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Alaska-Yukon Expedition

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The Finish Line is in Sight–Just 1,700 Miles to Go…

By Andrew Skurka / July 3, 2010 /

Dawson, Yukon Territory There’s a point in every trip when I start to sense the finish. On trips of less than a month, I usually sense it from the start–I know about how long the trip will take and I often have concrete plans post-trip. But on longer trips, the expedition becomes a lifestyle with…

On Finishing 450 Miles on the Yukon River

By Andrew Skurka / July 3, 2010 /

Dawson, Yukon Territory Earlier tonight I pulled into the historic gold rush town of Dawson, which marks the end of my 450-mile float on the Yukon River (starting in Whitehorse) and the beginning of my final leg through the wilds of northern Yukon and northern Alaska back to Kotzebue. I had been somewhat dreading this…

The Halfway Point: Should I Care?

By Andrew Skurka / June 20, 2010 /

Haines, Alaska Before I began this trip in March my friend Buzz Burrell remarked that he thought “the crux” of it was the first two weeks, when I’d be facing severe winter conditions. If I could get through that, he seemed to say, I’d be in the clear, like a rock climber who makes it…

Lost Coast, Part II: The Mighty Ocean

By Andrew Skurka / June 16, 2010 /

The Lost Coast’s southern half started with the same themes of the northern half: beaches, bears, bays, and (thankfully to a milder extent) bugs. But the experience was quite different — and distinctly more challenging — between Lituya Bay and the town of Gustavus. As happened to me in the western Alaska Range, nature forced…

Lost Coast, Part I: Beaches, Bays, Bugs, and Bears

By Andrew Skurka / June 8, 2010 /

I’m writing from Yakutat, an isolated 600-person community that marks the mental halfway point of this trip’s “Lost Coast” section. The Lost Coast is a ~400-mile-long strip of temperate rainforest squeezed widthwise by the Gulf of Alaska and the Chugach Range, and bookended lengthwise by the Copper River Delta (east of Cordova) and Icy Straits…

Packrafting 101

By Andrew Skurka / June 8, 2010 /

Cordova, Alaska Two weeks ago I shipped my skis home and picked up my packraft, which I will carry until the very end of this expedition in October. Most people have never heard of packraft, which Wikipedia defines as “small, portable inflatable boat designed for use in all bodies of water, including technical whitewater and…

Humbled by the Alaskan Spring

By Andrew Skurka / June 2, 2010 /

Follow adventurer Andrew Skurka as he skis, hikes, and rafts 4,720 miles through eight national parks, two major mountain ranges, and some of North America’s wildest rivers in Alaska and the Yukon from March to October. Read his blog updates here. The Alaskan wilderness has brought me to tears twice on this trip, both times…

An Adventure in Wrangell-St. Elias

By Andrew Skurka / May 28, 2010 /

Cordova, Alaska Alaska-Yukon Expedition: Packrafting Adventures with Roman Dial (Video) Yesterday I reached the Gulf of Alaska (Pacific Ocean) after a five-day paddle of the Copper River and some of its tributaries. National Geographic photographer Michael Brown and his “photo assistant” (also uber Alaskan wilderness adventurer) Roman Dial joined me for the float and for…

Spring Conditions Terminology

By Andrew Skurka / May 27, 2010 /

In talking recently with my parents and friends I gather that not everyone is familiar with the lingo I’ve been using to describe the current springtime conditions. I’ll attempt to define a few of the most important terms now. “Variable conditions” In the winter and summer, conditions are relatively predictable. Winter: cold temps, dry snow,…

It’s On, Mother Nature. Bring It.

By Andrew Skurka / May 17, 2010 /

Delta Junction, Alaska In an earlier post, “Becoming a Lean, Mean Adventuring Machine,” I identified a “go big or go home” moment as part of the hardening process. I finally had that moment, a few weeks ago in the western Alaska Range (as predicted), and I’ll share it now. The western Alaska Range between Roan…