Equipt's Alaska Solo Trek June/July 2014

Equipt

Supporting Sponsor Presenting Sponsor of Overland
Equipt's Alaska Solo Trek

Well....it's time. We have been chatting up this crazy plan on our preparation thread for the the last 3-4 months, and it is time to get going. This first post is pretty close to the same as on the preparation page. We have made a few itinerary changes, but the general plan remains in tact. As the name says, it is a solo endeavor. Well, at least for the first rather long half of the adventure. I will add a couple similar posts to the prep thread, to get everyone up to speed quickly. It's been a great while since Equipt has journeyed out on an iconic trek. The last one was in early 2012, and our Mundo Maya travels to mainland Mexico and Central America. As I said, it's time.

Here is the link to our preparation and planning. Top of the World! Equipt's Alaska Solo Trek

This adventure has been on my list for decades now, and it's time Equipt hit the road again. Completing the northern section of the Al-Can highway will fill in my life long goal of experiencing the length of the Trans-America highway. It will fill in that northern most point. Then I can look south again. Equipt has been a sponsor of Expedition Overland's Season 2 Alaska/Yukon video series, and their tales of adventure have spurred me to finally commit to this goal. But it is not just a check box to me. I want to see it, an experience it, and be a part of it, even if it is for only a little while. The other side of this adventure is that for roughly a month and a half I will be for the most part, solo. I am going by myself intentionally. There is a section in the middle of the trek that my better half will join me, but all in all it is a single pursuit. The solace in solo adventure travel is something intriguing to me. I of course have traveled some distance by myself before, but not like this. I am curious as to how this will play out. Introspection in the wide open of Alaska.

The trek will be planned in 3 stages.

Stage 1: AZ to Dead Horse

Though far from concrete, the plan is to take approximately 14 days to reach Dead Horse AK from Prescott AZ. The route I am planning is to travel through a list of who's who in National Parks. Grand Canyon, Zions, Bryce, Capital Reef, Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier. I have spent a great deal of time in these parks over the years, and it will be nice to see them again, but I won't be staying long anywhere. Bannf to Prince George, Whitehorse, Dawson, and into Fairbanks. From there, I will head north for the Dead Horse and return to Fairbanks for a long awaited reunion. This is where the solo trek portion of the trip ends.

Stage 2: Alaska

I will meet my favorite co-pirate and wife Heather in Fairbanks in late June. Our plan is to explore Denali, then the Denali highway. We will make our way to Haynes, and south to Juneau. Her stay will be a little over a week, and jammed with everything we can do. We're excited to explore the state together. I love the open road, and she loves the open skies. So meeting me there is great for both of us. We hear that July 4th in Juneau is something to behold. We'll see. She flies home from Juneau, and I head south. The new twist to this plan is the arrival of a new co-pilot. Approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes after Heather takes off, Troy Bignell of Overland International touches down in Juneau. Troy is on loan from HEMA maps of Australia, interning with Overland International for a while and doing his best to see as much of North America as he can. We've traveled together before, and managed not to kill each other. So we worked out a plan for Troy to double the size of the team for the trip home.

Stage 3: Pacific North West

Our plans for the Pacific North West have diverted a bit from the original script. We are taking the long ferry ride from Juneau down to Bellingham WA. It's about double the length of the Prince Rupert stop, but has been the way I really wanted this to go. I am not sure where I picked up the "screw it, do it" attitude. Somewhere in my adolescence I think. But it has never failed me as far as memories go. So that is our new plan. We hit Washington running, through Seattle, Mt. Rainier, Columbia River Gorge, and a random path to Ouray CO for the FJ Cruiser Summit. The goal is to be back in late July to our base camp in Prescott.

As I said, the plans aren't concrete. It is more of a general heading than a route. Options and opportunities will arise, and I hope to take advantage of as many as I can. I haven't driven much north of Banff, actually. So I am excited to see new territory. Preparation takes on a new meaning too. The 4Runner is all ready for the adventure. That is part of it too, I guess. The fun of preparation.

I will put up a couple prep photos and timeline. All along the way I will put up images and random thoughts. I would love to hear what folks think of this crazed idea. Places I should try to see and insights on what to expect. Please share. It should be a hoot.

Thanks,
 

Equipt

Supporting Sponsor Presenting Sponsor of Overland
How I Roll

Equipt's Overland Prepped Vehicle.

photo 1.JPGphoto 2.JPGphoto 4.JPG

Here are a couple shots of Equipt's 2013 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition. This is our chariot of adventure. We have made a few improvements over the last year or so. Everything from suspension to electrical is ready for our extended travel. Eezi-Awn Roof Top Tent, Roof Rack and awning. National Luna Weekender Fridge and Dual Battery System on board. Water, communications, navigation, cooking, recovery all in place. You can read about the Equipt 4Runner Build Here.

We have been on quite a few shorter trips in the truck and it has performed flawlessly. I am excited to see how it handles a longer haul like this. On previous extended tours, you couldn't see out of the back window of the truck. This time we are trying a different tack, running pretty light. In fact the only items on top of the drawers are 2 chairs and a duffle bag. Minimal and light. We'll see how it goes.

Cheers,
 

Equipt

Supporting Sponsor Presenting Sponsor of Overland
Some light reading

Some Light Reading

Alaska Solo Trek Maps.JPG

So I gathered a few navigation essentials to take on the route with me. I have the US portion of the trip pretty well in my head, and I also have the HEMA maps software on my iPad for close in stuff. But I am old school when it comes to maps and books of where I am traveling. Something I can mull over while by the fire, searching for a little more insight. This should keep me busy.

