I grew up at the edge of the boreal forest, in a town called Grande Cache, Alberta.  It was a coal mining town at the end of a long dirt road, in the foothills of the Rockies.  When I was old enough to read maps, and understand where we were in the world, I discovered that there were people living in the wilderness north of us, in towns without roads to them.  It was very difficult to find information about these towns, but the more I learned about them, the more curious I became.  

Over twenty years later, in the autumn of 2004, I began travelling with a bush pilot and I had the opportunity to spend time in many of the communities I had long wondered about.  During the next five years I spent 2-3 months each autumn working in northwestern Canada and Alaska.