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Thread: 2-3 Month Remote Living/Hiking

  1. #1

    Default 2-3 Month Remote Living/Hiking

    Moderator, please feel free to move this to hiking if you see fit. I just felt the knowledge base and prolonged nature of my trip would be better answered here.

    Hi all,

    First, I'm new here. Stumbled on this site yesterday. There's a huge wealth of knowledge here. I'm 24, from Chicago, mechanical contractor (mostly boilers and high pressure steam), hiker, and I used to play paintball professionally (weird I know) so I'm athletic and good with a gun (I go to what few ranges Illinois has... we do have great deer hunting though).

    Now my plan and question.

    I'd like to go to AK sometime in the summer (late June to early Sept.) for about 2-3 months for an extended hike/living remotely. Most likely not until 2010. I need more time to prepare. I'm not trying to live there, and I don't want to be there during the cold. I live in Chicago. It gets cold here and I understand the magnitude of AK's weather... so summer. My questions are mainly these: best time of year, best area, and what gear?

    Time of year: June-Sept. Is that a good time? How do I keep the bugs from carrying me away?

    Place: Near Anchorage for ease of access. Kodiak Island sounds cool... actually about a dozen places sound cool. My current plan is to hike then camp for about a week, hike and do it again, and slowly make one big loop. As I said before; lasting 2-3 months depending on availability of food.

    Supplies: My current list looks like this (most of this is familiar gear to me)...

    Gun - Marlin 70PSS w/ scope (.22 break down) w/ multiple spare clips, good ammo, lots of it, basic cleaning kit.

    Pack - 6,000 ci Arcteryx Bora 95, love it. I can easily haul 100+ lbs around... well not easily but I do it.

    Knife/Axe - 4" drop point Buck, and utility knife, plus sharpening stone, plus spare blades, need to buy an axe. I was looking at the Gerber XL. Any suggestions? I'd prefer full size.

    Shelter - Basic tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag. Plus tarp, rope, some nails, and a folding shovel (just seems like a good thing to have).

    Food - 40# brown rice, dried black beans, quinoa, lentils, etc. Plus salt, some spices, vitamins, and a half gallon of olive oil. Need a water filter, anybody have one they really like?

    Misc. - Compass, maps, h2o2, antibiotics, basic first aid, basic rain gear, sewing kit, fishing line, super glue, lots of bic lighters (why flint and steel? I can never find a suitable answer to this), there's more and I have it all listed... but you guys don't need to be bothered with underwear, cooking utensils, sunglasses, and tp.

    Is there any big stuff I'm missing? Sattelite phone when stupid 24 year old Chicagoan breaks leg type stuff?

    I'm not trying to bring down caribou and moose with my .22. I don't want to stay in one spot long so big game is out of the question. Rabbit, squirrel, and that sort of thing is what I have planned to supplement my diet with. I have a really nice Rem. 700 in .223 but I don't want to lug it around. Plus it wouldn't leave much meat on a squirrel or rabbit. Is it a good idea to pack a .45 or something of that nature for bears, or is a rapid fire 10 shots to the head with a .22 enough for it to leave me alone. I'd prefer more clips and rounds to bear spray.

    I know fishing gear would be a good idea, but I need to research some really small portable stuff. I thought maybe just some hooks, line, etc. would suffice. Guess it depends where I end up.

    And the real question... how do you keep bears from coming into your tent at night? Other than keeping food and clothes you cooked in far away and high up in a tree? Is this a problem?

    As stated previously I'm a hiker and I'm still researching, but I've hit the point where I'm re-reading the same stuff in different sources. I just don't want to be ill prepared. Alaska is way bigger and scarier than the usual NC mountains I'm used to. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Member doug1980's Avatar
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    For bear protection I've heard you really can't beat the spray. The caliber gun needed to effectively stop a determined bear would be too big and heavy to carry. Also about the hunting, fishing and trapping you speak of, you may have to get licenses for that. Being out of state it could be pricy. I'm unsure of this of course but you may want to check into that. Other than that sounds ike you will have a great time.

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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Just don't camp out in a bus

  4. #4

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    Yes, keep in mind the bus comment.

