On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know legendary Alaskan outdoorswoman, and wilderness educator, Nancy Pfeiffer. I first heard nancy’s name probably when I was around 17 years old. At the time, I was what you might call a neophyte alpinist, and Nancy was a well-known skier, mountaineer and wilderness instructor in the community, which automatically made her a hero of sorts in my mind. Although we rarely crossed paths in the ensuing years, she was always on my radar, and someone I admired and respected for her skills and expertise in the mountains.
That’s why I was intrigued this last year when I saw that Nancy had written a book. And it wasn’t any ordinary book. Released in May of 2018, Riding Into The Heart of Patagonia chronicles nearly 20 years of Nancy’s travels through the different regions of Patagonia – on horseback.
Although the stories are full of adventure, close calls, and sometimes clever bursts of self-deprecating humor, the core of the story goes deeper than that: to the moments of self-doubt she faced, to the relationships she shared with her partners, and most importantly, her emerging understanding, and connection with the people of Patagonia.
Last month I got to sit down with Nancy to talk about her experiences in Patagonia, what it meant for her to write the book, as well as some of her more recent adventures in Alaska. We started our conversation by talking about Nancy’s early experiences teaching NOLS courses in Patagonia, and how an experience on one of those courses, reshaped the trajectory of her life.
• Tackle / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• Learning To Climb / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• The Talkeetnas / Evan Phillips / Unreleased (2017)
• The Cave / Evan Phillips /Unreleased (2017)
• Close To Me / Evan Phillips / Cabin Vibes • Volume One (2018)
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