Almost Airborne!

The Kickstarter process for the “Merlyn Project” is more than three quarters funded. Help push us over and up:

Way to go!!!!

Updated list of backers so far:

starting with most recent:

Darcy Fleming

Anne and Larry Buckmaster

Allan and Diane Reid

John Kuhfahl

Chuck Davidge

Brenda Postels

Sue Plankis

Scott McCready

Kathy Holladay

Mike Smith

Chris Dzombak

Darlene Patterson

Myles Carter

Dick Pula

Mark Deering

Henry T. Wang

T. Rauscher

Karen Cooke

Lara Kesselring

Patrick Hueller

Tom Schwolert

Jan Dettmer

Riajan Musselman

Linda Wallenberg

Sarah Woodcock

Jon Breimhorst

David Lasslett

Diane Temple

Jim Fitzpatrick

Damon Johnson

Chip Sutton

Piiskoor Prof

Marnie Fisher

Bull Moose Patrol


Karen Kelley

Fred Shermock aka Jacque 

Sarah Froese

Trinity Kesselring

Greta Kesselring

Tim Koestler

Nancy Makepeace

Dick Bellman

Paul Grondin

Keith Dohey

Mari Kesselring

Ivan Bourque

Jan Curtice

Eileen Fisher


Tom Koshiol

Mary Jean Blaisdell

Susan Kesselring

Bob O’Hara

Zoë Kesselring

Half-way to “Merlyn Project” Kickstarter Goal

I am half-way to my Kickstarter goal for the “Merlyn Project” The biography of my dear friend and fabled northern bush pilot. 12 days into it with 24 to go. I am surprised by how energized I have become by the interest and support of this project.

The biggest boosts are the positive comments and the encouragement from people who knew Merlyn and who have been patiently waiting for someone to write a biography and to do it right. There have also been notes from backers that have read my first two books and are just anxious for another good read (I hope I don’t disappoint). The backing from former students has also touched my heart, (some with young families are being too generous). I have also been surprised by the reach of the Internet. A contribution came in from Schenectadian Chip Sutton. Chip was my best pal when I … Continue reading

Rio Grande this coming Winter



The Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande are one of the Seven Wilderness Wonders of North America. For canoeists, wilderness lovers, and people that like to be warm in February it is “a must go”. Last year I led two trips. I have a permit for 3 this winter. Dutch paddler Didier Pont who has paddled all over the world, about the Rio Grande says, “Go with Rob”

DSC04094-300x225  Continue reading

Some thoughts on the Shoulder Seasons in the Boundary Waters

October 4 I begin my last paddling trip of 2014. A week with Dan Cooke and four guests in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Dan calls it a shoulder season trip, 
“That time of the year when weather is neither winter nor summer; but both.”

Because shoulder seasons happen both in spring and fall, they are often lumped together. I will point out some significant differences that determine how I will pack and prepare for this upcoming trip.

The main difference is all about daylight. On May 15, the Boundary Waters receives over four hours more daylight than on October 15. If you figure on sleeping seven hours, your available daylight is twice as long in May as in October. So in the autumn, trip distances must be curtailed, or travel accomplished hastily with a sense of urgency.

Also in autumn, there is more darkness in camp. I bring … Continue reading

More on the proposed bushpilot biography “The Merlyn Project”

I confess. On Day 1 of my Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to research and write Merlyn Carter’s life story, I was feeling sheepish. Backers were not exactly lining up, and I felt as if I was sitting on a street corner holding up a cardboard sign. If I was more Internet savvy I likely would have figured a way to pull out and cover my tracks. But over the next few days it has been amazing. It started with some kind words from Bob O’Hara, but soon after, friends, clients from wilderness trips, and colleagues from schools were not only being generous with their support, but shared unbridled enthusiasm for my project. And then word spread to Carter Country, the NWT.

One of the most interesting northern e-mails was from Vince McKay. Vince spotted his Mooshum (Cree for Grandfather), Eugene McKay, in the photo of Merlyn in front of … Continue reading

Merlyn Carter Biography Project

merlyn-with-guitarHave you ever postponed something you really wanted to do?

Those of you that have travelled and paddled with me likely can remember my campfire stories about Merlyn Carter. He was the bush pilot with over 25,000 hours of flying the Canadian North until he was killed, by an unprovoked charge of a bear in 2005.

He lived life large and his story is more than his story. It’s a bigger story. Merlyn’s life spanned the opening of the Canadian Far North. It’s a story that is kept alive by people talking together around campfires, kitchen tables and in northern taverns. Unfortunately, the people that knew Merlyn and experienced that uncommon place called the NWT, at an uncommon time of change and turmoil, are growing old and dying. There … Continue reading

sinking sun

Its not the State Fair or kids going back to school or even the calendar on my wall that reminds me that the summer paddling season is coming to a close. What does it for me is waking up at 6:00 am to darkness. And on a family Labor Day picnic barely being able to discern the flying bags in a Cornhole game because it was, what 8:45? So goes the swing of the retreating sun’s double bit axe. A tiny sliver of my brain nostalgically anticipates crisp fall mornings, skiing untracked snow, and the pop of the woodstove, but a much bigger lump of my brain is yelling. “Stop sun, Stop!” or pushing me to find someway to visit New Zealand or Chile in December.

Since the days when I clothespinned playing cards to the wheels of my bike for that throaty roar, I have always planned more for … Continue reading