I’m finally getting up to Alaska this summer, approx dates June 16 through Aug 8, and I’m trying to figure out what I want to do when I get there.
The one firm commitment is the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic in late-July. That still leaves me 5 weeks before the event and 1 week afterwards to play. Can I get some suggestions from you all?
Here are some general criteria:
- Trip length of 1-5 weeks
- Mixed hiking and rafting, with a 80/20 to 60/40 ratio – I love hiking, and for me packrafting is just a tool to covering miles and opening up otherwise inaccessible areas and route options. I’m comfortable on PR1 and PR2 rivers, maybe PR3 if I get in some time in my boat before I go.
- I would consider glacial travel if I had an experienced partner – I don’t have the skills on my own since the “glaciers” here in Colorado are really just permanent snowfields (at least for another 10 years or so).
- High mileage and long days – 20-50 MPD and 15-18 hour days.
- As few bugs as possible, though I realize the limitations of that criteria given that I’m arriving just in time for the spring hatch
- Positive bear encounters, i.e. when they see me they run away
- Lots of off-trail travel, though certainly not opposed to integrating recreation trails if they help me get somewhere.
- Potential resupply points about every 7-10 days, i.e. any town with a post office to which I can send a General Delivery package.
A few of the ideas that I’ve been toying around with:
Stitch together former AMWC routes, i.e. start at Homer, hike to Hope; get to Eureka Roadhouse, hike to Talkeetna; get to McKinley Village, hike to the Gerstle; get to Chicken, hike to Central, etc. To get between ending/starting points, I could either hike there or hitch there, or a combo of both. For example, I could cross Turnagain Arm, take the dicey route from Girdwood to the Knik Arm, and then hitch on the highway to Eureka.
Get up to the Arctic Refuge immediately when I arrive, since the hatch there is probably a little later and I could enjoy some mosquito-free travel until the entire state is taken over by bugs (or so I hear that’s what happens). I was specifically considering hitching up the highway, heading east into the Refuge, then south over the Divide, resupply at Arctic Village, and float out the Yukon back to the highway.
Juneau to Anchorage along the coast. Not sure if I’m skilled enough to do this – even looking at pictures of the Hubbard Glacier makes me shudder.
Please also note that I’m looking for trip partners, especially when I first get there. See this post, http://www.alpackaraft.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=582 for details.
Thanks in advance for the advice.