Alaska Four-Range

June-July 2009 My first trip to Alaska. 800 miles through the Kenai Mountains, Kenai Fjords, Chugach Range, and Talkeetna Mountains.

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.”

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