I have gotten quite a bit of information already from browsing the past archives in this forum but I wanted to find out if anyone else had any input as well and what is realistic and what isn't.
My wife and I are planning a three week trip to AK in the end of August 2008 and the first week of the trip I hope to be able to do a caribou hunt in the vicinity of the Brooks Range or North Slope. Our plan is to hike at least 5 miles off the haul road, set a base camp and glass and hunt the surrounding area for a few days and then pack out. We know this will be a lot of work, and also dangerous so we are planning our trip well in advance along with serious physical conditioning. Another option that we have looked at instead of hiking in, is getting flown into somewhere in the vicinity of the Arctic Village, base camping there, then getting picked back up in 4-5 days but that could get pricey.
Along with quality camping gear, clothing, and sled, I am bringing a Sat phone (globalstar) and personal EPIRB for emergencies. My rifle is a 300WSM and I am considering purchasing a sidearm for my wife (any suggestions). I am leaning towards a 357 mag Ruger Blackhawk loaded with 180 grain castcore federal ammo. This gun has some weight to it, is very accurate and dependable, and will not scare her as much as a 44 mag, but I am open to suggestions.
For a little background on us, we live on Cape Cod (yeah don't laugh we are not soft), my wife grew up in northern Maine and I in Northern Vermont but jobs brought up together on the Cape. We have a family cabin just south of Jackman Maine off a paper company road were I deer hunt religiously in November. This is considered big country in the northeast and I love it because I rarely run into other hunters in the woods and also like to hunt "Benoit" style, tracking and still hunting remote areas. In 2001 through 2002 I lived in Kodiak and Dutch Harbor working as a fishery biologist and on my down time I traveled the state as much as possible, doing two trips to Wiseman on the haul road in September. So this driving trip will not be new to me.
If anyone could provide me with any info concerning gear, time of year (Aug or Sept), whether to hike or fly in (worth the $$), realistic expectations, sidearm or not, that would be great.
For us this is a trip of a lifetime, I haven't stopped talking about AK since I left in 2002 and my wife has always wanted to go, so do it now before kids come.
Thanks for any information and feel free to shoot holes in my plans because I have plenty of time to rethink them. Nathan