Please move this post to a more appropriate forum, I picked this one due to my main objective: photography of AK.
Hi all. Let me first start by explaining myself a little. Its always been a dream of mine to explore the Alaskan wilderness on foot, armed primarily with a camera and my own sense of adventure. My main objective would be to capture my very own images of the aurora. However, I need some help and suggestions as to what I can expect. I have never been to AK, and I need a bit of a reality check as my usual methods of plunging headfirst could land me in danger. I'll try to be specific..
My current plan has me entering Alaska in late March, but i'm unsure of what to expect as far as weather conditions. What kind of tent and sleeping system would I need if I were out in the middle of nowhere around this time? Is there heavy snowfall in March? Is a 4-Season tent required? I have a military sleeping system that I will be bringing, I believe its rated to at least -10F. What kind of conditions should I be prepared for?
Navigation and Survival:
My plan is to aquire some level of Garmin handheld GPS for navigational and emergency purposes. What features should I require? I've also got access to a military first aid kit, but I dont know what supplies I should make sure to have on hand in case of an emergency. Also, some kind of emergency comm device would be good to have I imagine, but im not quite sure where to start with that. What kind of wild life dangers should I be prepared for, if any?
My only idea for transportation so far has been a rental car (some kind of 4WD obviously), is there a better method, or anything I should be aware of regarding getting from the airport to my various destinations?
My current plan is to fly to Fairbanks and make my way to Denali National park. However, im not sure if i'm allowed to just wander around a national park during that season, or if this is even a good spot to catch an aurora. Any suggestions as to location?
How realistic is it for a solo 23-year old male to wander out into the alaskan wilderness, take photos of an aurora, sleep outside in mid-late March and return to tell the tale?
I'm currently US military serving in Iraq, this trip is planned around my R&R leave, which I engineered to fall in March (I had read this was a statisticly high time for aurora). While i'm physically fit and I do have expirience living and doing outdoors, I am by no means an expert, and I have pretty much zero expirience with the cold climate of AK. Please let me know if i'm totally nuts.
I realize this is a lot, and quite a bit to ask for someone just jumping onto the forum, but I hope you'll all understand its just sort of my way to dive right in full tilt. This has been a long-standing dream of mine and I'm licking my lips thinking that it might come to fruition, even in the middle of a deployment. Thank you in advance, so very much, for any insights. I also promise that if my trip is a success I will post a detailed account and my photos right here on this forum. Thank you!