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Thread: Trans-Alaska Trail

  1. #1
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Default Trans-Alaska Trail

    So I've been thinking about this a long time. Down south they have the AT, the CDT, the PCT, even one proposed that spans the 48 states from east to west. So what do we have? The most gorgeous scenery on earth, and a dearth of trails to experience it. Sure, sure, we've got some doozies, but they're few and literally far between. So where would a single trail that traverses Alaska start? Where would it end? In my mind, I envision something that samples a little bit of all the best we have to offer- seacoast, alpine, boreal forest, tundra, with enough quirky little towns thrown in to make resupply on a thru-hike possible. So how's about it, people? Are we going to see this in our lifetime, or will the good old patchwork quilt of Alaskan landownership make it impossible?
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    it can go wherever you want it to go.


    start walking.




    it's an interesting thing to ponder, but completely unrealistic.

    sizeable human walking trails do not just get built. (though roads and pipelines do...trails of sorts) the maintenance needs of our current trails, to try and keep their use sustainable, are far beyond what public land managers are currently funding. so propsing a new mega route might be fun...but have you ever built, say one mile of trail?


    so if you want a transalaska trail, go ahead and make it yourself. that's the only way. a packraft will probably help, by the way. i am also a big fan of maps.


    search about ned rozell's walk of the pipeline though, for anything close to a fixed route though.



    just out of curiosity....how many miles of spruce or tundra bog (as in standing water) have you slogged through?


    and have you ever traversed the talkeetna mountains?

    that trip should give you ample time to plan the great alaska traverse.

  3. #3
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    That's just it, andweav; I'm not looking for a "new" "megaroute", or to slog through a bog or climb the Talkeetnas. This route should utilize existing infrastructure wherever possible; current trails, rural roads, bridges, even the pipeline or railbelt corridors are possibilities. Just a regular trail that your average hiker can complete in a season. The Appalachian Trail wasn't built in a day, but now has a dedicated corps of volunteers who care for it. My question is, don't we deserve something like that?
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    This idea may have a remote chance in the more populated part of the state that the major highways go through if you stuck close to the roads, but once you cross the Parks Hwy and head west there is not really any trails, or existing infrastructure to help it along. The major transportation routes are the rivers themselves with nearly all the major settlements on these rivers. There is few if any trails between the communities. The ones that do exist are mainly winter trails due to the difficulties of traveling cross-country when the ground is not frozen.

    It would literally take an army to do something like this, not just a few volunteers. We will never see anything like this in our lifetimes or our grandchildren's.

    One could walk the road system pretty much from Homer to the Arctic coast if you stayed on the roads or walk the pipeline from Valdez north it that is even allowed.

    Do a quick google search of "trail building costs per mile" and you will get a feeling for how unrealistic this idea is from a cost perspective. I got estimates ranging from $3000-$25000 per mile do just construct trail!! And that is in the lower-48 where the terrain is generally easier to access.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The great thing about Alaska is we aren't like the lower 48, we aren't criss crossed by roads, or heavily trodden hiking trails. Having such a trail would ruin the experience, not enhance it. Yes it would be convenient to have huts every so often and re-supply points, but it would ruin the uniqueness of this great land.

    As a friend said, people complain about how difficult it is to get around the state, but if it wasn't so difficult, we wouldn't have the wilderness we do.

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    The very reason that the old timers travelled in winter is the same reason we don't have a vast system of summer trails...it's nearly impossible in many areas of the state.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Guess we have the Iditarod Trail, that is a good chunk of the state, you might want to travel it in the winter and there are villages along the route to stop in. I think they do some, very limited trail work on it. It takes an Army of people to make a trail and a ton of resources ($$). I'm very impressed by the amount of trails in Alaska but I do not see a trans Alaska possibility.

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    ... but it would ruin the uniqueness of this great land.
    I disagree; if hordes of jet boats on every river and planes landing on every possible lake don't ruin it, how will people quietly walking along the landscape ruin it? I do agree that it seems daunting and even impossible, especially with the land-use conflicts we are facing and will continue to face. So... how about a timetable of say, 49 years from now? Idaho created a trail that traverses the entire state for their centennial, and that's rugged country, believe me, I know. Why not the Alaska Centennial Trail? In 49 years you can write a lot of grants, lobby for a lot of funding, organize a lot of volunteers. If I can get people to start thinking about it, hopefully in 20 years people will start talking about it, and in another 20 years maybe we can start working on it.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    To happen in your lifetime...it will have to be your trail and people probably won't follow much.


    It won't be a feel good AT experience that you can commune with others about.


    Except that you can commune with Alaskans because many of us do such treks...albeit shorter for most of us....often.



    An Epic ALaska trail is silly because they are all epic.



    Do you like Mountains? If you learn to go fast and light there are immense possibilities in the chugach...starting in girdwood...you could resupply in Eagle River (probably hitch a ride in....or you could float the river)


    and then head back into the range....pick a route....and wind up in Anchorage.



    If you are looking for a remotely easy trail experience for such a multi day trip then Alaska isn't it.



    The resurrection trail is what I think of as the classic AK hiking trail.

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