Archive for October, 2011

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park Hiking

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park Hiking

A pack trip in Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve can be an exciting and rewarding wilderness experience if the hiker is prepared for the difficulties and hazards of traveling through rugged, undeveloped land. Because there are no maintained trails within the park, travel through dense brush, across steep scree slopes and across fast and cold […]

Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park

Friday afternoon, late April. End of a busy workweek — so busy that I’ve kept myself sequestered indoors, despite six straight days of glorious sunshine and springtime warmth. Today, finally, I leave my hurried, too-much-to-do city life and head for the hills. After too long away, I return to Anchorage’s backyard wilderness, Chugach State Park. […]

Denali’s Trailless Wilderness

Denali’s Trailless Wilderness

Hiking the Backcountry Less than a half-mile from the Denali park road and only ten minutes into our three-night backpacking trip, Dan Hall and I come to a sudden, unplanned stop. Seventy-five feet upstream, a brownish form moves among a clump of creek-bed willows. Then, sensing us, it too becomes still. The bus driver had […]

Hiking along the Aichilik River

Hiking along the Aichilik River

Drifting off to sleep my first night in the Aichilik River Valley I hear, or perhaps imagine, the distant howling of Canis lupus. Wolves enter my dreams and celebrate a successful hunt with wolf song. Several hours later I’m awakened by the cries of Homo sapiens, singing the praises of a glorious arctic morning. I […]

Hiking the Resurrection Pass Trail

Hiking the Resurrection Pass Trail

Alaska Weekend Getaway For a state that’s more than twice the size of Texas and known the world over for its wilderness, Alaska has surprisingly few marked and maintained hiking trails. The vast majority of the state’s famed wildlands are far from its rudimentary road system and accessible only by boat or plane. And while […]

The Denali Highway – Mountains and Landscape

The Denali Highway – Mountains and Landscape

The Alaska Range follows a broad arc for 650 miles, from Cook Inlet on Alaska’s west coast through the Denali massif and onward to the Canadian border. The Denali Highway passes through alpine tundra, paralleling this band of mountains to the south. Peaks like Mt. Hayes at 13,832′, Hess at 11,940′, and Mt. Deborah at […]

The Denali Highway – Wild and Scenic Paddling

The Denali Highway – Wild and Scenic Paddling

About 15 miles west of Paxson, the Denali Highway enters the Tangle Lakes region. This land of tundra-covered rolling hills forms the divide between two wild and scenic rivers, the Delta and the Gulkana. A series of long narrow lakes connected by the Tangle River, the area offers a smooth float in the headwaters of […]

The Denali Highway – Hiking

The Denali Highway – Hiking

Those wanting to take a break from the bike or car will find plenty of opportunities for strolling into the wilderness. Just beyond the Tangle Lakes, the Amphitheater Mountains jut out from the Alaska Range. A glacier carved a large hole through the mountains, Landmark Gap. A long finger of water has filled the bottom […]

The Denali Highway – Biking

The Denali Highway – Biking

A leisurely pedal is one of the best ways to enjoy the spectacular land along the Denali Highway. Cyclists should be prepared for a rugged ride once the pavement ends 21 miles from Paxson. The road is improved gravel, but that does not preclude long washboard and potted stretches. The high point is Mclaren Summit […]

The Denali Highway – Wildlife Watching and Birding

The Denali Highway – Wildlife Watching and Birding

The alpine tundra and lake districts are home to a fabulous diversity of wildlife. Moose, black and grizzly bears, and caribou roam the open spaces and forests. Bald eagles, gyrfalcons and long-tailed jaegers circle overhead. Trumpeter swans, ptarmigan, loons and more birdlife are common. The BLM, which administers the highway, recommends several spots for wildlife […]

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