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Thread: haul road 5 mile hike

  1. #1

    Default haul road 5 mile hike

    Just wanting some advice and hopefully hear from people that have done the five mile hike. I have searched the forums and got a lot of great ideas and info but most of the things i have read say not to try walking out. My question is what is so different about hiking out past the 5 miles and setting up a base camp or having a fly in drop camp? Is it just the work of hiking thru the tundra or is it hard to find any caribou?
    We are going the first week of sept. and will be there 9 days, we all bow hunt and will try getting them with a bow but like the idea of using a rifle if need be. Any advice would be appreciated, thanks Tyler

  2. #2

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    Imagine a room with bowling balls wall to wall on the floor, on top of that is a foam mattress. Now walk across it. That is what walking on the tundra is like with all the tussocks. 5 miles feels like about 15, and packing a load on it is something else.

  3. #3
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Tyler Pm me with your phone number, I'll give you some details.

    Wife and I did the 5 mile rilfe hunt, and it was 100% work, but one of our favorite hunts together.

    Got a heckuva bull, too.
    Last edited by fullkurl; 09-16-2009 at 08:36.

  4. #4
    Member RCBOWHUNTER's Avatar
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    Default Tough Hunt

    As the saying goes, bring a rifle on a bow hunt and you will end up using the rifle! It is very challenging to get within bow range of caribou up on the north slope. If you decide to walk the 5 miles, you might as well rifle hunt. Between the road and 5 miles try bowhunting, it is a great hunt and you will put numerous stalks on caribou as long as you are willing to get off the road a ways.

    I have hiked 15-20 miles through mountainous terrain that wasn't as hard as packing a caribou out 5 miles through the tundra. It was by far the hardest 5 miles I have ever done. Prepare yourself physically if you plan on walking 5 miles. I recommend bringing trekking poles for the 5 miles hike, they seemed to help out quite a bit.

    You can pm me if you have specific questions. Good luck and whether you decide to walk or fly, you will have a great time and see some awesome country.

    Ryan

  5. #5

    Default 5 miles....

    What kind of shape are you in? If you are in great shape and have packed 125lb+ loads before it will be hard but doable. If you are not in great shape it could be a really bad choice to shoot a caribou 5 miles out. I have seen guys that couldn't get the whole caribou out in a day and they were so sore that they couldn't walk the next day. They were looking to pay people to go out and get the rest of the meat. Bad news..... I did it last year several days after I got in from sheep hunting for 8 days.....it was still a long hard walk but not so bad that I won't do it again this year.

  6. #6
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Take a good tent! Being pinned into a cheap tent on the tundra getting flattened by wind and driving rain is no fun. Good rain gear is another must have. My cousin had this happen on his hunt. He said the hike was doable but they decided to only take one bou and split it between the three of them. I think the biggest mistake you can make up there is putting more meat on the ground than you can haul out. For me, if/when I do that hunt it is going to be on skis with a pulk.

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    Default 5 mile walk

    It's not that bad if you are in decent shape, can walk, have the right equipment, and don't get greedy. I took my nephew in near Pump Station 2 in August a few years back. I told him it would be the hardest hunt he had been on, and compared to hunting Michigan Whitetails it was. We walked in 5.5 miles, sat down and waited for some Caribou. 2 bulls showed up 2 days later, he shot the biggest of the 2, and we carried it out. We went in very light with the plan of heading to the road if the weather started to turn bad. Maybe my 20 years as a grunt makes me have a different idea of what a tough hump is, but I've done much worse many times. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's definitely doable. Another piece of information for your planning, many people think it's dry up there but the tundra can be very wet and there's a lot of area's with lots of standing water. Be prepared for any type of weather from 80 degree temps to blizzard conditions and everything in between.

  8. #8
    Member lynch's Avatar
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    Default 5 mile bou

    Be sure to mark multiple waypoints with a gps from the road. When you are hiking on the tundra it really is like bowling balls and foam. You think you are five miles out when you go about two miles. The time of year you are going is during early migration most years. I got one out of the five mile zone a few years ago west of happy valley. They where trickling across the road all day heading west and I fallowed them and nailed a nice bull five and a half miles out. Getting him back was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

    good luck.

  9. #9
    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    Default It's in your head

    A lot of it is mental. It's so wide open out there, you can see for miles around. You can look ahead of you and see your destination, and it looks like it's a few miles away. But then you walk for an hour, and it appears to have not gotten any closer.

    But, I found that if you mentally prepare yourself for this, it really helps. Just set your mind to walking where you are instead of thinking about where you're trying to get, and it is not as bad. It's tough work and tricky stepping, and having a heavy pack definitely exacerbates this by a factor of about 4, but I think the reason it gets to people so badly is because it's much harder than they think it will be and much harder than it looks at a glance.

    One definite advantage to bow hunting is that you can drive along the road until you encounter a group of caribou. And, once you find them, you can get right on them. With a rifle, you have to rely a bit more on luck. Perhaps you can get up on a high point near to the road and spot some 'bou that are out the 5 miles or headed that way, but that does not mean they will even be in the neighborhood when you get there. If they are on the move, you will not be able to keep up with them; forget about catching up.

