Oddly enough, I woke up early. Adrenaline running and knowing this is finally the day. Time to smash out my last errands and fully commit. Still gathering all my Needed belongings and putting them in piles. Packed up my last 5 food drops and headed off to the post office. Labeled them up “General Delivery.” 2 different post masters didn’t know how to send them that way. There can’t be any ‘Maybes’ for getting these packages. But I really can’t do anything else but hope as my flight leaves today. Thinking I’d have more time the previous day’s, I started putting all my videos together of my Appalachian Trail Speed Record in 17’. Only got thru editing about 6 minutes of the rough hour long length. Found out completing that project would have to wait till I come home. Sister made juicy delicious burgers for LUNCH! Been getting a lil spoiled lately. Brother in law asked me when the flight left. I said, “ That’s a great question. 4 something, I should probably check that out eh.” Time flew by as I slowly gathered and packed my belongings. Like always, pushing time, hopped in the car and headed to the Minneapolis airport. Traffic was slow on Cedar Avenue, so my sister shot around cars and a police officer in the crappy slow lane. Thankfully no one was in the SunCountry line and the security line. Perks of flying on a Wednesday. As I made it to the gate, they were calling out boarding class 3 already…. Perfect timing : ] Hopped on and say next to 2 people that were from close by my hometown. Bemidji and Walker Minnesota. Older lady had plenty of interesting stories. She was coming up to visit her son for a month. The guy was coming up to fish for a handful of days. Edge of British Columbia and Alaska, I started hitting some major mountains. To be exact we flew right by Mount Saint Elias. Believe it’s the second highest, coming in a little over 18,000 feet. Finally dropped into Anchorage, getting those Montana vibes up here. It’s not too shabby. It was crazy to see how many people are coming up here to fish. When I got to the baggage claim, I kept seeing endless amounts of coolers dropping onto the never ending conveyor. Must be all the fishermen flying in. Clark picked me up and let me crash for the night. Headed straight to rei to pick up my paddle. Walked in 5 minutes before closing time. PERFECT! Headed back to his place and he made Pounds of spaghetti. The sauce he made was there best I’ve ever had. Perfect jalapeno kick with the best mix of other herbs and spices. Was harder than expected to get use to light at midnight.
The Brooks Range is roughly 700 miles long, but my adventure isn’t stopping at there. I am planning on continuing roughly another 433 miles and angling down to Wales, Alaska.
Down to some specs.
I’ll be heading up to Barter Island on June 20th, 2018 (+/- 2 days). With climate change, people are claiming this to be the polar bear capital of the United States. From there, I will have a short paddle across the Beaufort Sea which is part of the Arctic Ocean. Still to research are my possible peaks to bag while thru-hiking. Off-shoots will mainly depend on the type of weather, and if I still have extra food before the next village. A couple of the mountains in mind at the start would be Mt. Chamberlin or Mt. Isto. Undetermined for years, supposedly Mount Isto is the highest peak in the range. My first resupply will be 177 miles at Arctic Village. My second resupply will be in Coldfoot after hitchhiking a little over 60 miles. The third resupply will be at Anaktuvuk Pass. A little over 600 miles in, I will be stopping and supplying at Ambler. Resupply stops after this will be Kiana, Noorvik, and a possible stop in Kotzebue if supplies get low. Then I will be off to Buckland angling towards Brevig Mission. Eventually, I will be ending the trip of a lifetime in Wales, Alaska.
Pre-Brooks Range Training
I have a couple things on mind to train for the Brooks Range expedition. With having the skeleton of this trip planned, I’ll be able to focus more on gear and techniques.
(1.) My main thought is finishing up my 2nd Triple Crown. OR
(2.) My second option is breaking the self-support speed record of the Arizona Trail.
Misconceptions of hiking ideas and strategies made my first trail the most memorable.