    But also, 10lbs of rice has been proven to be just not enough......bring 20.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Hope you like squirrels and porcupines because that's all that's legal to hunt until mid to late August for any game. Best bet in Alaska is to eat fish in the summer. No berries until mid/late August either.

    If I were to make a trip to Alaska for the first time I would simply do several shorter hikes and resupply in town.

    Do Kesugi Ridge in Denali State Park http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/denali1.htm

    Do Resurection Trail down on the Kenai
    http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aktrails.../resurnrth.htm

    Do a long day hike on the Harding Icefield Trail
    http://www.nps.gov/kefj/planyourvisi...ield_trail.htm

    Then while you are in Seward hike out to Caines Head
    http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/caineshd.htm

    Several good hikes in Denali National Park. If you took the state ferry up from Washington you could connect on dozens of good hikes in South East including the Chilkoot Trail.

    You could do all this and leave the gun at home. A week trip on an established trail will show you more beauty and far less pain than slogging through the brush.
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    Default Bite my tongue, no more

    A bag of rice and dream is all you need. Bring a bounce in your step and a song in your heart. Don't worry about the small stuff.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by farsidekid00 View Post
    And the real question... how do you keep bears from coming into your tent at night? Other than keeping food and clothes you cooked in far away and high up in a tree? Is this a problem?

    Just say no.....or, what was it?....something like that. Maybe that only works with Nancy Reagan. Report back with your findings.

  8. #8

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    Almost no one read my post thoroughly... none the less some good advice.

    Coaldust - I sense sarcasm but thank you none the less.

    AKDoug - Yes, small game is all I'm after. And I appreciate the links, thank you. My gun weights a bit under 4 pounds and there's no way I'd go hiking in AK without it. I have thought about the hike then resupply often in town thing. It probably is a much better idea. Easier anyways. Plus I could have someone to call once a week or whatever so they know I'm not trapped under a boulder or whatever.

    BIGBOB - My post says 40#, not 10. A pound of uncooked rice has 1700 calories in it. Hence 40#'s of rice and other dried foods should be able to feed me for about a month just by itself.

    AKFishOn - Comparing me to Christoper McCandless is pretty rude. He hiked into the wilderness without so much as a map. Nor did he train or properly educate himself. He wasn't even an experienced hunter.

    Why is this forum so hostile and pretentious towards people who want to come to AK? I'm trying to come prepared and during the warmest months. Still looking for advice on how to deal with bugs, chopping vs. splitting axe, time of year etc. And thanks to those who did give useful advice.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by farsidekid00 View Post
    Almost no one read my post thoroughly... none the less some good advice.

    Coaldust - I sense sarcasm but thank you none the less.

    AKDoug - Yes, small game is all I'm after. And I appreciate the links, thank you. My gun weights a bit under 4 pounds and there's no way I'd go hiking in AK without it. I have thought about the hike then resupply often in town thing. It probably is a much better idea. Easier anyways. Plus I could have someone to call once a week or whatever so they know I'm not trapped under a boulder or whatever.

    BIGBOB - My post says 40#, not 10. A pound of uncooked rice has 1700 calories in it. Hence 40#'s of rice and other dried foods should be able to feed me for about a month just by itself.

    AKFishOn - Comparing me to Christoper McCandless is pretty rude. He hiked into the wilderness without so much as a map. Nor did he train or properly educate himself. He wasn't even an experienced hunter.

    Why is this forum so hostile and pretentious towards people who want to come to AK? I'm trying to come prepared and during the warmest months. Still looking for advice on how to deal with bugs, chopping vs. splitting axe, time of year etc. And thanks to those who did give useful advice.
    Sorry about the rudeness. But I understand why people are that way. We just get a little tired of people who have absolutely no idea of Alaskan conditions who say they are going to spend 2-3 months camping. There was someone last year who said they were going to do that and they spent maybe a couple nights camping and the rest in motels on the road system.

    For good info read this thread: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ead.php?t=1342

    Forget the 22, but bring some fishing gear. You really don't need a pole to catch trout and grayling if you are in good areas. But bring a matchbox with about 30 yards of 10 pound test mono, some small flies and some small bare hooks. In good grayling areas I have just tied some mono to a willow overhanging a good fishing spot and start my cooking fire just off the bank behind it. When the willow starts jerking pull the fish out and dump him in the pan, you can clean it if it's very big.

