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Thread: North to Alaska

  1. #1
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    Default North to Alaska

    I'm all packed and ready to head to Alaska to visit my son Smokymtnred who has worked this season up in Healy...planning on doing a little hiking in Denali while I'm up..will think about you folks while I make pancakes and coffee up on the tundra.

    See ya'll when I get back!

    YAHOO!!!!

    smokymtnsteve
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  2. #2

    Smile Have a good time

    Steve, I'm jealous, yet envious. My wife and I hiked in Denali last summer. Just remember to keep yelling out every now and then, those grizzlies don't like to be surprised!

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    Take plenty of pics while you are there. You may see some aurora there soon.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokymtnsteve
    I'm all packed and ready to head to Alaska to visit my son Smokymtnred who has worked this season up in Healy...planning on doing a little hiking in Denali while I'm up..will think about you folks while I make pancakes and coffee up on the tundra.
    We got back from Alaska a couple weeks ago - you'll love it. Just wondering -- exactly why DID I come back anyway?

    Just don't limit yourself to Denali. Denali's nice, but it's not all there is to Alaska.
    No one can solve problems for someone whose problem is that they don't want their problems solved.

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    Default Enjoy!

    I worked and lived on Kodiak from '84 to '89. you're going to love the park.

    regards,
    bill
    SEMPER PARATUS

  6. #6
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    My flight to AK was great and right on time, ...the view of the glaciers coming into anchorage are AWESOME. Smokymtnred was waiting at the airport for me and had made arrangements for us to visit fellow whiteblazer Orjuga. Thanks Indrek for your hospitality. today will Leave Anchorage to head up to Healy Alaska ... This is a really beautiful place and the weather is great.
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

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    Default There I was on the Camper Bus leaving Wonder Lake to The Denali Vistor Center

    It was our last day, and our permit was over, it was Friday Sept, 3, 2004 when we left Wonder lake campground it began to snow on the long bus ride back. Our bus driver pulled over to pick up two hikers that were in the back country units,,,,so I went to the back to help them load their gear in the bus, and there he was this guy with an "AT" Patch on his backpack, I have aways been interested in the AT since I started hiking....so I asked him if he was an AT guy , and he said yes, "HARDCORE"....he was hardcore, it was snowing, the first snowfall of the year in Denali National Park and he was hiking out of the backcountry..... I try to post a pic of me and smk mtn steve at the vistor center......

    Regards,
    NG

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoFlHiker
    ....so I asked him if he was an AT guy , and he said yes, "HARDCORE"....he was hardcore, it was snowing, the first snowfall of the year in Denali National Park and he was hiking out of the backcountry..... I try to post a pic of me and smk mtn steve at the vistor center......
    smky mtn steve has changed his name to HARDCORE?

  9. #9
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    SoFLhiker is referring to my HARDCORE trail crew patch that I recieved for working with Bob Peoples , every year right after Trail Days a group gets together to does some trail work, HARD CORE CREW, several members here from WB were there at HARDCORE this year, including Trail Yeti (who has been a HARDCORE worker for years), Grasspicker, OldPhart, Sgt.ROCK, smokymtnsteve, Baltimore Jack (who made dinner a couple nights) and Rain Man ( who ate dinner..LOL) and I'm sure others that I can't remember.

    So heading in on the camper bus on a snowy morning in Denali NP I ran into some folks who saw my AT patch and also are members of WB...

    It's a WIDE, WIRED WORLD
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  10. #10

    Default I've got some long-range plans to hike in Alaska myself, AFTER the AT...

    Hike #1 will be from Valdez to Prudhoe Bay, along the pipeline south to north. I got this idea from a book I flipped through in a bookstore once (wish now I'd bought it) about a guy who did exactly that.

    #2 will be from Nome to the Canadian border, staying just south of the Brooks Range. This will go through Gates of the Arctic and ANWR.

    These hikes are around 750 and 850 miles, respectively, so even together the mileage is less than the AT.

    I can't see doing even hike #1 before summer 2006, but I WILL do them.

