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Old 09-20-2018, 02:13 PM
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Default Solo 1,500 mile Traverse of Alaska



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Hi Folks!

This summer I started up at the Arctic Ocean in Alaska and hiked south over the Brooks Range. Then I paddled down a series of rivers including the Yukon, before doing a week-long portage to the Kuskokwim River. From there I paddled to Pacific tidewater.

Needless to say I saw lots of animals: grizzly, black bears, wolverine, lynx, thousands of caribou, moose, sheep and much more.

Since I got back I've been posting my journal and photos. I think you'll find it interesting. This link has a map of the trip and a link to my journal entries.

I will be happy to answer any questions you have here.

Thanks!
Buck

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Old 09-20-2018, 02:50 PM
FalconsBravesHawks FalconsBravesHawks is offline
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Did you bring any guns?
What did you do for food the entire time?
Did you have more than the 1 cache at the start?
Did you have any scary encounters with the wildlife?

Details man! Sounds like a very fun trip of a lifetime.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by FalconsBravesHawks View Post
Did you bring any guns?
What did you do for food the entire time?
Did you have more than the 1 cache at the start?
Did you have any scary encounters with the wildlife?

Details man! Sounds like a very fun trip of a lifetime.
I didn't bring a gun, just bear spray. I had the food I flew out with and three other caches along the way. Along with the hiking/kayaking type of food I normally carry, I ate some grayling and pike and picked berries.

A wolverine loped over a bluff almost within spitting distance when I was sitting down one day. We had a long stare down. That was interesting.

When I was climbing a hillside I looked down to see a grizzly looking up at me. It ran.

I heard big animals outside my tent at "night" a few times.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:05 PM
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That trip sounds awesome. I often think of how neat it would be to do something like that but when I start actually thinking of what it would involve I realize how tough and miserable it would actually be(most likely the first few days would be great, then a week or so of wishing I had never started, then eventually getting used to it and it just being another day)

Be sure to update here when ever you update the journal. What was the tent you were using?
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:23 PM
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How do you find the time to do a trip like that, are you retired, rich, just don't care about money and stuff? How do you pay your bills while on the trip? I want to do something like that but can't find a way to get the time, money, and help to do it.
Heck I'd like to just do a month on the AT
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by lasers View Post
That trip sounds awesome. I often think of how neat it would be to do something like that but when I start actually thinking of what it would involve I realize how tough and miserable it would actually be(most likely the first few days would be great, then a week or so of wishing I had never started, then eventually getting used to it and it just being another day)

Be sure to update here when ever you update the journal. What was the tent you were using?
Yup, you definitely have to have your head in the right place to not get burnt out. It is all totally worth the effort though.

I was using a Lunar Solo single wall shelter. Kept me out of the rain and bugs every single night.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:47 PM
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How do you find the time to do a trip like that, are you retired, rich, just don't care about money and stuff? How do you pay your bills while on the trip? I want to do something like that but can't find a way to get the time, money, and help to do it.
Heck I'd like to just do a month on the AT
I was a career smokejumper and worked thousands of hours of overtime and saved up money, living frugally. I live in a small cabin and drive a 20 year old pickup. Being single helps. I'm self employed now so I could take off a block of time to do it. My utility bills and whatnot are on autopay.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:34 PM
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Amazing adventure to be sure! A lot of people like to read books about adventures like this.

Have you ever read Eric Ryback's books about the Pacific Crest trail and Rocky Mountain trail? He was a beast who hiked 20 miles/day with a 70 pound backback in his youth.

As for me, I've had many great adventures and my share of mis-adventures. Four days of rain while following game trails in a Canadian valley. Hypothermia/lost tissue. Shattered leg bone - successful rescue. Bruised hip bones from 80 pound backpack. Raw skin rubbing between the toes. Fighting a nasty rip tide off the Florida coast. Charged by a shark in the Bahama's. Encountered an angry shotgun toting hermit. Stare down with a fox that thought it was a wolverine. Trying to eat wild plants. Mosquitoes so thick you couldn't see very far. Fire ants whose bites cause skin to slough off. Being ~90' deep and discovering only 500 psi of air in the tank. Boat discarding its anchor while diving.

Adventure - I'm getting too old for this **** sometimes.
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Old 09-20-2018, 08:39 PM
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Did you post this over on WhiteBlaze too?
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:04 PM
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WOW! Outstanding, just outstanding.

I did a similar, though not as spectacular thing back in 1993. Spent 10 mos. in AK started in Ketchikan, hiked and worked up the gulf and ended in Anchorage.
Did one stretch of 126 days on the trail, living out of packs.