I hiked 8 different months of the year on each of the 3 main trails. (PCT, CDT, AT) This has pushed my abilities and allowed me to relish the unseen beauties in every seasons. This is big, because lots of triple crowners nowadays don’t ever touch the snow. I’ve been eager for learning new ideas/ways and aiming for harder goals. Eager to go more places where few people have gone. In 2015, I started my thru-hiking with the Pacific Crest Trail and then thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail the same year. When 2016 rolled around, I completed my triple crown. I then continued and finished the Great Divide Trail, being roughly the 5th person ever to do both trails in a season. I capped off the year in November after hiking the Superior Hiking Trail. With being able to complete all my hiking goals so far, 2017 was the year to do something CRAZY. Why, because I’m still young and I may never get another chance. In 2017, I set the self-supported speed record of the Appalachian Trail, which was my main goal. My second goal of the year, the calendar triple crown didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted it. Roughly 10-12 people have ever accomplished the calendar triple. After hiking a little over 6,200 miles in 17′, I called it a year in November after consistently getting hit with storms. I pushed hard in my 2017 goals, yet I didn’t let “the rush” get in the way of meeting people and seeing the world’s beauty.
1296 – 1330 mile
The day was going perfectly till I went they a shrubby section. I came out the other side and saw a massive Grizzly less than 15 get away. I started slowly backing away hoping it wouldn’t notice me. With the shrubs hitting my pack he glanced over. Moved about ten feet back and could barely see him. I turned and started running back down the trail. The massive bear ran after me and was gaining fast. The only thing I could do is stand my ground. I stopped and faced him. He got about 5 feet in front of me and then I woke up from a bad dream. What a way to start the day. Must be from all that Alaska talk. Slow going day, stopping a handful of times to dry out the toe. Also carrying 22 miles of water dropped the pace a bit. Finally rolled by the PCT halfway marker . Made it past the road into Chester and posted up for the night. No rush to get to Old Station when everything opens up late.
Waking up temp is just amazing right now on this hot section. Perfectly painted sunrise while breaking camp. Dry section has led to a bit of a hike off trail to get water. Bomb campsite wayyyyy up on top. Ran into Justin, talked building off grid cabins, Montana, Alaska, and stuff like that all night.
1203 – 1239 mile
Fully recovered, early start with amazing sunrise. Enjoying the dwarfed trees up on top. Brings the excitement back into bonsia. Something feels just really old about northern California.
1193 -1203 mile
Easy 3 miles into Sierra City. Hung out and talked to Corona and a dude hiker(forgot his name)behind the church camping area. Didn’t know if I was going to see any hikers in town, it’s getting late in the season for nobos. The Sobos haven’t made it quite this far south yet.
Foundout my cousins from Australia are hanging out in Portland. Possibly going to meet up and hike a couple days with them in northern California. Eventually the store opened up, snatched my packages and ran back to the church. Trying to make this town stop as short as possible. Shower came along with clean clothes. Cold shower, but it’s the first one since I’ve been back on trail. Felt AMAZING!!! The locks were getting quite dirty.
Got my new Bomb pack and tarp from ZPACKS. Super excited to lighten up my weight, get a better fitting pack, and learn new skills with the tarp. Swung in and sent my pack, tent, and extra junk home just before the post office closed.
Slowly accomplishing things it was finally time to resupply… They say don’t go to the grocery store hungry, so I cashed in on the 1 Pound Burger. Feel like you always gotta grab the 1lb burger, you don’t see that very often. Smashed the whole burger and half the fries with a couple Dr. Peppers. Cravings Crushed ! ! ! Pricey country store, but they go wayyyyy outta their way. Chatted with the only 2 hikers in town before hitching a ride back to the trail. Came across another late seasoned nobo. Jesse was his name, he was taking a break at the top after the massive climb outta town. He’s a web designer/developer from Canada. It was fun running thru the whole hiker talk. Gear, places to go, ideas, bike touring, people met, ect…
1271 – 1296 mile.
Back in thru hiker style, started rolling before 6am. Nice smooth trail up on top before it dropped 8 miles down into town. Hung out with five straggly nobos, downed tons of Pepsi, resupplied, and soaked my foot. Waited for hot part of the day to pass, last thing I need is hear exhaustion. Went by Rattlesnake Springs just before entering into Lassen NF. Stated seeing tons of smoke from all the fires up north. Must be getting close.