Coming face to face with your loved one before teeth have their morning cleanup can be a brush with bad breath.

But doing the same thing with a polar bear could be a brush with death.

A Darby man who did just that says it was actually just another unforgettable experience in a lifetime of adventure.

94.9 KYSS FM logo
Get our free mobile app

Jon Turk has seen more than his share of adventures

Adventurer and author Jon Turk now calls Darby his home. But for decades he spent much of his life sleeping on ice, paddling in the dark across lonely, rough oceans, and seeing country you can only dream of.

That included epic sea kayak adventures like circumnavigating massive Ellesmere Island and crossing the North Pacific from Japan to Alaska.

Jon says it's part of another life that took on deeper meaning as the years went by. He says he started by planning big trips for sponsors and building a career.

"The journeys took me into a spiritual plane and a plane of following ancient wisdom that ended up overpowering and becoming more important than all the rest of the stuff."  

RELATED: Outdoor Adventures are Big Business for Montana

No second guessing

While most of us might wonder what we've gotten ourselves into when a trip goes wrong, Turk sees it differently.

"When I'm in a severe storm, a severe situation, I do not question what I'm doing. If you question what you're doing, you're gonna die. What goes through my head every time is, 'Jon, be totally aware of this moment. You will never be here again.' Take it all in. Absorb it, make it part of you and deal with it and come out the other end." 

And then there are the bears. Lots of bears.

"I've had a lot of polar bear experiences," Jon admits. "But one day a polar bear ripped a hole in our tent while we were sleeping. And I get up and I'm oh, I don't know, 3, 4, 5 inches nose to nose with the polar bear. I can smell his breath. And that moment becomes etched in your mind forever. Me and the polar bear. And the relationship you have with that polar bear. My only chance now. This is a mammal. I'm a mammal. Let's have a discussion."

I joke that his breath must not have been good at that time of the day.

"Yeah, it was. Yeah, it's scary. You'd rather not have it, but once you have it, you're glad you're glad you went through that experience."

Adventures first hand

Jon Turk will be sharing his experiences in a free presentation this evening as part of the "Cartography Comes Alive Series" at Xplorer Maps store in Missoula at 1245 S. 3rd Street West. The free presentation starts at 5:30 pm.  

See If You Can Identify These Montana Lakes Using Google Earth Images

From above, Montana's lakes may be less recognizable than you might think. Test your knowledge--see if you recognize these Montana lakes from Google Earth images.

Gallery Credit: Ashley

More From 94.9 KYSS FM