Cheers,
 

Equipt

Supporting Sponsor Presenting Sponsor of Overland
The Plan

Where am I going?

After a bunch of research and a bunch of local and ExPo friends chiming in, I have come up with our general route. It is the extended version of the first post.

Well, here's the plan so far. We'll see if we stick to it. The general gist of the trip is to see a few National Parks on the way north to Bannf, head west and catch the Cassiar Highway through Hyder to Whitehorse. Then head north to Dawson via South Canol Road and up the Dempster to Tombstone, then across the Top of the World Highway into Fairbanks. From there I'll check off the Deadhorse AK box, returning to Fairbanks AK to pick up my sweetheart on June 27th. Thus the end of the solo trek. Heather will be with me to Denali and across the Denali Highway, heading south to Haines. We hope to have a day there before taking the ferry over to Juneau for the July 4th fireworks show (actually on July 3rd at midnight). A few days of boat and plane trips, and Heather flies out Sunday morning July 6th. One hour and twenty minutes later, Troy Bignell (my Aussie mate interning with ExPo) arrives in Juneau. We have about 36 hours to kill before docking a ferry for Washington. Troy will be with me through our arrival at the FJ Cruiser Summit in Ouray CO. Then home I go.
A good amount of driving every day. I compiled a listing of dates, destinations, miles and time frames. It's only a reference, so I can judge how fast I need to move. There is some down time in there too.

6-13 Southern Utah, 300mi, 8 hrs
6-14 Salt Lake City, 300mi, 8 hrs
6-15 Teton NP, 300mi, 6 hrs
6-16 Yellowstone NP, 250mi, 6 hrs
6-17 Glacier NP, 400mi, 9 hrs
6-18 Bannf, 290mi, 6 hrs
6-19 Prince George, 410mi, 7 hrs
6-20 Smithers, 230mi, 4 hrs
6-21 Whitehorse, 780mi, 13 hrs
6-22 Dawson, 330mi, 6 hrs
6-23 Fairbanks, 390mi, 10 hrs
6-24 Deadhorse, 495mi, 14 hrs
6-25 Fairbanks, 495mi, 14 hrs
6-26 spare day
6-27 spare day
6-28 Denali, 120mi, 2 hrs
6-29 Denali
6-30 Denali Highway, 135mi, 8 hrs
7-01 Haines, 355mi, 8 hrs
7-02 Haines
7-03 Juneau by ferry
7-04 Juneau
7-05 Juneau
7-06 Juneau
7-07 Juneau
7-08 Ferry to Bellingham WA
7-09 Ferry
7-10 Ferry
7-11 Seattle, 90mi, 2 hrs
7-12 Mount Rainier NP, 120mi, 3 hrs
7-13 Columbia River, 200mi, 4 hrs
7-14 Boise, 345mi, 6 hrs
7-15 Salt Lake City, 340mi, 6 hrs
7-16 Ouray, FJ Cruiser Summit, 445mi, 8 hrs
7-17 Ouray
7-18 Ouray
7-19 Ouray
7-20 Prescott, 475mi, 9 hrs

I estimate roughly 7600 miles round trip. Add 500 for miscellaneous wandering, and that puts me just over 8000 miles. Best guess time frame is 170 hours behind the wheel. A fair distance for 37 days. My hope is that I can stop along the way and enjoy it all. I think so. I have never liked sitting around much. Too much to see ahead of me. The trek has a basic structure. Now to fill it out some.

Cheers,
 

Willman

Supporting Sponsor - Sierra Expeditions
Paul - When you land in Seattle....I got a hot shower, Wifi, and a warm meal for you.

This sounds like a fun one!
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Paul-

Sounds like a lifetime adventure! Looking forward to your travel reports. May you have an awesome time, be safe.
 

Equipt

Supporting Sponsor Presenting Sponsor of Overland
Much appreciated guys. Thanks.

And thanks for the offer Nic! We'll holler at you on our way through. PM me your phone number please.

Cheers,
 

Equipt

Supporting Sponsor Presenting Sponsor of Overland
Spot Messenger Tracking Link

Spot Messenger Tracking Link

So I still have a 1st Gen Spot. Way old school, in a high tech sort of way. One of the great features it has is the ability to share your adventure's path with all your friends. It's nice for inquiring minds, concerned family, and avid travelers to see where you have been, are now and headed to. The Spot records a continuous 7 day history. The Spotwalla link has a little bit different view, and hopefully a longer history. I haven't used this service before, so we'll see how it does. So if you are one of those folks interested in such stuff, this link will go live Friday morning, June 13th 2014 and I will do my best to keep it tracking until our return to Prescott.

Equipt's Spot Messenger Tracking Link

Spotwalla.com Tracking Link

Cheers,
 
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stioc

Expedition Leader
Paul, if you're not familiar you may also want to look into https://spotwalla.com/ - it's free and offers longer trip history etc.

Have a fantastic adventure! Not many of us are lucky enough to experience this type of an expedition first hand so we'll live vicariously through folks like you :)
 

Equipt

Supporting Sponsor Presenting Sponsor of Overland
Paul, if you're not familiar you may also want to look into https://spotwalla.com/ - it's free and offers longer trip history etc.

Have a fantastic adventure! Not many of us are lucky enough to experience this type of an expedition first hand so we'll live vicariously through folks like you :)
Great idea! I signed up and added this link to our tracking post. Thanks for the input. I hope it works. We'll see.

Cheers,
 
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