06/30/05 GOTA Day 7 Backpacking (30 June 2005 Day 36 Total Day 22 in AK Day 7 GOTA Ready for a zero day, if I can handle just sitting around all day. It appears another storm brews in the west. Waiting to leave. Heading south toward the ?cabin? along the Ernie. Camp south of that perhaps. The North Fork Koyukuk will be in our schedule no later than tomorrow. We can see Frigid Crags/Boreal Mountain from this camp along the Ernie. Our resupply drop is just before them--just south of Pyramid Creek. My legs are tired early but gain spunk after our routine break. Rain all day. Definitely our most difficult day yet. Saw no cabin, but that?s probably because those USGS maps date back to the 50?s. Approximately 7 miles. The rain dwindled by the time we set up the tarps along the NF Koyukuk. The wind continued and it was cold. Put on dry clothes and made a break for it: pitching tents in case it began to rain again. It did not, of course. The freeze-dried food was well-deserved (mac+cheese). I could hear chanting in the river. Allen hears singing, too. It sounds Native American or tribal to me. It?s all too peaceful out here. The way it should be. )
07/06/05 GOTA Day 13 Rafting (6 July 2005 Day 42 Total Day 28 AK Day 13 GOTA Rafting Approximately a 30mi day! Very tough. The rain wouldn?t give in. Mosquitos worse as water widened and slowed near Florence Creek Lake. Camped south of that. Very buggy. Guys are ready to get out. Paddle another 30mi to Bettles.)
06/24/05 GOTA Day 1 Backpacking (24 June 2005 Day 30 Total Day 16 AK Day 1 GOTA At Wright Air Service at Fairbanks. $340+$310+$309=$959 for us, 3 packs, 2 boxes of resupply to Bettles/BRA. Taking a Piper Navajo. Little sleep last nite after a full day prep and going out to Cafe Alex. Camp 1 took approximately 5 miles (NOTE: Now that I have transferred our estimated track into Caltopo, our mileage will be more accurate). Camped along Anaktuvuk River. Saw two people. Before backpacking, we spoke with ranger, then to small store to call Judy at Brooks Range Aviation for the July 3 drop. Left message.)
06/29/05 GOTA Day 6 Backpacking (29 June 2005 Day 35 Total Day 21 AK Day 6 GOTA Lunch at southern end of Valley along the Ernie. Sun to stormy soon thereafter. Made camp just north of the Irish along the Ernie. Windy and drizzly. Pitched tarps and saw wolf over dinner (black/dark). Took another bath. Water ?warmer? than typical here. Hank and Allen didn?t quite agree with my choice of words. Low on lunches and fuel. Out of coffee now. But not surprised. Really looking forward to resupply. )
06/26/05 GOTA Day 3 Backpacking (26 June 2005 Day 32 Total Day 18 AK Day 3 GOTA Approximately 6mi. Huge ice chunk along the last bit of today?s hike up the Anaktuvuk River. Hot day, too. Just took a very cold bath, upriver from the ice chunk. Feels good. Tents are on an island. Kitchen on another island, upriver/downwind. I have made great leaps in a superior land. I feel small and big at the same time. Hear the thunderous breaks of the ice.)
