March 10, 2010

Awards are nice

There are a lot of great ways to start your day, but one of the best I know of is to get an email telling you that you've just won a writing award. This had only happened to me once before — until last Monday. That's when I received word that I'd snagged third place in the Northern Lights Awards for Excellence in Travel Journalism and Photography for my story "Return to the Wildest Valley" which ran in the June issue of Adventure Cyclist magazine.


If the importance of writing awards correlates with the length of their title, then I'm set. Screw a Pulitzer Prize — that's only two words. My award has seven words, and that's not even counting the really short words. Heck, my award has so many words in its name I don't even have to count them all.

Here's what the judges (otherwise known as the faculty at the University of Missouri School of Journalism) had to say about my story:

Writer: Aaron Teasdale
Publication: Adventure Cyclist
Title: Return to the Wildest Valley

Three guys, two of them a father and son, bike the Canadian Flathead River area in British Columbia seeking exploration and adventure and end their trip wiser about themselves and more fearful about the threats to a wild, beautiful place they believe should be preserved for future generations. Encounters with two grizzlies, two wolves – and no humans – convince them that the Flathead area, which boasts the highest concentration of grizzly bears in inland North America, just might be this continent’s Serengeti. Writer Aaron Teasdale builds his story scene-by-scene, pausing here and there for reflection and insight.  Written with flair, this recounting of an amazing trip leaves them – and us – hopeful that if only more people could experience nature this way, the world would be a better place. 

So that's nice. By the way, that's my 60-something-year-old father on the cover of the issue. He's kind of bad-ass.

Here are a couple of spreads from the story:

If you want to read the whole shebang, you can do so here. It's basically a paean to wilderness that I managed to turn into just enough of a cycling story to get it in a cycling magazine. Feels great to win an award for it. Feels even better knowing that the Canadian Flathead, the imperiled valley the story takes place in, is now protected (see my post "The Flathead: A Celebration"), and that in some small way I contributed to that.


  1. Congrats on a well-deserved recognition, and make sure to tell your dad he rocks!

  2. Congratulations Aaron! I really enjoy your work. Last, but not least, thanks for sharing your insightful storytelling and photographs!

  3. Nice work Aaron. Well done. Congrats.

  4. That photo of your pops... seriously take meaning of 'young at heart' to a new degree.