This document is a work in progress until you see this line of text removed.
June 28th (day 0)
We took off from Denver around 10PM. The flight was a short 5.5 hours which felt even shorter since we upgraded to 1st class. We were very happy to see that all of our luggage arrived with us in Anchorage. Our original plan was to take a taxi to a hostel the first night but since we got to Anchorage a few hours late due to some delays we decided just to take a nap in the airport.
June 29th (day 1)
We grabbed a taxi to a department store from the airport and same waited outside with our luggage while I went inside and grabbed the final supplies that we needed. While I was in the store I was able to talk to a angler who was able to give me some useful hints about fishing up in Alaska.
After shopping Sam texted our ride "Hillary" who promptly picked us up, took us all over town to A. go to the farmers market B. Grab some breakfast and C. Stop by Sam's friends house for some supplies we shipped up there to meet us. Hillary is a very kind and fun person. She drove us from Anchorage all the way to Whittier and then wanted to actually come kayaking (paddle boarding for her) with us. It took quite a bit longer to ready our gear and she wasn't able to come with us.
Finally, after we got all our gear sorted out our kayak rental company Sound Paddler took us, our kayaks, and gear down to the beach. I really enjoyed working with these folks as they were miles ahead in regards to professionally when compared to other places we had rented in Alaska.
After dropping us off at the beach it took Sam and I about a hour to get all the boats loaded and on our way! We paddled only a few miles this day because we got a late start and lost a few things when we packed up. After, just a few hours of paddling we found a decent beach to camp at and settled down for the night.
June 29th Camping Location "Shotgun Cove" - 60.800533 N 148.590145 W
June 30th (Day 2)
Woke up to rain on our first full day our kayaking. I can't say it wasn't expected as last year we got rain every day we were kayaking. We paddled for a few hours after getting a late start and found a nice little beach out of the wind that we thought about camping at. While checking out the beach Sam noticed a forest sign. Come to find out we were at Decision Point where there were some raised platforms for our tent! we were very excited by this and the fact that there was a outhouse at the location! So we looked around a bit and finally decided on which of the 4 platforms we wanted to set up the tent at. After doing the tent setup we walked back to the beach and noticed that what was an empty beach when we showed up was now starting to fill up with people! Over the next few hours more and more peopel came until there was about 15 of us at the site, all four paltforms taken.
Some of the people we met that night we felt were kind of dicks but the next morning when we woke up we found that one of the other people there had given us marshmallows and chocolate and put in the bear box on top of some trash we stored in there overnight. We were very happy to be able to have a smore or two in the morning.
June 30th Camping Location "Decision Point" - 60.800823N 148.453637 W
July 1 (Day 3)
First Rain Day - Today we decided to stay at Decision point due to the rain. It was quite hard to think of leaving such a nice, flat, semi-dry spot since we didn't know what laid ahead. We basically just chilled around the tent this day and really didn't do too much.
July 2 (Day 4)
The rain calmed down enough this day where we could leave the comfort of the platforms. We got out at a good time and then proceeded to cross Blackstone Bay. This was our first "major" crossing of the trip and was super easy. After making the crossing we went to Surprise Cove where we unfortunately did not notice that there were more platforms so we ended up camping on a small island. This wasn't a bad choice by any means as we had a nice spot for our tent but we made the mistake of not putting the kayaks high enough to save them from high tide. Therefore, around 8PM at night I had the unenjoyable task of wadding across a stretch of water to move our kayaks to a higher location.
Me Walking back after securing the kayaks
The Kayaks at High High tide - I moved them from about 6-8 feet where the water line is!
July 2 Camping Location "Surprise Cove" - 60.756053 N 148.38935 W
July 3 (Day 5)
We woke up at low tide so it was very easy to get to the kayaks and get them loaded. We then headed off to do the Cochrane crossing which would be the largest crossing of the trip. The weather was alright to start with but then started getting worse during our crossing. the fog started coming in but we were able to make the crossing before loosing site of the land! The really rough part was after the crossing when we were rounded Cochrane Point. The water was just crazy with waves coming in from every direction. It was tiring but I actually enjoyed it.
After we made our crossing we decided to take a break, get out of the rain, and get some food. We found a nice little cove that had just enough "dry" space to be able to relax for a bit and get recharged.
Sam enjoying a bit to eat
We made camp on the inside of Culross Passage on what turned out to be another low lying area. We had to pull our kayaks all the way up to the tent and then we were only about 2-3 feet about the high tide mark. Needless to say, it was a stressful night until high tide hit, then we knew we were ok.
Camp Location "Culross Passage" - 60.739115 N 148.249335 W
July 4-6 (Day 6-8)
Getting out of camp was hard due to the rain never letting up! Both Sam and I did not want to stay another night in this swamp so we decided that we had to get out and try to make it to Goose bay where I remember seeing a cabin on a forest map before we left for the trip. So we manned up and paddled a few miles in the pouring rain until we got to Goose bay. We were VERY happy to see as we rounded a corner in the back of the bay, a cabin! Not just anycabin but one that was CLOSED due to snow load damage a few years ago. Lucky for us someone left the front window open so we were able to get inside and get out of the rain.
