An interview with photographer and explorer Chris Martischius
About Chris Martischius
No matter if it's scorching hot along the Tajik-Afghan border or 80 degrees colder at the frozen Bering Strait - it's mostly the wild barren places and the stories their inhabitants tell which have been attracting Chris since his childhood. Born and raised in southwest Germany, his work as a photographer and journalist has been published by major magazines and newspapers both German and international. Chris has just returned from a 1000 kilometre long packraft expedition in Alaska.
What was your latest adventure about?
Alaska, the Last Frontier, is almost five times bigger than Germany - and has less inhabitants than Frankfurt. The impression most Europeans have when thinking of the 49th. state of the U.S. is full of stereotypes and dominated by the same old pictures over and over again.
Our goal was to take a deeper dive into this fascinating region and wander off the beaten track in one of Alaska's very remote regions. Hiking and packrafting more than 1000 kilometers of wilderness from the mountains of the Brooks Range all the way to the mighty Yukon River was a real athletic challenge. But above all those 6 weeks in the wilderness proved to be a great chance to see this part of Alaska with fresh eyes through a humble and slow approach and learn more about the land and the people who call it their home.
What's the most important piece of equipment on such a trip?
I don't think there's something like THE most important piece of equipment. We experienced everything from heavy thunderstorms and raging headwinds to extremely challenging bushwacking and some medical issues. We had quite some equipment failing on us and constantly had to improvise. I can tell from experience that it's often the supposed small things that can break your neck. Especially in such unforgiving or remote environments like high mountains, deserts or the arctic regions.
I guess it's safe to say that your shoes are one of the top items that can either ruin your trip or enable you to succeed. I once had to abort an expedition with frostbites on my toes just because my boots' liner was less than ideal. Moving fast and safe can be a lifesaver - especially when things go sideways. But therefore you need the right shoes on your feet. Finding some boots for this particular adventure that were both waterproof up to our knees for the paddling parts and at the same time stable enough to carry 35 kilograms on our backs through pathless forests and alpine terrain was not an easy task. But the Muckmaster boots proved to be exactly the right choice.
What's your personal resume after those adventurous 6 weeks in the wilderness?
It's impossible to cover all our adventures and experiences with just a few words but the saying 'expect the best but prepare for the worst' was dead-on in a lot of situations.
Waterproof Hiking Boots
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