The AMH stopped running Labor Dayish? so we literally missed the boat south.
Bought a rusty Subaru for $500 and drove from Anchorage to San Luis ObIspo, CA.
It was the best almost year in my life to that point. I can only imagine how awesome your trip was.
I'm tagging the page to read your journal, etc... Making me reminisce, lol.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by softdown View Post
Amazing adventure to be sure! A lot of people like to read books about adventures like this.

Have you ever read Eric Ryback's books about the Pacific Crest trail and Rocky Mountain trail? He was a beast who hiked 20 miles/day with a 70 pound backback in his youth.

As for me, I've had many great adventures and my share of mis-adventures...
I haven't read Ryback's books but I did meet him once on the PCT.

Sounds like you've had some good adventures yourself. Life can be interesting, can't it?
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:45 AM
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...Spent 10 mos. in AK started in Ketchikan, hiked and worked up the gulf and ended in Anchorage...
A guy never forgets a year like that!



And DuneElliot, yup, that was me.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:42 AM
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Doing that kind of trip solo and unarmed seems dangerously foolish to me.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:51 AM
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I haven't read Ryback's books but I did meet him once on the PCT.

Sounds like you've had some good adventures yourself. Life can be interesting, can't it?

Thing is getting stuck etc. was all good fun when I was young. Now it is more of an "oh craap" experience.

Effortless movement helps one deal with events gone astray. Movement is no longer effortless though I feel blessed with very good health for my age.

There is no substitute for the raw vigor of youth. There was a time I would have been delighted to walk around the world just to see the ideal bikini clad figure wriggling and jiggling about. One can do that when movement is effortless.

When young I just had to climb the tallest peak around. Now it is more of a "Hmmm, would be great exercise to tackle that monster today."

Plus I know I have cheated death my share of times and that nature cares not if another life is claimed. Not nearly as bold as I used to be when one nickname was "Dang" - as in danger.
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:18 AM
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Doing that kind of trip solo and unarmed seems dangerously foolish to me.
Assuming you're serious, how so? What do you think were the greatest dangers on a that trip?
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Old 09-21-2018, 03:35 PM
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Living on the outskirts of south central Alaska, and with the almost overwhelming demands of upkeep on my little spread, its rare that I get up north of Fairbanks. About 6 years ago I did a hunt on the brooks range, and on another (non hunting) trip I set eyes on thousands of caribou. I'll never forget seeing a herd of such size. Floating the Yukon is on my bucket list. So much to see and do! I would give my left nut to have the time to do a trip like that!

Post more pictures.
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Old 09-21-2018, 04:35 PM
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So far it looks like buck3m has grabbed the alpha male spot of the hiking board. 1500 miles of Alaskan wilderness in a solo effort. He should consider teaming up with a suitable writer. Perhaps Buck is a great writer himself?

I think every outdoorsman has a fascination with Alaska. Considered moving there many times. The challenges in doing so keep Alaska as real Alaska. Winters, cost of living, mosquitoes, and distance from the mainland are a few challenges. Used to be few women but that has changed considerably.

I still consider Alaska periodically. As well as Texas, Wyoming, and Montana. Colorado ain't too shabby for the most part. Not what it used to be of course.
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Old 09-22-2018, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Alaskajohn View Post
Living on the outskirts of south central Alaska, and with the almost overwhelming demands of upkeep on my little spread, its rare that I get up north of Fairbanks. About 6 years ago I did a hunt on the brooks range, and on another (non hunting) trip I set eyes on thousands of caribou. I'll never forget seeing a herd of such size. Floating the Yukon is on my bucket list. So much to see and do! I would give my left nut to have the time to do a trip like that!

Post more pictures.
Sounds to me that you are living a life that many would be envious of.

I've got lots of photos on my journal posts if you want to check them out.
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Old 09-22-2018, 09:25 AM
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So far it looks like buck3m has grabbed the alpha male spot of the hiking board. 1500 miles of Alaskan wilderness in a solo effort. He should consider teaming up with a suitable writer. Perhaps Buck is a great writer himself?...
I'm sure there are plenty of members who are tougher than I am and have of skills and knowledge and life experience that I don't, but thanks for the sentiment.

I don't know if I'm a great writer, but I've written a couple books. Books are a whole lot of work! This story I'm just posting for free in journal form.
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:21 AM
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Thanks for putting this out here for us to enjoy. With retirement about 9 years away, section hiking the CDT is about as exciting as I can afford for now.
My wife keeps wanting me to go on an Alaskan Cruise. I keep telling her when I finally do go to Alaska, it's going to be a one way trip.

Of course I have a plan B, if the winters are to cold, I'll buy a one-way ticket back...lol
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