Hey all -
I'm going to Alaska this summer for about 8 weeks, and I'm looking for ideas about what to do while I get there. Not sure how many people on BPL are versed in long-distance AK trips, but I'm throwing it out there anyway.
Here are some general criteria:
- Trip length of 1-5 weeks
- Mixed hiking and packrafting, 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.
- Glacier travel is probably not an option unless I find an experienced partner. I don't have the skills to do it on my own.
- 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 Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic 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, from Hope 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, along Erin & Hig's route. Not sure if I'm skilled enough to do this -- even looking at pictures of the Hubbard Glacier makes me shudder.