This event is part of North Cascade Institute’s Nature of Writing Series!

Alaska holds a mythological place in the American imagination as our wildest, coldest, largest, and farthest frontier. It is also the home of writer Erin McKittrick, who lives in a yurt on the shore of Cook Inlet with her husband and two preschool-age children.

Mudflats and Fish Camps chronicles McKittrick’s journey, along with her family, as they set out to hike and paddle the entire coastline of Cook Inlet, a distance of 800 miles. This is unconventional parenting in the extreme, bringing kids not just into the woods, but into quicksand, snow, and the realm of grizzles! And while their story includes all the stubbornness, excitement, and sleet- in-the-eyes awefulness that comes from walking their way through the world, it also provides an intimate history of a wild and fascinating place and the people who call it home.


Erin McKittrick, along with her husband Hig, has walked, paddled, and skied more than 8000 miles through Alaska’s trackless wilderness, including a thousand miles with her two young children. McKittrick has a master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology, writes regularly for Alaska Dispatch News, and gives public presentations on her adventures and work. In 2007, she and Hig founded Ground Truth Trekking, a nonprofit organization that combines “ground truth” with “researched truth,” using science and adventure to further the conversation about Alaska’s environmental issues. They live in Seldovia, Alaska. Learn more at