Alaska Trek 2013 – Reflections/Trip Summary

Presently, I will be writing up a report of our expedition.

I especially welcome reflections, comments, and contributions from all who participated in Alaska Trek 2013. It’s always great to read read multiple perspectives of the experience. Please feel free to post comments or email me directly at awocalaska@gmail.com. I also compile a book of photos and memories for each summer, so if you would like to submit any of your reflections/journal entrees for inclusion in that book (a great memory of your trek – it will be available for purchase by September), please send them along.

R.Shurmer

Memorable Folk Who Crossed Our Path

  • Jim: our mc for trivia night at the Golden Saloon in McCarthy. He told about watching a black bear ambush and destroy a moose he was trying to photograph not 20 yards from his truck on the McCarthy road. “That’s Alaska!”
  • Keith: school-teacher from Nome, Keith has spent over a decade teaching Alaskan natives in the rural Yukon District. We met Keith at the base of the Kennicott Glacier.
  • Joe: bushman from McCarthy, Joe may be one of the last Alaska’s who still pays his local bar tab with gold nuggets.
  • Greg: trekking guide from McCarthy
  • Danny: river guide and fishing expert from Copper Center
  • Aaron: hunting guide and river-runner from Copper Center. Aaron drove down from Tok with his jet-boat to take us up 24 miles of the Klutina River. He had just returned from a bear hunting (bagged sixteen of them!) and his boat was covered in bear blood.

Thursday 13June: With some weather delays earlier in the day, we arrived in Anchorage a couple of hours off schedule. However, our relatively efficient dash through a local grocery — the checkout lady informed me of a recent bear mauling — and REI put us on the road. After filling the van, and I do mean literally filling the van, with two-weeks’ worth of provisions, we headed north from Anchorage into the Chugach National Forest. Our first moose sighting occurred shortly thereafter; a big bull standing in the muskeg about a hundred yards off of the Glenn Highway 1 only a few miles from the city. It was only a short drive to the Eklutna Lake parking area — I guess the old quip that Anchorage is only 30 minutes from Alaska holds true — where we organized the provisions, packed up the bear canisters, and hand-pumped our first water directly from the lake (overlooked the forest service pump twenty yards away). It was well after 8pm or so before we finally hit the trail along the east side of the lake. We had three miles to walk to reach our first night’s destination, the Yuditna Forest Service Cabin.

* The chilly night on Klutina Lake provided not only the opportunity, but also the necessity, of an open fire. We welcomed the warmth after a day of rain and plummeting temperatures, nearly a 40 degree drop from the previous day.

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