    Bring some bear spray, buy it in Alaska. No guarantees on that stuff, a bear may get you anyway but chance are they won't. Ask locals about the bear situation before hiking into areas. In heavy bear areas just stay away. If a bear want's to get you, it will. Personally, I would bring a large handgun for at least a little defense.

    If you stay in one place for a week and cook every day in that location, you will have a decent chance of a bear encounter or two. Not much you can do about it other than the normal precautions.

    There are very few long trails in Alaska but if you are only going to hike 10 miles or so and then camp for a week you can find places where that will work. The Talkeetna Mountains north of Eureka might be good.

    Your worst problem is going to be bugs...bring plenty of Deet.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by farsidekid00 View Post
    BIGBOB - My post says 40#, not 10. A pound of uncooked rice has 1700 calories in it. Hence 40#'s of rice and other dried foods should be able to feed me for about a month just by itself.

    My reference to C. mcCandlees was lost, he came in with 10 pnds of rice, 20 was the joke, but then you should not study him.

    Did not end pretty. Come with what you have,

  11. #11

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    Martyv - Excellent info, thank you. Hm, everyone seems to be against the .22 and all for bear spray. I would not have guessed that at all.

    BIGBOB - I got the reference. I just didn't understand why the condesention. You guys may discourage people from coming to AK because of people like McCandless, but from my perspective he gives experienced hikers like me a bad name. I'm not inflexible towards my plans. It already looks like I'll be chaning my equpit and hiking plan.

  12. #12
    Member markopolo50's Avatar
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    Default Bugs

    Farsidekid00, I took Deet and a good bug head net to Alaska when I was there moose hunting, in September. I wore the headnet most of the time. I prefer a large handgun to bear spray and have some "birdshot" for my 454 revolver. I think you need real good rain gear. Good luck and let us know how you do!!! Mark

  13. #13
    Member Xanfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farsidekid00 View Post
    Martyv - Excellent info, thank you. Hm, everyone seems to be against the .22 and all for bear spray. I would not have guessed that at all.
    I think the way you need to look at this is, that both of the options would merely be a deterent. Not that you can't kill a bear with a .22, in a survival situation chances are not good, and whether you survive or not that would still leave a wounded bear in the woods. At least with bear spray, again whether you survive or not, the bear will shake it off and no long term harm because of it.

    If you are in a situation where it is you or the bear, when it comes to firearms, you better have something with stopping power, and that is not a .22. If you are going to shoot a bear leaving him alive should not be an option.

    Just my .02

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    I was working in Alaska from May 5, 2008 - September 7, 2008 at the Glacier Bay Lodge. Basically everyday after work or before work, and on my weekends, plus while waiting to eat my meals I would hike. I have encountered 42 black bears there. Only one of them had bluff charged me towards the end of my work season. I had always carried Bear Spray on me, and a spare one in my pack, and I've never had to use it. If use common sense then you and the bear will get along, and you will have fun seeing the bear and not to be afraid, but still don't let your guard down though.
    Always be aware of your surroundings, make lots of noise while your hiking alone so you won't surprise the bear, and if you do see a bear and he sees you then let him know that your human by talking to him. If you do get charged stand your ground because if you run he will think your prey. Anyways you can pretty much count on it being a bluff charge. Now if its a black bear and he does attack you then you need to fight for your life, but if its a grizzly bear then play dead until he goes away and if he doesn't then you have to fight for you life, but it very rare that the bear is going to attack you unless you done something stupid to provoke him to attack.

    Anyways have fun and good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farsidekid00 View Post
    Almost no one read my post thoroughly... none the less some good advice.

    Coaldust - I sense sarcasm but thank you none the less.

    AKDoug - Yes, small game is all I'm after. And I appreciate the links, thank you. My gun weights a bit under 4 pounds and there's no way I'd go hiking in AK without it. I have thought about the hike then resupply often in town thing. It probably is a much better idea. Easier anyways. Plus I could have someone to call once a week or whatever so they know I'm not trapped under a boulder or whatever.

    BIGBOB - My post says 40#, not 10. A pound of uncooked rice has 1700 calories in it. Hence 40#'s of rice and other dried foods should be able to feed me for about a month just by itself.