06/27/05 GOTA Day 4 Backpacking (27 June 2005 Day 33 Total Day 19 AK Day 4 GOTA Starting late, finishing early. We hope to prolong this day. Walk slowly which we?ve been pretty good at doing lately, filming more at camp; taking more baths; and eating later. Today we?re hoping to get to Ernie Pass, about 5 miles away, and the continental divide that runs thru. Our difficulties will be the river crossings, i?m sure--probably the Anaktuvuk in order to get to Graylime. Let?s see. 11:25am. Damn mosquitos! X 3:15 Lunch along Graylime. Almost to CD and Ernie Pass. Not sure if we want to go that far because of lack of water at Pass and perhaps lack of energy to go beyond that just to hit next source of water Let?s see?. Nope. Stayed here. I need a ?welcome? mat for my tent that says something clever? Home sweet home, please knock, this test is protected by Glock (Brock), beware of dog? I really don?t think Gore-Tex boots are good for most conditions, especially out here. Gore-tex is to keep your feet dry: rain, small stream or creek crossings, winter. If you know you?re gonna get wet, regardless, and it?s not painfully cold, Gore-Tex becomes a burden. The water, moisture, and sweat never seem to escape. You end up waterlogged and, even worse, blistered perhaps. Having GTX on this trip hasn?t been good because of the environment. I knew I was going to get wet here and thus should have bought a tough but better ventilated boot. One that would dry quicker and/or squish out a lot of the water as I continued to hike. I?ve already spoken about the mosquito net. That is heaven, especially the king-size version. Next, the tarp. Luckily, hank and I brought our Hennessy Hammock Tarps. One we use as a lean-to; the other as a roof. We then clip the net onto the corner climps (and handy accessory) of the roof tarp and eat, drink, and be merry. A larger 10x10 would probably be best. As for the Zoids, they work well as 1-man shelters and good that we?re not sharing because most of the time we stink. (Lately, however, the baths have been an emotional, sensual, experience. That is, great for the sense of smell.) They do get hot under this 20hr sun, though. It remains difficult to regulate temperature. I keep moving in and out of the liner, and then with that in and out of the sleeping bag last night even with both fly doors and the foot rolled. Still considering taking the whole damn fly off tonight! Oh but the sun. The muff-muffs work--the eye-sleep mask thing. )
06/25/05 GOTA Day 2 Backpacking (25 June 2005 Day 31 Total Day 17 AK Day 2 GOTA Another 5mi. Wet feet. Arctic! Crazy to think of where I am on this globe.)
06/28/05 GOTA Day 5 Backpacking (28 June 2005 Day 34 Total Day 20 AK Day 5 GOTA We wouldn?t be too sure of the day of the week if it weren?t for journaling. Sunglasses, I failed to mention yesterday, are also good to have. Today I decided I may end up deleting ?nite? from my vocabulary. Now stopped for lunch just beyond Ernie Pass and the CD. En route to Valley of the Precipices. Made it to Ernie Creek/Grizzly Creek intersection at the north end of the valley. Exhausting day. By my calculations we did 7mi. Set camp. Set dinner tarp by creek, ate. I took bath. Been talking a lot about the drop, hoping the pilot arrives, the food lasts, and the Wooly and Unrooly Mexican Bash we?ll have at the Fountainhead Hotel when we arrive. Tequila, salsa, guac, tacos, and burritos and we have 11 days more to plan. The idea came last nite at Graylime Camp, and so I started a grocery list a few pages back. Morale has been high. We?re in the Arctic! Porcupine.)
07/03/05 GOTA Day 10 Rafting (3 July 2005 Day 39 Total Day 25 AK Day 10 GOTA Rafting One day ahead. 1:45-6pm. 1st raft day! Excellent! Hank?s boat. Short day. River low and ?gratey.? Camped around Cladonia Creek, where they warn of the rocky rapids. So far, no problems.)
07/01/05 GOTA Day 8 Backpacking (total backpacking miles = 42.64mi 1 July 2005 Day 37 Total Day 23 AK Day 8 GOTA Walked a short walk of approximately 2 miles, crossing the Pyramid and running into 4 people from Chicago. They had Eastern European accents. They had a raft dropped off and showed us where the runway is: the airport, if you will. Amazing that a plane can land here! We saw that plane dive in here from our camp around noon today. Camped parallel with it. I?m very tired and am looking forward to a zero tomorrow, a day off. (Remind me to write about AT ideas.))
07/04/05 GOTA Day 11 Rafting (4 July 2005 Day 40 Total Day 26 AK Day 11 GOTA Rafting River getting better. Rapids, no problem. Hank?s boat. Cold and rainy. Camped at intersection of Tinayguk River. Celebrated. Used raft as lean-to! Rain. Ate chili and cheese with brown rice. Jack again. Jack out again. Oh yeah, saw moose and cub crossing river today!)
