Chapter 6

This is No Picnic: 1997 

During World War II, the U.S. Army built a primitive oil pipeline across the Mackenzie Mountains in Canada’s Northwest Territories. This region was, and still is, virtually uninhabited and one of the most remote in North America. While solo backpacking the 233-mile Canol Trail that follows the long-abandoned pipeline route, I benefit from a chance encounter with a dog, and make an unusual connection with my heritage. This chapter also includes an interview I conducted with the sole surviving African-American soldier who was stationed on this massive but little-known project.