The follow is the unedited log from our trip to Alaska this year.
I'm not the best writer (Duh!) but wanted to document our trip as it happened.
This section is for our 3 day hike in Denali State Park
Sitting here in Anchorage. Flights were good with little security. However, I hurt my right hand somehow and now can barley use it. The suburban is just what we wanted. It's pretty beat up but runs fine. You can't get in the on the passenger side though. We Hung out under the bridge at montana creek and skipped stones. We drove up to Talkeetna and took the K2 grand flight. It was pretty bumpy the first 15 minutes. The plane would move side to side like a fish tailing car. The flight was awesome except for a brat who kept yelling at his dad about using the camera. We drove to north Denali campground where we found an awesome ten spot.
Woke up in the tent for the first time. We got a little rain in the night and I didn't put the rain fly on so I had to get out in the night to put it on. Once we got up we had to drive 50 miles south to get 1 liter of gas for the stove I forgot to purchase earlier. So we spent 1/4 tank of gas to do this. We got to ermine trailhead around 3pm and hitched a ride up to little coal creek. From there we hiked 3 miles up the ridge to get to a campt site. After getting sorted we hiked around and found a nice little lake a few other people were staying at. There were lots of mosquitos so we had to were our net hats for most of the night
Woke up with no rain. Got started around 10:00 am. The hike was great, had to finish getting up to the top of the ridge but when we did the hiking was pretty easy compared to the ascent. We finally saw the mountain today but just the top. The weather was great for the whole day, but got a bit cold at night. We met another group of 13 hikers and a solo hiker along the trail. We finally stopped for camp along a small creek and went to bed pretty early. There were ground squirrels that sit and bark at us while we sit in our tent
This section is for our 6 day Kayaking trip
Day 1 of Kayaking. - Total Disaster! The ride out was really nice. We saw a whale up close, closer than the captain ever did. When we started kayaking al my clothes got wet because my kayak had a crack in it. I took the VHF radio up a hill and contacted the captain "captain Dan" of the competitor’s company who used his satellite phone to call Pangea kayaking to bring another kayak. About 2 hours later the captain "Matt" called and brought a new kayak. OK!!! No were, or so we thought. We packed all the wet clothes together and started paddling. We checked out a few more coved and then decided to grab some food so we landed on what seemed like a good spot on a steep rocked beach. It turned out to be hell. It was slippery and very uncomfortable. During this landing we noticed that both of our sleeping bags were wet! Not very bad but bad enough were we both had wet bags to sleep in. Once we got to a really pretty DRY camping spot we noticed all the wood was to wet to burn. Then when we went to make coffee we noticed we had no coffee, tea, or sugar. All and all a pretty shitty day but the scenery was beautiful!!! Also, This night I noticed that I didn't have my sidearm!! I must have left it at the last beach we visited!
I slept alright. My bag wasn't as cold as I thought it would be. Once I got up I decided to paddle out to the last place I remember having my gun. Paddling around elf point was a bit scary solo. I had to go all the way out vs the short path because it was low tide and I couldn't get through where we came in last night. I paddled out, landed and found my gun! It was right where I left it. I think it may have gotten covered by the tide but it looked fine. Just a little rust in the barrel. (this rust got much worse before the end of the trip but I was able to clean the gun when I got home and it's fully functional again.) So I paddled back around elf point, meeting Sam on the North side, he hiked back to camp while I rounded the point. At camp all of our stuff is still wet which sucks but what can you do? "Written later that night" - Build a fire! which is what we finally did! and it was a good one! not too big but big enough to dry our clothes! Then after that I went fishing for like the fifth time and got a fish on the first cast! I fished a bit more and got another fish. It felt great to catch my first sea fish (trout though...) All in all a great day!!
Today started like all the others cold and wet. I woke up and went and did a bit more fishing and got another fish. This one was the biggest yet! Sam didn't want them so I had 3 tasty fish with tarter sauce for breakfast. By the way, I'm writing this in the most beautiful surroundings I've ever been in. It's truly breathtaking. I haven't been taking as many pictures as I would like to but it's very hard to take pictures from the kayak, especially since I switched with Sam because the great one was making his foot fall asleep. We went North in the bay today passing emerald cove and down to Columbia bay. I did some more fishing but didn't get lucky. Once we found our campsite for the night we went out to get some water which meant we had to cross a small cove to a waterfall but when getting out sam fell and get his clothes about 60% wet. Luckily he got out quick and he had his rain gear on which helped. I also tipped over but was able to stop myself before going in. I only got my arm wet. Today has been the sunniest of the trip. It was so bright I had to break out the shades! Then about a hour after I striped down to regular clothes it started raining really hard. We had to land and crouch under a tree for about 30 minutes. We ended the night with a light rain and a great view also I think you can hear the glacier calving. It sounds kinda like thunder.
