Anywhere in Alaska - mid-June through mid-August

I’m going to Alaska this summer, approx dates June 16 through Aug 8, and I’m both looking for trip ideas and potential partners, especially early in my stay in order to more quickly adjust to how things work up there. (I’ve made a similar post in the Packrafting Trips forum.)

Ideal trip ideas are: long-term (1-5 weeks), more hiking than rafting (80/20 or 70/30 ratio), high mileage and long days (20-50 MPD) and high effort-to-reward ratio (contrary to popular belief, I’m not a masochist). I’d like to keep trip logistics easy and costs low – given how little time I’m there and how many easily accessible options there are, I don’t think there’s much need to get fancy.

Ideal trip partners are: experienced in Alaskan backcountry travel and similarly ambitious when it comes to the length and intensity of trips. I don’t approach trips like adventure races but I’d rather take advantage of 24-hour daylight than sit around in camp. I would be especially interested in a partner or partners who more experienced than me in areas like glacial travel and packrafting.

I have given some thought to what I’d like to do when I’m up there…

I understand I’m arriving just in time for the first hatch of mosquitoes, so I’m thinking about heading north immediately in order to take advantage of the later hatch there. I would be very interested in doing a route in the Arctic Refuge. Once the mosquitoes arrive in the north too, I was thinking that I would return back to southern AK and start stitching together old Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic routes – start at Homer, go to Hope, cross Turnagagain Arm, maybe try the Girdwood to Knik Arm route, get over to Eureka Roadhouse, hike to Talkeetna, get up to McKinley Village, hike to the Gerslte, get to Central, hike to Central, etc. Another option is to do the Lost Coast route from Juneau to Anchorage.

If you are interested in partnering up, please send me an email at or respond to this thread. If you have some ideas about trip ideas, please do the same.

Information can be found about me at my website,

Hey Andrew,

“Anywhere in Alaska” is a dauntingly broad set of options. :slight_smile:

Mosquitos vary greatly with location too… In the arctic and other places where there are standing-water pools all across the landscape they can be truly awe-inspiring. In forested regions it’s not such a biggie, just the usual cloud that keeps you walking briskly.

I don’t think we could join you this summer with the new baby and all, and I think we might be a bit slow for you. But if you come as far as Homer, please stop in our yurt in Seldovia, it’s just across the bay… maybe 15 miles or so from the tip of the spit. You could even start in Seldovia and have some nice fjord packrafting to start things off instead of the boring Homer-side beaches.

That said, Homer to Hope will be significantly more difficult than Hope to Homer because you’ll have to walk up the Fox River. If you’re up for some flatwater paddling, you might consider going over the mountains at Bradley Pass and working through some of the Kenai Fjords (awesome) and then cut back from Bear Glacier Lake to Exit Glacier. Then up the Resurrection River to the trail on the Russian River and then the trail over Resurrection Pass.

To get some broad experience of the state’s varied terrain you might consider going from southcentral Alaska (e.g. Seldovia if you want to do Homer-Hope, or skip the first part and start in Anchorage), hike through the Talkeetnas, cross Copper Basin using the Tazlina River (I know nothing about packrafting this river), then hike up to Mt. Drum and pick up the Nabesna to McCarthy route, followed by floating the Chitna and Copper to the delta. Then pick up the western end of the Lost Coast to Yakutat. And if you have the time just keep going! Soon you’ll be home. If you do this following some fun up north in June, then you’ll get a nice spread, and good fun too I think. And you get human-powered continuity if you want it.

Running the tides in Knik and Turnagain can be very cool, but there are some unusual hazards there that it’d be good to be familiar with. The silty sand there is renowned for getting people stuck until they drown in the incoming tide. And strong winds out the arms opposed by a rising tide can create some rips that are a bit different than anything I’ve encountered elsewhere. And if you do any long runs on the water, you might want to let the authorities know to circumvent unwanted rescue.

Hey Andrew,
I concur that mosquitos are hard avoid, no matter where you go. They can come early or late, depending on the year, and in some places can range from oppressive to pleasant year by year. One thing is for sure, they are as bad as can be in the Arctic—when the wind stops it is literally head-to-toe coverage. But I have seen them nearly as bad in Southcentral, in one particular year. Be advised that there are also other little demons—black flies, no-seeums, and white socks (Which have a particularly nasty and lingering bite. Fortunately for you, they are usually a late-season scourge).

Also, I noticed that you cover big miles down south. Be careful to predict such distances in Alaska. If I am fording rivers, crossing tundra, bushwacking through willows or alder hells, or cursing the Lord on tussocks, I might cover less than half of the distance that I can in the lower 48 (even off-trail). It is simply rougher country than anything the lower 48 has to offer. Just keep that in mind when you plan your mileage.

Have fun!

After many years of rafting, I recently purchased a packraft to be able to access more true wilderness. I live in Eagle River and am home for half the summer on vacation (till 8 July). I am interested in some of the sections of the trip Andrew mentioned, particularly in the Arctic or Gates of the Arctic NWR and here around SC Alaska. I am open to both short and long trips and am looking for a packrafting partner. Andrew or others out there, shoot me a line if you are interested and we could get down to the specifics of individual trips.


Skurka’s fast and his trip is very cool.

He paddled Turnagain solo from Beluga Point to Hope, hiked Res Trail and made it to Homer in a week floating or paddling just about all the bodies of water in between – then turned around and came to Seward paddling fiords – again all solo and very quickly! He did Beluga Point to Homer in one week and Homer to Girdwood the next.

Amazingly neat blend of old style Wilderness Classic route with sea-butt-boating route. He’s now hiking through Palin country en route to Talkeetnas, headed for Cantwell.

Watch his progress here:

The SPOT is good fun… we may well have to give that a try on our next big trip.

Though the SPOT line suggests otherwise, he didn’t actually do the Beluga-Hope paddle. It was blowing 30 down Turnagain when he got there, and would have been riding the tide up the bay. Not a good combo. I think he hitched around instead and started his walk in Hope. (We talked to him in Homer, so I haven’t heard detailed debrief since then.)

And my god he’s fast… He should be in decent shape for this years Classic.

Yep, he’s fast. He may be the first non-Alaskan to win a Classic.