National Geographic : 1991 Nov
On Assignment he call of the north has always appealed to native Minneso tan RICHARD OLSENIUS, but even he was not prepared to fall in love with the remote, frigid Alaska Highway. "This is no longer a godforsaken stretch of road-it's a link between friends," says Richard, who traced the 1,500-mile highway for seven months, through winter and sum mer, to capture its many moods. "I'd never call this highway dra matically beautiful. On the surface it's plain, but after you get to know it, the beauty begins to show." Providing story and pictures for this issue brought lasting friendships with several highway residents. One favorite stopping-off spot was the Dix family's hand-built Yukon homestead, which overlooks an ever changing stream (above) often fre quented by beavers and moose. Previously, Richard photo graphed the Northwest Passage for the GEOGRAPHIC (August 1990), but he has also ventured to more steamy climes, as when he chronicled Cam bodian refugees in Thailand. After 20 years on the Africa beat free-lance writer-photographer ROB ERT CAPUTO knows his assignments are more than just a job. "It's an addiction," he admits. "I'm addicted to the thrill of the unexpected. That's why I keep traveling." And travel he has-to more than two dozen African nations, includ ing Egypt, Sudan, Namibia, Tanza nia, Uganda, and Burkina Faso. For his fifth GEOGRAPHIC article Bob explored Zaire for nine months. "It was the hardest place that I've had to work in terms of bureaucracy," he says, recalling the six exasperating weeks he spent coaxing a press permit out of gov ernment officials. "They don't like Western journalists, because most write stories about how horrible the government is." Arrested for shooting pictures in Kinshasa (his permit didn't satisfy local police), Bob persevered. Final ly, proper pass in hand, he boarded a boat bound up the Zaire River, where he befriended a baby chimp offered for sale as a pet (left). The nomadic life has its draw backs, says Bob, a nominal resident of Washington, D. C. "It's hard on friendships, a bit of a sailor's life." But not one he's ready to give up. "After I'm home for a few months, I start to get itchy." A few days after filing his story, Bob headed back to Africa. NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC(ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBY THENATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY,17THANDM STS. N.W., WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASS POSTAGEPAIDAT WASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SENDADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O . BOX2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.