07/05/05 GOTA Day 12 Rafting (5 July 2005 Day 41 Total Day 27 AK Day 12 GOTA Rafting My boat. Longest day yet. Approximately 20mi. Fun. No problems. Saw sun! 12:30-7:30. Camped at intersection of Ruby Creek. We?ve been leap-frogging a noticeable couple in a red canoe. They wear matching yellow jackets. We just wave and smile. Normally they pass our camp in the morning and we pass theirs in the afternoon. Tomorrow I will float us thru Squaw Rapids. Shouldn?t be a big deal?)
07/07/05 GOTA Day 14 Rafting (total rafting miles = 107.1mi TOTAL GOTA MILES = 149.74mi 7 July 2005 Day 43 Total Day 28 AK Day 14 GOTA Rafting Beauty of a morning! Guys still shooting for Bettles today. Made it to Bettles! Truck with dogs to get raft, meeting Kathy and then Ben. Got directions from people working on boat at ?Yacht Club.? Bought half case Budweiser for $24. Drank at hangar at runway. Met up with two locals who took us into the woods at the end of the runway to smoke and drink beer. Slept in cabin with bunks.)
06/11/05 DENALI Day 1 Backpacking (11 June 2005 Day 17 Total Day 3 in AK Day 1 in Denali Backcountry 10:30am camper bus to Kantishna, Skyline Drive. Takes 6+ hours. Bus broke down early. Transferred geare over. Saw dark wolf! Sheep, caribou. Beautiful. Awaiting good glimpse of Denali. Got cloudy glimpse of N. Peak at Thoro. Pass. Then bus #2 broke down, but 2 guys with a Leatherman fixed it. Trail day! Hit Skyline Drive. Old Gravel road along abandoned mines and private property signs. Camped around Glacier Peak. MOsquitos were bad. H2O was tough to get to. )
06/12/05 DENALI Day 2 Backpacking (12 June 2005 Day 18 Total Day 4 in AK Day 2 in Denali Backcountry I awoke, sleeping well, but in agitated state. Coffee, grapenuts, mosquitos. Biting me while shitting, too. Allen and Hank didn?t shit. Oh well. Ass only hurt for an hour. Packs were incredibly heavy and burdensome. Saw caribou by midday and I began feeling better after some time walking. After lunch in front of Spruce Peak we head down turn corner and then see Grizzly! Down below. Changed direction and camped on different ridge. Much better day today.)
06/13/05 DENALI Day 3 Backpacking (13 June 2005 Day 19 Total Day 5 AK Day 3 Denali Backcountry Decided to hike southeast today toward Willow Creek, North Fork, and up to the ridge along its southern bank. Looking back, we probably should have maintained original course but I?m sure it?ll pay off anyway. I think if we head southeast and then cut up toward Myrtle we?ll fix things. Skeeters are bad at such a low elevation. We walked up the North Fork today, which was dumb but somewhat refreshing. We noticed the storm moving in once on the southwest ridge and barely got our tents up in time. Soaked! We pitched tarps and mosquito net (the best damn investment ever) and had dinner. The squitos were out even in all the rain! Used tarps to get H2O to cook with. No need to go down to the river!)
06/14/05 DENALI Day 4 Backpacking (14 June 2005 Day 20 Total Day 6 AK Day 4 Denali Long day thru thickness. Bush! Once on top of a ridge, after crossing North Fork, we were fine. Until the quick hailstorm. I hunkered down, pellets picking at me, hoping lightning wouldn?t strike. Amazing. Hank, 20yds behind was kneeling similarly. Found a place to stop, get H2O, and then cmap in high wind, hoping squitos wouldn?t mess with us. Wrong! Much worse here. Perhaps because of all the rocks and moisture. Still watching Denali.)
