This was my first—and certainly not my last—visit to Alaska, the state that both excited and intimidated me more than any other. I had wanted to visit Alaska for years but scheduling conflicts generally prevented me from doing so. And I also had concerns about whether I in fact had the backcountry skills and experience to handle Alaska’s vast wilderness.
After months of staring at maps, soliciting trip ideas from locals, and gathering route beta, I managed to put together a 700-mile route that I thought was appropriate for my first visit: challenging and risky for sure, but not the most challenging or risky route that Alaska has to offer. (I’m holding that one off for next time…)
Overall, it was a successful and rewarding trip. I returned to The Outside (i.e. the Lower 48) feeling confident that I can complete a trip on the scale of the Great Western Loop or Sea-to-Sea Route—I’ve graduated from a long-distance “hiker” into a long-distance “adventurer.”