    I will definitely take firearms, at least one companion (one person's already promised to go with me on both hikes), and a couple of barky dogs with me. I would plan on doing these hikes during successive summers. The hardest things IMO about it are 1) carrying enough food, given the distance between towns (figuring on going 2/3 the speed in the bush that I would on a proper trail), and 2) crossing the larger rivers. Water is NOT an issue in most of AK, from my reading. Likewise, I'll probably do some fishing en route on the second hike, at least; there are an estimated 3 million lakes in Alaska, about 30 times as many as in Minnesota. The worst temps probably won't get to zero, and 60s should be far more common. I'll be properly prepped for anything from -15 to 90 degrees, as the 2nd hike will likely take into September, and I'll be awfully close to the Arctic Circle and at a little bit of elevation...

    I figure two GPS units and a satellite phone would be wise to bring along. There are a number of Native villages I'll hit that I'll figure I'll have someone in the lower 48 send mail drops to. Just figuring the gear and supplies out will be intriguing as heck IMO.

    Anyone think coming along sounds like fun?

  11. #11
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    AH! ALASKA! I love it,,Alaska is HUGE, really big, overwhelming, have you considered dog sled travel,instead of hiking, at pressent I am doing the research and footwork to move to AK, hopefully ready by next spring.


    water can be an issue in AK,,there are lots of rivers and lakes but there are also huge areas with NO h2o,,,the interior of AK is VERY arid.
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  12. #12

    Default Don't worry, smokymtnsteve...

    I will plot out water before I go. From what I've seen on maps, though, I'll never go over 5 days between water sources, as long as I don't take zero days where there's no water.

    Any ideas on how to efficiently cross the larger streams (ones too deep to ford) would be handy. Sgt. Rock??

    I figure these hikes will be worth bringing SEVERAL cameras, too...

  13. #13
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    Have you been to AK before minnesotasmith?
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  14. #14

    Default Nope, just saw AK from a plane while crossing the Pacific once...

    But, I've read my tail off about the place, been all over the WWW about it, and own at least ten books about it. You spend one hour with one of my Alaska photography books, or on a website with good aurora pics, and you'll want to move there. I've also been around a climate that is not that dissimiliar. I've been outside when it was -42 F. actual. Likewise, in NE. MN, if you're off the coast, it's actually too cold for oak and maple to grow as a rule. It's paper birch, alder, aspen, and various conifers (cedar, etc.), much like central AK. I've seen wolves less than a mile from where I was living at the time there. Likewise, I've already had to dodge moose on gravel roads already, put tire chains on in darkness when it was sub-zero, etc. Not as many adaptations for me as for WB's Florida members, and anyway these will be summer/early autumn hikes.

    Dogsledding strikes me as a skill I don't want to have to learn unless I move there. Unlike snowshoeing, the initial expense, learning curve, and effort/expense of maintaining the capability don't seem minor...

    Factoid: in Fairbanks, AK, you can see the aurora an average of 242 nights a year, as opposed to the once or twice a year I've been able to (poorly) see it in MN. (Yes, I know summer is a poor time to see them in AK.)

  15. #15

    Default P.S., smoky...

    I've also had face-to-face conversations with at least five different people who have lived there. The guys all loved it, and the women all found things to like about it, even if they didn't like it overall.

    So, where's Lone Wolf to tell me how I'll never complete either of my AK hikes??

  16. #16
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    I went to fairbanks this trip..I drove from healy where my son worked this season (he already has a contract for 2005) to fairbanks,,about 110 miles viA the parks hwy which is a great road,,,one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken in my life, the road is a high speed hwy but IO took my time took me over 5 hours to travel the 11o miles, spent the late afternoon walking around fairbanks and exploring around the chena river,

    spent the night in a great hostel in town where i meet this girl from New Zealand who rode back to Denali with me. looking at some property about 15 miles "north" of denali park with a great view of the alaska range. cause all I have ever wanted is a little cabin in the mtns.

    AK is a great place,,,folks who live there seem to have a much differnet attitude and outlook on life then here in the lower 48,,,and esp here in the south, I'm going..I'm moving there. I LOVE it..it is the most beautiful place I have ever been too, and I've been to a lot of places,

    nothing else compares to it...go to AK first, PARADISE AWAITS YOU THERE.

    btw,.,saw the aurora on the flight home...and as far as dog-sledding lots of ads in the newspaper placed by MUSHERS looking for help with thier dog teams...free housing and free dog-sledding... an experienced backpacker could get a dog-sledding gig pretty easy,,,


    there are lots of jobs in AK,,more than there are folks to fill them.
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

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    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    I've also had face-to-face conversations with at least five different people who have lived there. The guys all loved it, and the women all found things to like about it, even if they didn't like it overall.

