challenges that are missing in most of our daily lives. This challenge is combined with the reward of experiencing some of the most remote and spectacular vistas on the planet, and the camaraderie of the many friends who share this passion. I hope that these stories will allow the reader to experience these thrills from the comfort of their armchair, and that the many photos will share the spectacular vistas that I have experienced. I also hope that these stories will inspire many people to live their dreams and be a positive force, because this crazy planet is such an incredible place, and you might only live once.
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