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Alaska-Yukon Expedition

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Answers to Questions on Avalanches, GPS, Socks, Motivation

By Andrew Skurka / May 12, 2010 /

What’s been the most intense moment of the trip?—Matt Shaw I had a few tense moments last week after a spring snowstorm dumped almost three feet of snow up high just before I was about to ski over two steep passes. Both passes had unavoidable avalanche slopes (i.e. I had to cross slopes that are…

The Pros & Cons of Going Solo

By Andrew Skurka / May 10, 2010 /

Delta Junction, Alaska I enjoy solo wilderness travel. I also enjoy group wilderness travel. There are pros and cons to each, but certain trips are best done solo, while others are best done by two or more individuals. In the case of this expedition, the reason I’m doing it solo basically comes down to the…

Spring in Alaska: The Good and the Bad

By Andrew Skurka / April 22, 2010 /

Spring has arrived in Alaska, at least by local standards. It may have been zero degrees this morning, but at least the days are getting really long, the weather is warmer and more stable, and the snow and ice are melting in the mid-day sun. This means the roads are getting muddy and the trails…

Finally Into the Wilderness, the Most Challenging Terrain Begins Now

By Andrew Skurka / April 11, 2010 /

Nikolai, Alaska April 11, 2010 I think about this expedition in three major legs: Kotzebue to Nikolai (mile 757), Nikolai to Dawson (mile 3,091), and Dawson to Kotzebue (mile 4,720). Leg one is now over. It’s been characterized by flagged snowmachine trails, frequent resupplies (two per week), few days without seeing another person (just three…

The 5,000-calories-per-day wilderness diet

By Andrew Skurka / April 9, 2010 /

McGrath, Alaska My outdoor diet has been honed through years of experience and over 30,000+ miles. It might not work for everybody, but it works for me, at least right now. Considerations in Food Items It is difficult to find food items that are compatible with a long-term trip. Below are the most important factors…

From the Bering Sea to (Almost) the Alaska Range

By Andrew Skurka / April 7, 2010 /

Takotna, Alaska April 7 , Day 25 From Unalakleet I followed the historic Kaltag portage route, an 80-mile connector between the the Bering Sea and the Alaskan interior. I was greatly looking forward to heading inland—the bitter temps and winds combined with a shortage of naturally sheltered areas had really worn on me. The landscape…

Is Alaskan Village Life Sustainable?

By Andrew Skurka / April 1, 2010 /

Ruby, Alaska To travel between Kotzebue and the Alaska Range, I’m using snowmachine trails, which are hands-down the most practical way to get around terrain that is either swampy and buggy or covered in snow and ice. The snowmachine trails “connect the dots” of bush villages in rural Alaska. These villages are not connected to…

Becoming a Lean, Mean Adventuring Machine

By Andrew Skurka / April 1, 2010 /

Ruby, AK I’m almost three weeks into this trip, and today I feel much more hardened than I did when I landed pre-dawn in Kotzebue 500 miles ago. The process of morphing from just an aspiring adventurer into a lean, mean adventuring machine has three components: physical, mechanical, and mental. Physical The body must become…

280 Miles Along Alaska’s Wild West Coast

By Andrew Skurka / March 24, 2010 /

Unalakleet, AK Tomorrow morning I head inland via a historic portage route between the Bering Sea (the Unalakleet side) and the Yukon River (at the village of Kaltag). This is a transitional point in the route—moving from the coast to the interior—and a good opportunity for me to wrap up the last 280 miles. My…

Just 4,600 Miles to Go: How to Stay Motivated

By Andrew Skurka / March 20, 2010 /

Koyuk, AK A few hours out of Buckland things felt like they were really coming together. It was calm, sunny, and in the high-10’s—ideal Nordic skiing temps. My kick-and-glide rhythm felt expert-like compared to when I skied out of Kotzebue 100 miles earlier. For the first time on this trip, my mind began to drift,…