I think my attraction to the Far North started one hot, Texas summer day more than three decades ago. The memory is pretty faint, but it was a television movie I happened across, a documentary about a handful of guys hiking around in some far, northern location – maybe the Arctic. It seemed dated even at the time, but I was captivated by these guys moving through a wide, open wilderness. And I retain this clear image of the hikers looking down a slope toward a vivid rainbow touching the treeless valley floor. Then the frame cuts to those hikers standing in a circle around the base of the rainbow, seen from the camera filming above. The narrator intones something about how they didn’t find any pot of gold.
Maybe they didn’t, but that image created something just as appealing in my mind. A vision of open spaces, big skies, and awesome landscapes filled with mountains, rivers, wildlife and adventure. Places people can go to. Maybe even some kid from Dallas.
So, I decided to go to the Yukon.
EDIT: Happy to say I stumbled on the documentary! It's "Challenging the Northwest Territory," by a famous hunter and nature documentary maker, George Eastman. It's a bit dated, but there is some special magic in it for nature lovers.