Chris Czajkowski

Image credit: Pauline Dupas

The Nuk Tessli Wilderness Experience was created in 1988 by Chris Czakowski, who hiked alone for a day an a half, through mostly trackless and un-named mountains, to a spot picked out from a map. It would become her home for the next 23 years. It was at a high altitude, with magnificent views of British Columbia’s Coast Range , but still large enough for a float plane to land on. Heavy supplies and future clients could be flown to the door.

Working single-handedly, Chris built the first two cabins. Having no road or heavy machinery, she had to fall, peel, haul, and raise all the logs using ropes, a block and tackle, and a come-along. She lived in a tent until the first roof was positioned (although that cabin was far from finished) and gradually completed the task. It took three years; when she started, she was 41 years old.

She would make the long trek on foot to the nearest post office at Nimpo Lake about once a month in summer, and about every six weeks in winter. The arduous snowshoe trip sometimes took 4 days each way. During the long winters, when little building could be done in the deep snow and sub zero temperatures, she began her writing career. Letters about her wilderness experiences, sent to a Canadian national radio program, became the basis of her first best-selling book. She has now published her tenth wilderness story. Some have been translated into German.

Although she made the decision to part with Nuk Tessli in 2012, she has not moved far away. She is now building her final dream home on an abandoned homestead close to Nuk Tessli’s mountains. She continues to write, draw, paint, take photographs, and generally be creative. For news of her books, artwork, and adventures, visit her blog: www.wildernessdweller.ca


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