Exploring Deep Wilderness



Famed explorer and author Jon Turk takes listeners to the most extreme placed on Earth. Travels by kayaks and dogsled, encounters with crocodiles and polar bears.


  • Mind, Body, Tundra

    07/03/2016 Duration: 18min

    Jon learns he is a lousy traveler in the spirit world but a great one in this world. He discusses the native Siberian attitude toward the relationship between mind, body, nature, and the spirituality. And he describes how he has incorporated this worldview into his own life and a seminar he is conducting this summer on the subject.

  • Special Moments

    31/01/2016 Duration: 18min

    Seeing blue whales mating. A wolf welcomes you to the polar regions. A hawk or a deer in your back yard. Sometimes exploring deep wilderness comes down to individual moments of encounter.

  • In Defense of Cold

    22/12/2015 Duration: 15min

    As winter comes in, Jon defends the much-maligned cold. It's important to human health, important to ecology. There is no bad weather, he insists, only insufficient clothing.

  • Hiking the Bitterroot Ridge

    22/10/2015 Duration: 22min

    Jon and his son-in-law decide to traverse the endless Bitterroot ridge that separates Montana from Idaho. It's like hiking the Appalachian Trail--only very high up and with no path and with one foot in one state and another in a different one.  

  • Luck, Skill, and Death

    13/09/2015 Duration: 22min

    Jon tells two stories in which adventurers did not die because of some combination of luck and skill and analyzes which played what role.   

  • Loss in Emptiness

    01/08/2015 Duration: 28min

    Jon pays tribute to an expedition partner who died skiing in Kyrgyzstan and tells about the walkabout Jon took on the frozen Kamchatka tundra. On this solo trek, Jon angers the FSB, goes looking for the holy stone of the Koryak tribes, gets caught in a killer storm, and finally takes a reckless, inrresponsible run on the perfect ski run created by the storm. A meditation on loss in the big, big empty.

  • After Misha's Death: A Return to Vyvenka

    11/06/2015 Duration: 20min

    After Misha's death (see Episode #9), Jon returns to the Village of Vyvenka on the frozen tundra of the Kamchatka Peninsula, having decided to go on a solo walk-about in 20-below-zero temperatures.  

  • The Death of My Friend Misha

    18/05/2015 Duration: 26min

    Jon and Misha head off to Kamchatka. Only one of them makes it back. Misha wasn't killed on an expedition. He died, rather, in a hospital in the Russian Far East before the adventure even started. Jon talks about how he and Misha met, their long collaboration, Misha's recent decline, and his tragic death on the eve of their return to the Siberian tundra. 

  • An Interview on Hemispheres

    05/04/2015 Duration: 01h01min

    While Jon is away in Kamchatka, we bring you this interview he did earlier this year with Jim Banks's Hemispheres show on KGNU public radio in Boulder CO. Jon talks about his spiritual journeys to Kamchatka over the past fifteen years, his explorations there of native Koryak religiosity, and his relationship with the ancient shaman woman named Moulynaut. 

  • A Bitterroot Mystery

    23/03/2015 Duration: 20min

    Jon and his wife, Nina, hiking in the Bitterroot forest near their home in Montana, find some strange tracks in the snow: some human, and some canine. And they discover a person who seems to have teleported into the woods in the midst of a snowstorm. 

  • Returning to Kamchatka

    10/03/2015 Duration: 27min

    Jon heads off to a remote village in the Kamchatka peninsula in fear eastern Russia, where an old shaman woman once invoked the spirit raven to heal him. Follow @deepwilderness on Twitter for updates on a journey on skis across the tundra to find reindeer herders and who knows what else.

  • So You Think You've Known Fear

    25/02/2015 Duration: 34min

    Barry Blanchard has known fear. The legendary big wall climber is the author of the new book, The Calling: A Life Rocked By Mountains. He talks to Jon Turk about a bad day on the world's highest vertical-distance wall climb: the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, an escarpment that rises at an average of 50 degrees for more than three miles. If you've never braced against an avalanche for fully 27 minutes amidst 70 mile per hour winds and three-foot an hour snowfall, if you've never dropped your ropes 10,000 feet because of miscommunication with your climbing partner, we have a whole new definition of fear for you. Oh, and there's no air up there either. 

  • So You Think You've Been Tired

    14/02/2015 Duration: 42min

    Paul Attalla rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, finished third in a 500 mile kayak race having never done distance sea kayaking before, and won a non-stop bike race from Canada to Mexico. He knows something about exhaustion. He and Jon--who has island-hopped across the Pacific, circumnavigated Ellesmere Island, and gone around Cape Horn in a kayak--swap stories about being tired. Sharks, wolves, and a broken ore in the middle of the ocean.  

  • So You Think You've Gone Skiing

    02/02/2015 Duration: 25min

    In which Jon talks about different kinds of skiing--in particular, the sort of back country skiing he does. Avalanches, evaluation of snow conditions, crazy steep drops, cliffs, and guys you've been skiing with for years who don't know your name and think your PhD is a new kind of ski binding.

  • Who the Hell is Jon Turk?

    17/01/2015 Duration: 19min

    Wherein Jon explains a bit about his background--being a classmate of George W. Bush at Andover, telling his mother he wanted to be an orthodontist. and then becoming an expedition sea kayaker instead--and wherein he answers questions from Episode #1: What is this podcast all about? How did you come to get covered stuck to the sheets with dried blood in the hotel if the crocodile didn't eat you? And what did you see when you paddled up the river for dinner with the spiritual descendant of the crocodiles? And, of course, we learn about what happens when waves break in open ocean and you're in a sit-on-top kayak and a little about the similitaries and differences between children and chickens.

  • Crocodile Attack

    05/01/2015 Duration: 19min

    Wherein we open in a hotel room in the Solomon Islands with a line of marching ants and total body pain and end by washing our face in a river by way of meeting the ancestor spirits of our host in a dugout canoe--spirits that take the visible form of man-eating crocodiles.