Writer John McPhee was at ease in a canoe, Brad Snow was at ease with him

Brad Snow in a canoe looking very relaxed and free, living along the Yukon River in Alaska. (Photo courtesy Brad Snow and Lilly Allen/UAF Project Jukebox)

Brad Snow was 26 years old when he left Anchorage to start a life with his girlfriend, Lilly Allen, near the Yukon River. The couple is featured in John McPhee’s book “Coming into the Country,” published 40 years ago.

Snow and Allen built a log cabin on the Nation River, a tributary to the Yukon. But in 1976, the Bureau of Land Management told them they were trespassing and forced them off the land.

After he met McPhee, Snow offered to take him by canoe from Eagle to Circle, a trip that took four days. Snow says it didn’t take long for him to warm up to the writer.

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Rashah McChesney is a photojournalist turned radio journalist who has been telling stories in Alaska since 2012. Before joining Alaska's Energy Desk , she worked at Kenai's Peninsula Clarion and the Juneau bureau of the Associated Press. She is a graduate of Iowa State University's Greenlee Journalism School and has worked in public television, newspapers and now radio, all in the quest to become the Swiss Army knife of storytellers.

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