Stalking the Hunter

If you find yourself up a creek without a paddle and you could call one person to help you, better call Steve Johnson. Because chances are he’s been up that creek before. And he’ll probably be handing you a cold beer when he arrives.

Steve has a keen sense for navigating big, glacial fed rivers that are filled with hazards hidden beneath a murk of silty water. He reads mountainous terrain in a similar way, having an innate wisdom for imagining the way through a confusion of thick storm clouds. He can reasonably predict animal behavior, too, based on the time of day, weather, and the way his nose twitches. Steve may have been born with unusual instincts, but he honed them over 25 years, in some of the most beautiful yet unforgiving places on earth where learning comes with bruises that don’t heal fast.

Steve is the consummate professional. In terms of mastery of his craft, he shares the same attributes as an accomplished engineer, or the CEO of a small but lauded company, except Steve makes his living guiding people into remote and rugged places in Alaska. Steve’s office has no walls and the view is often unparalleled. And yet, despite what seems like a dream job, the physical effort required is at times unimaginable to most people. The term “hell and back,” comes close to describing how hard it gets during epic, Alaskan storms. And with any physical stress the mind begins to wear down as well. But that goes with the territory of being a hunting guide in Alaska. And if you were to ask Steve if he loves his job his response would likely be in the form of a big smile.