    AKFishOn - Comparing me to Christoper McCandless is pretty rude. He hiked into the wilderness without so much as a map. Nor did he train or properly educate himself. He wasn't even an experienced hunter.

    Why is this forum so hostile and pretentious towards people who want to come to AK? I'm trying to come prepared and during the warmest months. Still looking for advice on how to deal with bugs, chopping vs. splitting axe, time of year etc. And thanks to those who did give useful advice.

    Hey I think it looks good. And in the majority of AK Hares are legle to hunt year around. I've got the complet book of regs here. List is good and I see no problem. But I don't live in Ak.

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    Default Welcome farsidekid00

    Quote Originally Posted by farsidekid00 View Post
    Almost no one read my post thoroughly... none the less some good advice.

    Coaldust - I sense sarcasm but thank you none the less.


    Why is this forum so hostile and pretentious towards people who want to come to AK? I'm trying to come prepared and during the warmest months. Still looking for advice on how to deal with bugs, chopping vs. splitting axe, time of year etc. And thanks to those who did give useful advice.
    Mr. Farsidekid00,

    Sorry that your first impression of the forum was a little on the cold side. This same question gets asked on a regular basis by outsiders. Browsing of former threads will address most of your concerns. This state is a big place and it would take a couple lifetimes to see it all. First, pick a region you wish to explore and then figure out a way to get there. Then gear up for that area. We can help you with that.

    Don't fuss about the axe, full size or not. Plan on building a cabin during your visit? Carving your own little spot in the wilderness? You really want to carry 40#s of rice with you? Simply gear up your backpack like you normally do in the NC Mountains and practice the low impact lightweight backpacking techniques you are already familiar with. Firearms? My suggestion is to carry a large caliber revolver which you are comfortable with for both bear protection and peace of mind. I prefer a chest holster for backpacking. Some guys are happy with the bear spray, but I'm not sold on it. A plinker .22 rifle can be handy if you are in bird country during season. Most of us don't hunt snowshoe hare until after the snow comes. Bring your fishing pole and don't worry about hunting because it's the wrong season for that.

    Now, if I was a Mechanical Contractor from the Windy City, this is how I would do a 2-3 month Alaskan walkabout. First, I would would travel to Bellingham Washington somehow and then Walk onboard the Alaska Marine Highway ferry and explore S.E Alaska and the "inside passage". You can even bring a bicycle if you want. Pitch your tent on deck or sleep on a lounge chair under a heated observation deck or crash on a cozy chair inside. Or, rent a cabin for the duration of the cruise. Then I would bum around the many towns along the route. When you want to see a new area, get back on the ferry.

    So you want a wilderness experience? For example, when you get to Ketchikan, take your bicycle and backpack then ride to the Deer Mountain trailhead, stash your bike and start hiking. You can hike all the way to Upper and Lower Silva Lakes, walk out to the Tongass Highway and bum a ride back to Ketchikan. Or, take the airport ferry to Gravina Island and keep walking until you hit the beach at Bostwick. Or, you could go even more remote and rent the Forest Service Cabin at Helm Bay or just camp on your very own private beach, build a drifwood fire and fish for salmon until your arms hurt.

    By then, you will be ready to hang around town for a while, have a beer, hot shower and mingle with the locals. Heck, I bet somebody from the forum may even offer to take you out on a saltwater trip or a float plane ride while you are in town. That's just the way Alaskan's are.

    Each ferry has a cart that pulls out and parks at each port of call so that walk on passengers can store their luggage on it. You could put your 40# bag of rice and your olive oil on the cart so you wouldn't have to carry it around with you everywhere on the boat. (That's more of my sarcasm).

    The possibilities are endless and you couldn't even run out of things to do during a 2-3 month time frame in the Ketchikan area let alone all of S.E Alaska.

    The only problem I forsee is that you will fall in love with Alaska and not wish to go back to Chicago. Just as well sell your home now or give it back to the bank, sell your company and plan on moving. That will save time from having to go back East to take care of all the moving details. Don't want to waste time like that especially during the salmon season.

