Photos taken during the interview with Kirk Ellis in Nabesna, Alaska on June 11, 1993.
Kirk Elis was a small child when his parents moved to the remote location at Mile 42 of the Nabesna Road in the Wrangell Mountains in 1957 to begin a guiding business. His parents, Bill and Lorene Ellis, struggled for many years to make a living, keep a home, and home school Kirk and his two brothers, Cole and Lynn. Kirk learned the fundamental skills necessary for bush life by following his parents' example. The children were given strict rules and a perimeter beyond which they could not venture in order to ensure their safety. From his father, Kirk gained hunting and guiding skills, and eventually learned to negotiate a Super Cub into remote and difficult landings high in the mountains. Today, Kirk and Cole share the guiding business with their father, and despite many bureaucratic hurdles to contemporary guiding, they tenaciously hold on to the land and lifestyle that has given them great satisfaction and a sense of personal accomplishment.