    So, where's Lone Wolf to tell me how I'll never complete either of my AK hikes??
    actually there are a lot of women in AK,,I was surprised..and the women I meet were out-going adventurous types,,there is a lot of freedom in AK.
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  18. #18

    Default Well, steve, I'd agree that the women in AK have good attitudes...

    Still, outside the biggest 3 towns or so, they're not exactly in surplus. BTW, do you know what the 3rd biggest political party in AK is, after the Demopublicans and Republocrats? The Alaska Independence Party, which favors secession!! You gotta love a place like that.

    No income tax, no sales tax most places, and each October the state gov't gives each man, woman, and child an average of a grand or so from the oil trust fund. You can probably get a moose each year if you hunt, there's all the salmon you could want, firewood for the taking, and FRESH king crab (and clams) near the coast...

  19. #19

    Default Big Alaska Hikes...

    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    Hike #1 will be from Valdez to Prudhoe Bay, along the pipeline south to north. I got this idea from a book I flipped through in a bookstore once (wish now I'd bought it) about a guy who did exactly that.

    #2 will be from Nome to the Canadian border, staying just south of the Brooks Range. This will go through Gates of the Arctic and ANWR.

    These hikes are around 750 and 850 miles, respectively, so even together the mileage is less than the AT.
    Sounds like you've got some interesting hikes planned! I made a six week solo Alaska trip a few years ago. Although I was hunting, it was much more of a backpacking and rafting trip than a hunting trip. (Incidentally, I made a video about this trip Alaska Hunting Adventure: 700 Miles Alone by Backpack and Raft that will be shown at the Far North Conservation Film Festival in Fairbanks on Saturday!)

    Anyway, you have planned out some major adventures. I've got some insight you may find useful. For what it's worth...
    To hike the pipeline you will need special permission. Getting it will probably be difficult, especially post 9-11. Not saying it won't be possible. though. Much of the route will be legal without permission if you follow the "Haul Road" north out of Fairbanks. The logistics of this trip will be much more simple than your second trip.

    Coincidentally, I am also planning a hiking trip across the Brooks Range, for next summer or the summer of 2006. That trip will be a true wilderness experience for both of us! You'll only cross one road that leads to a major town the entire summer, and unless you go WAY out of your way, you'll only come across only one village, Anaktuvuk Pass, the entire journey! I will have "food caches" placed by aircraft along the route. There are no established trails the whole way. You should figure on half the speed of a trail, at best. Some of the walking will be fairly easy, and some of it, through wet tussocks, will be absolutely brutal. The cross-country walking in Alaska is usually tougher than in other areas of the US.

    I think the most practical route for crossing the Brooks is near the continental divide, along parallel drainages. That should result in the best walking, and put you next to water. Finding water should not be a problem. Although it's true Alaska is arid, what water is around is usually easy to find, often TOO easy! Another big advantage to the "divide route" is it will do away with most of the major river crossings, since you'll be so near the divide you can walk upstream until a crossing is doable. Most Alaska streams are braided, too, near the mountains, meaning they break up into several channels before coming back together again.

    You will be in grizzly bear country the whole way in the Brooks, (and most or all of your pipeline hike) although the grizzlies in that country tend to be more mellow. I can only come up with one fatal mauling in the Brooks Range in history. I may or may not carry a "bear gun." Bear spray may be in order for peace of mind if I don't. A satellite phone and a gps would be a good idea.


    There will be snow in the Brooks into June, so deciding when to start will be a big decision. You'll probably want to finish in September and you'll see some snow in that month. You might well hit 90 deg. temps, but shouldn't hit -15 if you finish on time. You definitely don't want to be in the boonies of the Brooks on foot when it's below zero!

    I hope you make your trips. Let me know how your plans go.

    smokymtnsteve, I'm glad you got to visit your son in Alaska. It's a great time of year!

  20. #20
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    PARADISE..

    http://www.alaskahemp.org/

    while I was there the state court of Appeals made a ruling about the Constitutional privacy of an AK citizen,,,

    here is a link to the daily fairbanks paper

    http://www.news-miner.com/

    I meet a young lady in Nenana not exactly a major city (pop519)

    the citizens of Nenana FIRED thier police dept. said they didn't want them in town ..run'em right out of town they did.
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

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