Backpacking Alaska – Returning Home

As we were turning around at the Johnson River to head back to the lodge and our pick-up spot, our early pilot spotted us and touched down in the soft sand.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Good news: we didn’t have to hike anymore.  Bad news: that sand was really soft.  So much so that the plane got stuck.  Continue reading

Backpacking Alaska – Day 5: Bears

Ordinarily, this post would be for my monthly photo challenge, but that didn’t seem too popular, so I’m tabling that for now.  Perhaps I’ll revive that sometime later.  In the meantime, you get more bears!

In fact, this is the last daily installment of my grand backpacking adventure through the Alaskan bush.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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Backpacking Alaska – Day 4: Rain

Day 4 of our backpacking bear adventure was a bit damp.  We woke to moisture on the tents, and we really couldn’t avoid packing up wet gear. The tides once more amazed me.  While I had been brushing my teeth fairly close to camp the night before, the morning routine required a decent stroll.  We were in no hurry, so we took our time eating breakfast after sleeping in; we didn’t hit the trail until almost 2pm.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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Backpacking Alaska – Day 3: The Red River

Day 3 was all about the Red River.  This was our major obstacle.  We knew it was coming, and we knew it would pose a challenge.  I’m told when our fearless leader divulged our planned course to a bush plane pilot, his first question was, “do you have a floatation device for crossing the Red River?”  Um…. no?

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

See the black bear just outside the trees on the far side?  This was the only black bear we saw the entire trip.

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Backpacking Alaska – Day 3: Wind

The second night came and went in a blink of exhaustion.  Crawling out of my tent, I found some of our crew were already down on the beach.  They’d spotted a bear out clamming in the receding morning tide.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

This was my first real opportunity for shooting the bears we had come out here to find, and I was stoked, my aching muscles quickly forgotten.

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Backpacking Alaska – Day 2: Rocks

Day 1 was all about distance.  But that turned out being a good thing, because Day 2 rocked.  And sadly, that wasn’t a good thing.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

We woke on Day 2 to find moisture on our tents and moose tracks feet from our camp.  It was fortunate we were so tired; we weren’t kept awake by any unidentifiable noises in the night.  I was also shocked to see the drastic variances in the tide.  The waterlines on the beach came within feet of our tents; we were lucky to have not gotten wet.

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Backpacking Alaska – Day 1: Distance

Who’s ready for backpacking adventures?  I know I’ve been promising them for a long time, and you’ve had a taste here and there, but I’m finally getting into the heart of my epic adventure into the Alaskan wilderness.  I appreciate your patience.  It was truly a remarkable journey, and I’m excited to share it with you.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

After an hour’s bush plane flight out of Anchorage, we found ourselves on the beach in Chinitna Bay, and once our pilot departed, we were on our own.  We had finally arrived, and I was ready.  This was my first time truly backpacking, and I couldn’t wait.

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Alaska: My First Bush Plane Flight

Apologies for the hiatus!  I know I took a little break from the Alaska posts, but they’re back!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Right from the start, I knew a flight in a bush plane was on the itinerary for Alaska.  Much of the Alaskan wilderness is completely wild.  No roads or modern conveniences.  Completely untouched – just the way we like it.  As a result, it’s only accessible by small bush planes, and once they drop you off, you’re on your own!

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Final Glimpse of Denali

Our adventures were over far too quickly in Denali National Park.  We spent a day on a bus; we spent a day on the trails.  Certainly, I preferred the latter to the former, but they were both an excellent way to experience this vast park.  Next, we were gearing up for bears!

But first, we had one more day on the train.

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