I hired a pilot in Juneau to hike a section of the Lost Coast from Dry Bay to Yakutat. The walk took five days at a leisurely pace with 40 miles of beach walking and 20 miles of paddling. The flight went around the glaciers of Mount Fairweather, the tallest mountain in the coastal region at 15,300ft
The pilot landed on a dirt strip near the Alsek, which allowed me to run the river for about ten miles down to the beach
The river slows and paddles more like a lake at Dry Bay. I camped at the beach between the bay and the ocean
Wolf tracks on the beach. The tracks were close to the length of my hand. Wolves tend to walk in straight lines as seen here
Mount Fairweather visible through the haze from the Dry Bay campsite
There are some long water carries on the walk. From Dry Bay the next water source was the Awke River about 12 miles up the beach. The Awke was the final river with good tasting water. With the lack of rain the remaining rivers all had some ocean taste to them as there wasnt enough flow to keep the tides out. The airport bar in Yakutat got some good business out of me at the end of the hike.
A packraft is necessary for the river crossings. The Awke River runs parallel to the coast and can be paddled to save about ten miles of beach walking
Bald eagles and sea otters were active in the Awke river valley. The coast is nicknamed the "brown bear highway" as strawberry fields line the beaches. I did the walk in late June before they had bloomed and only saw footprints
The Dangerous River is glacier-fed and needed to be crossed early in the morning with temperatures above 80F. The third evening was spent resting at the southern shore
Lupin near the Ahrnklin River
Driftwood in a tidal flat
I did not see the current on the final crossing near Situk. Probably best to cross here when tide is coming in. Paddling as hard as I could, my landing spot ended up being the beach on the far left corner of the picture above
The walk ends at the Yakutat airport which has regular daily flights with Alaska airlines. Another great flight back to Juneau
The approach hike climbs along Exit Glacier, a popular day hike in Kenai Fjords National Park (8 miles, 3000ft). We set out in the late afternoon, looking to spend the night at the icefield, then walk back in the morning.
When we neared the top, fog had set in
Ben checked out the emergency shelter, we had not found a place to camp yet
Over the hill from the shelter we found a decent campsite
Conditions looked promising when I woke at 4am, the fog from the night before had lifted and I saw the icefield for the first time.
Those far mountains in the center are about 20 miles away, the icefield continues another 30 miles beyond that.
The Williwaw Lakes hike can be done several ways. We took a spur trail called The Ballpark from the Glen Alps Trailhead to Williwaw and returned creekside along the traditional path.
We set up camp in a gully next to the lakes, the day with the most sunshine was also the day with the most wind.
Pioneer Ridge Trail
The Pioneer Ridge trail climbs above the Knik Glacier Valley with over 5000ft elevation gain (9 miles return).
There is a short walk to Portage Lake from the town of Whittier (4 miles return, 1300ft gain)
We drove past the trailhead for Reed Lakes and mistakenly took the trail at the end of the road to a place called Archangel. Ben called it an abandoned planet, a valley filled with boulders and leftover mining equipment.
There is an old dogsled path to Crow Pass and the Raven Glacier (8 miles return, 2000ft).
I spent a week in Fairbanks with Ronn Murray shooting the Northern Lights. March is typically the best month in Alaska to see the Aurora, the winter storms have passed and it is still dark at night.
World Ice Sculpture Championship
Occurs every year in March. Worth visiting after dark in Fairbanks before going out to see the Northern Lights.