    Lujon - the going is much easier in the spring. I went up two weeks ago, and it was a cakewalk compared to hiking on the tussocks. That said, there is still a mental factor that makes it seem a lot harder than it really is. Even if you are hauling donkey, it just seems like you are not moving at all up there, because the land features are so big and so spread out.

    Hope this answers some of your questions, cowboy. PM me if you want more info. Good luck!!

    -Gr
    My signature is awesome.

  10. #10
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    Default 5 miles

    I hiked the 5 miles in August to shoot mine. It is a hard hike but if you are in shape for it, it is not that bad. From my own personal experience I would suggest not hiking out in the hilly stuff. That stuff is a lot harder to walk in than the flat stuff. That said, if the caribou are in the hilly stuff and not the flat stuff than you will be hiking in the hills. Just my two cents here so take it for what it is worth but I would not have my base camp all the way out at 5 miles. If you are going to hike in and camp than I would have my base camp somewhere around 2.5 miles off the road. That way its a shorter hike every time you make it. Hike in the 2.5, set up camp, then its only 2.5 out to where you can legally hunt with a rifle. If you shoot one you have a nice resting place to store your meat and are able to break that 5 miles up into two 2.5 mile trips. Do not listen to those that say it is not worth it. That can only be determined by the person making the hike. As for me, I did it twice and packed 2 caribou out in 2 days, yes it was hard but I'll do it again. If you want some more info PM me, I would be happy to share info.
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

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    Member c04hoosier's Avatar
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    Default I like ARKY's idea...

    Another thing I might try is dedicating the first 5 days or so strictly to bow hunting. If you get your bou with a bow, it will save you all the walking. If not, you have done some good scouting and will now have a better guess of where to go for the walk in.

    I did the walk in a few years ago. We got 2 caribou out of 3 hunters. Good thing we didn't get a 3rd. That is good advice too--don't get greedy. We did the whole thing in one day. That was the single hardest day of hunting in my life. That is why I like ARKY's idea of breaking the walk into sections.

  12. #12

    Default Hual Road

    If you are going to bowhunt, just hiking in 1 or 2 miles will get you away from 95% of the bowhunting crowd. Less of a hike and if the caribou are there it will still be a good hunt. I've done the 5 mile hike. I consider myself in good shape and made exactly 1 mile per hour across the tundra. Didn't matter going in with just camping gear and coming out loaded with meat. 1 mile per hour.

  13. #13
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fullcurl View Post
    If you are going to bowhunt, just hiking in 1 or 2 miles will get you away from 95% of the bowhunting crowd. Less of a hike and if the caribou are there it will still be a good hunt. I've done the 5 mile hike. I consider myself in good shape and made exactly 1 mile per hour across the tundra. Didn't matter going in with just camping gear and coming out loaded with meat. 1 mile per hour.
    I have heard of humility but man come on, I have attempted at least one hunt that I know you did successfully and there is simply no way that a person in only "good" shape could have accomplished it. You are one of the few people that I honestly believe could write down exactly where you hunt and how you get there, publish it and still have those spots to your self.

  14. #14
    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    I did it once because the buds I was with weren't bowhunters. I was in the Army at the time and in great shape. It was still a beast to hike in and come back out with a load and we'd went in while it was still frozen with relatively easy walking. I can't imagine what it'd be like before it freezes.
    Now what ?

  15. #15
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I did it once. It wasn't bad at all. Reason is the tundra was frozen. If the tundra wasn't frozen it would of been a tough walk
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  16. #16

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    Thank you all for the great advice. I now have a better idea of what to prepare for and a lot of great ideas, i can't wait to see the haul road for myself.

  17. #17
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    And when THE ONE, steps out in front of you... you forget all that you have done to get there...



    4 hours later. you say what the hell was i thinking...............!
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  18. #18
    Member arcticfirefighter's Avatar
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    Talking Just my two cents...

    I did the 5 mile hike last year in August after 4 days of bow hunting with no luck. 3 of us went in, my buddy shot one large bull at about 6 miles in and it took us almost 10 hrs to get out. I could not agree more with the description of bowling balls and a mattress. Then you get to the areas where everytime you take a step you sink down 6 inches into wet spongy bog. Let's just say this year I am not even bringing the rifle along, the thought won't even have the chance of crossing my mind to do it again That was one of the longest days of my life... Good luck on whatever you decide to do.

  19. #19
    Member Ripper's Avatar
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    Default Frozen tundra

    For those of you guys going in when the tundra is frozen, is that typically an April hunt for meat only? Or are you going out late in the fall after stuff has frozen?

  20. #20
    Member c04hoosier's Avatar
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    Default better when frozen, but...

    Even if the tundra is frozen, it's still no walk in the park. The bowling balls are still there, but the mattress is a little harder. Ankles and knees still take a beating. No matter what time of year, that 5 mile hike will never be easy.

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