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    Default Farside

    I think you are packing too heavy and you might be oversimplifying your tent and sleeping bag/pad. Basic ones might not be adequate. Your tent will be your bug shelter. DEET works but most bugs will still HARASS you (but not bite). I would bring a small saw or hatchet for firewood. I would bring a collapsible fishpole and try to hike along a grayling stream. I would not bring a water purifier nor a .22 rifle. I would bring iodine to replace H2O2 and purify water. If I had to carry a gun for hunting small game it would be an accurate reliable .22 pistol. I would bring bear spray. Bear charges and attacks do not give you time to shoot 10-50 rounds of .22 ammo. It probably wouldn't stop most bears anyway. Look up the bear charge of the bowhunters on youtube. You would REALLY enjoy looking at these folks' treks in AK and it will give you lots of info to dream about: http://www.aktrekking.com/Packrafts/ . Have fun

  18. #18
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Who is this “Christopher McCandless” guy.

    Seriously my opinion is that you are underestimating your weight which you intend on carrying. Looks like to me your food with limited cooking materials will have you at 50lbs, add in a gallon of water (8lbs), a decent pack (5-6lbs), a rifle or pistol with some ammo (4lbs for the lightest of setups), shelter material i.e. tent&tarp (6lbs), sleeping bag (3lbs), clothing and rain gear (20lbs-yep you will need some warm stuff), misc (from your list I would guess another 20lbs). It is not that a person can not carry 125-150lbs in a pack, it can be done and maybe that is why you are looking at the long period of time to hike/remote live. I also believe there are many areas that if you plan on setting up camp in other critters will stumble across you, maybe you’ll be ok but for that reason I would opt for a pistol 44 cal or larger pistol for a choice of firearm and leave the 22 at home. Fishing can be a source of food depending on where you go.

    Perhaps you want to try some trails on the Kenai Penn, or as someone suggested taking the ferry and exploring several of the towns they stop in. There are many options and you started research in a good place, this forum, however the title of your thread does read to many like someone who wants to go into the wild.

    By the way, this link will take you to a hard core solo adventure man: http://www.bucktrack.com/Alaska_Broo..._Traverse.html. I think his last trip was just under 2 month, he put in some serious mileage you might want to check it out.

    I do not mean any disrespect with my posting but many of us have read the book and seen the movie so when someone posts that they want to go for 2-3 month into the Alaska wild with a bag of rice and a 22 we do cringe a bit, just as we would if someone said they wanted to live with the bears.

  19. #19
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    One of the biggest misconceptions about this state is that there is game around every bush. It couldn't be farther from the truth. I spend 8 seasons in the remotest parts of Alaska as a land surveyor. If I'd have had to live off the land I'd have been screwed. I can count the number of rabbits I saw in those 8 years on one hand. Yes, there were tons of birds, but I would have had to break the law to kill them. There is a reason why the Native peoples of this state relied so heavily on fish.
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  20. #20

    Default rabbits

    I'm with you AKDOUG, where are the rabbits? Even in the early stages of summer before the undergrowth gets heavy, nothing. Never seen one. God man I've taken many an afternoon walk with my mouth watering for a little red meat. Yes that fresh fish is good but once in a while a guy would like to strip the hide off something delicious.
    Porcupine, no shortage of these buggers. Problem is only time I see them is at 1:00 am chewing on my roof! By the time I go out there and paint the roof with blood I'm soo pissed that the thought of dressing him for breakfast gives me heart burn.
    Alaska needs more small game. What the heck is wrong with those squirels? Man could starve to death on those poor things. Lot like shooting a large chipmunk.
    Plenty of bear and moose, problem is, on top of being seriously illegal, what would a guy do with all that meat!
    Moral of story take with you what is easy to carry, come back to town and get the beer and the shower that coaldust suggested. Any where you are going to be will be a huge contrast to where your from. Even the mountains of NC, been there, not the same. In addition to reloading your supplies you will enjoy the interaction with the people that live there. Nice folks with libertarian beliefs, willing to help, you know the stuff the country was founded upon.
    Bear problems, how about human trouble? Know where you are at and do NOT tresspass.
    Gun carry is for peace of mind. Way more apt to get struck by lighting, I like to have a "peice" close to me. I would have one just in case and make sure you have some "rat shot" for what ever you carry. Not that I would kill one but those alaskan chickens are some of the dumbest, yet most delicous birds I have ever seen..

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