This is an installment of Cautionary Tales, an ongoing series about lessons learned the hard way in the Alaska outdoors. Jim Dore resolved to get to Alaska, one way or another. He was sitting in a fourth-grade classroom in the suburbs of Chicago back in 1960, a year after Alaska became a state. While examining a map of the United States, the 9-year-old Dore spoke up. "They forgot to put roads on this map," he said, looking at Alaska. His teacher's response: "No, they didn't." Dore was stunned. The farthest he'd gone from home was Michigan and Indiana. The thought of such a vast state ripe for exploration set his imagination ablaze. And that was when he made an unshakeable vow: Man, if I ever make enough money to get to Alaska, that's where I want to go. Thirteen years later, at age 22, Dore crafted his plan. He could study mining and engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. All he had to do was get there. A business hired him to deliver a van from Illinois to Seattle. After his cross-country drive, he would fly to Juneau, catch a ferry to Skagway, ride a train to Bennett Lake near the Canadian border, then paddle a six-person rubber raft — which he bought from Sears for $89 — through 100 miles of interconnected lakes to the Yukon River. After floating the Yukon, he would get out at Circle, then hitchhike to Fairbanks. His plan was ambitious, perhaps even more so when you consider that his brother Bob, who just turned 13 and was fresh out of seventh grade, came along for the ride. What did his parents think? "I know they had concerns," Dore said. But, he figured, there was no way he was doing this alone. [He survived a stormy solo water crossing in 1961 — but missed his own memorial service] The real adventure started at Bennett Lake, where Dore and his brother tried to bend to their will a raft loaded down with enough food for three months. They paddled only about a mile before deciding to set up camp and secure their raft. At that time the breeze was blowing off the shoreline, which kept their raft in deeper waters and gave them enough confidence to leave it loaded with their provisions — a move Dore described as "stupidity on display." The wind