Amakdedori Beach, on the wild western coast of Alaska’s Cook Inlet, is regularly whipped by strong winds, waves, and extreme tides. These forces have amassed an impressive pile of driftwood along the beach, as tall as a cabin in some spots.
But on an August afternoon the weather is sunny and calm enough for Kirk Johnson, an accomplished bush pilot and recently retired dentist, to land his Piper PA-12 on a stretch of tundra a couple miles from the shore. His daughter, photographer Acacia Johnson, and I exit and secure the plane to an alder stand to prevent the wind from taking hold of it.
Few people have been to remote Amakdedori; its main denizens are bears and wolves, and we