Our 3000 mile, human-powered journey will take us across some of the wildest parts of this planet: Alaska. We are attempting to cross Alaska from its south-east corner, Ketchikan, all the way to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic, to the north-west, Kotzebue. For most of our route, there are no trails, no roads, no huts, no cellphone coverage, and hardly any infrastructure we can rely on. We will depend entirely on each other, our tent to keep us sheltered at night, and our arms and legs to keep us moving towards our goal, Kotzebue. We will travel on foot and with packrafts, a small inflatable kayak, to take us across lakes and ocean straights, and to float down rivers, and with bikes for the 400-mile stretch on the Dalton Highway.
We expect our journey to take around 6 months. We will leave our home, Seattle, on March 26, 2021 via ferry from Bellingham in Washington State to Ketchikan, our starting point, and hope to reach Kotzebue by the end of September, before the winter reaches the Arctic.
Our journey can be split into six different sections:
Inside Passage (307 miles)
We will paddle and walk the inside passage from Ketchikan to Juneau with our packrafts. We hope to experience some of its abundant wildlife and camp on many uninhabited small islands. Maybe Ricardo will finally get to paddle along Orcas, the reason why he wanted to get into sea kayaking.
The Lost Coast (450 miles)
We will walk along the coast from Juneau to the Copper River delta. We will walk on isolated and windswept beaches alongside the Malaspina and Bering Glacier, and cross large bays in our packrafts.
Copper River Upstream (323 miles)
Like the salmons migrating upstream, we will try to make our way up the Copper River and cross the St Elias Range to McCarthy. We will then cross the Wrangell Mountain range through via the the Chistone Pass and finally reach Slana. We look forward going to McCarthy again, of which we have such fond memories (see here our slide deck from our previous alaskan backpacking adventure that inspired us to return to this wonderful and wild state).
Alaska Range (367 miles)
From Slana we will head into the Alaska Range and cross its eastern section until we reach McKinley Village. We will then float down the Nenana River to Nenana where wi will pick up bikes.
North to the Arctic (626 miles)
From Nenana we will first bike to Fairbanks, the only larger city we will cross on our entire journey. From there, we will bike and float down rivers to Prudhoe Bay. This will likely be the least wild section of our entire journey, as we will be biking for large sections either on the Dalton Highway or on the service road of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. In Prudhoe Bay we will again head out into untouched wilderness and will walk and paddle along the beach to Kaktovik, famous for its polar bears.
Brooks Range (837 miles)
We will spend the last section of our trip crossing the mostly uninhabited Brooks Range, a mountain range entirely north of the Arctic Circle. From Kaktovik we will hike south, towards the Brooks Range which we will follow along its watershed to the Noatak River which will take us to Kotzebue, the end of our journey.