06/15/05 DENALI Day 5 Backpacking (15 June 2005 Day 21 Total Day 7 AK Day 5 Denali Most of today was spent on plateaus. Fierce hailstorm and lightning hit and we had to drop for a spell. I found a bear-dig, one i could lean into and throw my footprint over. It was a nice, huge bear-dig. Then we dropped down into the valley where Boundary and Stoney Creeks meet. Stayed wet all day. Our toughest day perhaps, after adding in no zero days and cumulative rough days prior. We?re gonna have a long haul tomorrow. I hope we can make it to the road with no problems or delays as we head up the Stoney. )
06/16/05 DENALI Day 6 Backpacking (37.69mi TOTAL 16 June 2005 Day 22 Total Day 8 AK Day 6 Denali Beauty of a day. Awoke at 6am to get to road at decent hour. Back and forth across creek/river. Wet boots. Made it to road by 3:15pm. Picked up by camper bus. Hence awful handwriting. Change Platypus hose, pack cover, filter, flares, pen pencil, tarp. Camper bus driver: ?you guys stink . . . . like wet feet.? Stayed at Fountainhead Suite next 3 nights. All other hotels booked solid or shitty. Hank saw Fountainhead van, Allen memorized number, and I called. Excellent place. Ate whole medium pizzas. Drank beer and crashed!)
07/02/05 GOTA Day 9 ZERO DAY (2 July 2005 Day 38 Total Day 24 AK Day 9 GOTA Slept well again. Still waking tired with tired legs. Did laundry in the river and ate breakfast there, watching the Koyukuk zoom by. Hank and Allen were still sleeping. For food, I have pasta primavera and potatoes with broccoli and cheese (2 dinners); ziploc of nuts; soy protein bar (1 lunch, maybe 1.5); 2 cups of miso-noodle soup (2 emergency rations); and a few sticks of gum. None of this, of course, includes the emergencies that the other 2 are carrying, especially the mighty-mouse couscous. I?ve eaten all my breakfasts now (kashi, grapenuts, crans, d. Milk, cinnamon, oatmeal, nut butter); almost all my lunches (bars, nut butter, crackers, cheese, dried bananas, whoppers, yogurt raisins, nut butter); and 8 dinners (all freeze dried, except the nut butter). I could have brought more breakfasts and lunches and nut butter, but i think i?ll be all rite as long as the resupply comes (note the doubt) as scheduled. This trip should make the AT seem like a walk in the park. The only thing the AT has over this is time, distance, and more human contact (which might not be a good thing). If i could just get my base weight down to well below 20lbs (which it was on my 7-day section hike, 19-25 march 2005) i may have an even easier time. Sleeping system and shelter is where i may do most of my trimming. Around 1pm today, as Hank and I were catching rays along the Koyukuk, a plane landed. While we walked over, Allen had already spoken with the pilot. It was Jay! I told him who I was and that I had talked with Judy, his wife. He said he may bring our stuff today if he can. Morale has peaked back to super high levels, now that we are sure they know we?re here! Valerian Root Got our resupply a little after 2pm today! Rain came. Tarps on beach, no good. Tarps behind tree, good. We have so much food. Got a buzz. Hung a line, fell off tree twice! Lucky I?m drunk limber for climbing timber. )
06/24/05 GOTA Camp 1
07/01/05 & 07/02/05 GOTA Camp 8 & 9
Lunch
06/27/05 GOTA Camp 4
06/28/05 GOTA Camp 5
Lunch
Lunch (I used "L" here but I can't remember what I used this code to represent. Lunch?)
06/26/05 GOTA Camp 3
WC (I can't remember what I used this code to represent. Water?)
06/29/05 GOTA Camp 6
Lunch
06/24/05 GOTA Anaktuvuk Pass Landing
07/07/05 GOTA Exit @Bettles
06/25/05 GOTA Camp 2
Lunch
06/30/05 GOTA Camp 7
07/02/05 GOTA Landing Zone (LZ)
07/03/05 GOTA Camp 10
07/04/05 GOTA Camp 11
07/05/05 GOTA Camp 12
07/06/05 GOTA Camp 13
06/11/05 DENALI Camp 1
06/11/05 DENALI Bus DropOff
06/12/05 DENALI Camp 2
BEAR
Lunch
Water
Water
06/13/05 DENALI Camp 3
06/14/05 DENALI Camp 4
Water
06/15/05 DENALI Camp 5
06/16/05 DENALI Bus PickUp