I forgot to write this log yesterday. We woke up in camp and sam got out of the radio and called one of the pangea ships to see if they had any shoes because his were wet. They didn't have any so we went ahead and got packed up and left. It was a pretty nice day but not as much sun as the day before. While we were paddling we decided to check out some birds by the shore and started paddling towards them, and noticed it was getting very shallow. Like 2-3 feet. so we started paddling out to the center of the bay and it got even shallower! We were over the mud flats I saw on the topo map. we must have paddled at least 2,000 more feet before it started getting deeper. Sam said he scraped bottom several times. It was one of the more scary parts of the trip but the tide was coming in so we knew we would be fine. We paddled down the bay closer to the ice field. The ice bergs were as big as houses and every few minutes you would hear this crash and birds would fly around. I can only assume it was ice bergs crashing about. We paddled up a cove which led to "River One" We were told it was only passable at high tide but we still had to turn around. but the river was one of the coolest things. Sheer cliffs that jut out of the water only bulge out once the go under water. because the water was so clear you could look down and see the rock walls of the river canyon disappear into a black emptiness. We camped at the end of that cover and fell asleep early to a great sunset.
RAIN!!! We planned to get up early to get the day started but it has been raining for hours. It's now close to 1PM and were still in the tent. But I saw 4 kayaks out this morning so I'm hopeful I can get Sam out of the tent now. (Later 7PM) The day has been a total waste. Rain all day. I have only gotten out of the tent for a hour or so in the last 24 hours and it looks like i'll be in here some more. I'm getting tired of hearing the rain hit the tent. Since we get picked up tomorrow we'll be paddling rain or shine, we got to get to the glacier. Also about the kayaks, I saw earlier. There were 10 of them, all tandems. We camped just down the beach where I think we'll get picked up tomorrow. Were warm, were dry, it will be ok. At Last! around 10PM the rain finally stopped!~ Hopefully it will last till tomorrow.
Today we woke up to almost no rain. Today is our last day out here so we better get going early. We woke up around 6 am (since we'd been in the tent now for over 24 hours) and started packing our gear. We paddled out of the river one cove and headed for the ice field. We saw that there was a natural damn keeping most of the ice in and with the tide coming out you could see where, in the few breaks in the damn water was coming out. We headed for one and got into the ice field with no troubles. Once in the field it was easy, almost too easy, to get up close to the ice bergs. Some were so blue I couldn't believe it... others were dirt and almost looks like rocks. there were even a few I was sure we could have landed on... broad slightly sloping beach of ice... oh well, to dangerous. We paddled towards the Glacier for a while but eventually turned back as we weren't sure A. if we would get stuck in the field and the ice bergs were starting to get clumped up around the exit to the field. and B. We knew we had to meet some other kayakers to get a boat ride out of the bay. So we turned back and worked our way out of the field. We eventually saw the other kayakers and brought them up on the radio. We discussed where they wanted to meet and when and sam and I paddled around the coast for a few hours while we waited for everyone to meet up. We jumped on the boat and had a very nice ride back into town.
Looks like next year is going to be a good year for Sam and I to get to Alaska and do some hiking. I was thinking about doing something on Denali, perhaps go see the magic bus. Were looking at a full 14-17 days in the north which will give us time to see a lot of stuff and hopefully spend over a week of that backpacking in the back country.
We originally rented a RV from a placed called B&B RV. To say the least we were not happy with the service (You can read my review HERE) so we canceled with them (at a cost of $250) and moved to the following company.
below you will find a list of files that have very useful documentation regarding a RV trip through Alaska.
This is a fantastic book we bought that has mile by mile information about our trip. I believe this will be the most use resource we have. One of the coolest things about this book it that you can download the book in PDF. If you a geek like me you can then cut the PDF apart into the sections you wish and then publish those PDFs to your iPad so you have all the milepost information right there on you iPad.
We plan to start in Anchorage and drive counterclockwise through Fairbanks, Tok, Valdez. Then we'll head down to the peninsula and visit Seward, Homer, and Soldovia
Alaska Ferry Ride
We'll be taking a ferry from Valdez to Whittier. The cost for this little cruise is about $400 but when factoring the cost of A. Gas B. Time C. Driving it seems like it is a good choice for us. Plus we'll be able to use this boat ride as our wildlife cruise.... it's going to be pretty cool
Flights (From Colorado Springs to Anchorage and back) - $1400
RV (More detail about this in it's own article) - $1500 (Plus $500 deposit)
Misc. Fees / Food / Parking / Licensing / Gas
With the gas prices escalating like they are we wanted to play it safe.
We figured our RV will get approx. 9 miles to the gallon. We also figured that gas will cost $5.00 per gallon (which is high) Since our planned trip is about 1400 miles we used the following calculation to figure out gas costs. (1400 / 9) * 5 = ~$800
So $800 for gas, and we budgeted an additional $900 for other costs and to dip into if our $1000 each runs out.
A total of $1700 is factored into these misc. fees.
Misc Spending Money
We have planned spending no more that $1,000 each on activities.
In total we are taking $3,700 with us for the trip.