June 4, 2014: Today I head north to begin my adventure. I will hopefully begin my trek tomorrow. My mom will be posting weekly or so updates of my expedition to this blog.
With winter winding down, I feel as if now is as good time as ever to announce my plans for this summer. After I graduate in May, I will be beginning a new set of (hopefully successful) adventures. I wanted to start off my own personal adventures with a bang. So for the past few months I have been planning a trek that will likely challenge me more than I have been challenged at any other point of my 21 years of existence.
On June 4th, I will be departing for The Brooks Range, located in Alaska’s Far North. I will be spending the next four months there, hiking and packrafting, back and forth across the Brooks Range for a total of two full traverses that total just over 1,750 miles. It has been my dream for quite some time now to spend a summer in The Brooks and I have devised a unique route that will allow me to do just that.
A basic descriptions of my route is as follows: I start just short of Atigun Pass on the Dalton Highway. I will head east, stopping close to the Canadian border. From there I will proceed to hike and packraft west along the Continental Divide, before floating the Ambler and Kobuk River south/west past Ambler. I will head northwest past Noatak before turning around and hiking across the northern section of the range, until floating out through the Gates of the Arctic to Coldfoot on the North Fork of the Koyukuk River.
The total route of 1750 miles will be traveled on foot roughly 70% of the time, with the remaining miles using a packraft to float various rivers within the range. I will be resupplying my rations in the sparsely located towns (Arctic Village, Ambler, Anaktuvuk Pass, Noatak) in and around the range, along with one food cache near the Dalton Highway.
One of the most common questions one faces when they look to embark on an adventure is why do this? It is a tough question to answer. For me, there are multiple reasons that answer this question. The number one reason would be to return to Alaska, a place I fell in love with in the summer of 2013. I have never experienced the level of natural beauty or sense of complete inner peace, at any other place or moment during my life. I strongly desire to return to that simple way of life and being.
Other reasons include immersing myself in The Brooks Range (as stated above) and challenging myself in order to see what I’m capable of. To live. To be free.
I’m both very excited and scared for what the months ahead hold. This is the adventure of a lifetime, yet I hold a fear for the unknown. Stay tuned, more details to follow.