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Thread: Gustavus Folks - Need help!

  1. #1

    Default Gustavus Folks - Need help!

    Hello. I'd like to go on a long 20 mile (one way) backpacking trip.

    But first, I'd like to ask some questions. I'm at glacier bay lodge and want to go to the Beartrack Mountains. Quite a distance away. I bought a topo map and a compass, and looking at the map, the land between here and the mountains are really flat. Anyone ever hiked/camped/hunted these areas? I'm expecting wet, swampy land. Is it hikeable with a pair of Xtratuff boots?

    Also, am I gonna need bear spray for this route? Normally I'd be carrying my 8mm mauser but the park doesn't allow the possession and storage of firearms. My other option is to borrow from the folks in town, but I don't know anyone and I seriously doubt anyone will trust me enough with their handgun/rifle.

    My other option is to kyack up to beartrack cove and stomp around there, but I need to find another person who will be willing to do it. Be a hard thing to do ha ha.

    Anyway, anything you can tell me will help.


    Oh and google earth just shows treetops, so i have no clue as to the type of terrain other than it's flat.

    EDIT: I don't suppose I could rent a firearm from the folks in town?

  2. #2
    Member kjashen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Juneau, Alaska

    Default general store

    post a message on the bulletin board at the general store down by 4 corners in town. also at the hardware store which is right next to it. Odds are xtra tuffs will be fine, but I'm willing to bet that bear spray would be a good idea. A pair of stockingfoot hip waders (pretty cheap from cabelas) would be good to pack along and use the xtra tuffs as wading boots if you get stuck by deep creeks etc. with all the rain this summer, creeks are running deep. I know cell phones work in Gustavus, but don't know if they do out by Beartrack Cove. if not rent a sat phone just in case....its the pits if they have to come looking for you. good luck

  3. #3


    Hey Jason, glad to see you made it up!

    By "to the Beartrack Mountains" I assume you want to go up the Bartlett River then over to the Beartrack River and up to its source, or at least in that general area?

    Well, my thoughts are that the only way to reasonably hike that area is in Xtratuffs or Muckboots or somesuch, but that's me. Problem is hiking 30 or 40 miles in Xtratuff's is rough on the feet, but doable I suppose. Other choice is wet feet for the whole trip.

    It will be a mix of gravel and swamp and mossy forest ground, if you can stay out of the trees you will avoid some tough brush, but it is not easy to stay out of the trees. Lots of side streams coming into the rivers. Sounds like an epic trip (both good and bad "epic".) Once you get out of the Bartlett River drainage and into the Beatrack it will be more trees and gravel, less swamp.

    Prime bear habitat. Note the name

    You are still in the park there, if I have your route right. Same problem with carrying a rifle on your trip as at Bartlett Cove. Not telling you what to do, but there it is. Bear spray, is of course, perfectly legal. IMO just as useful, but that is just one man's opinion.

    Tell someone where you are going, your route, and when you are supposed to be back. For sure make lots of noise while hiking (yelling the ubiquitous "hey bear" ever minute or two always works for me) and hang your food and toiletries 100 yards away from where you are sleeping. I suspect your cell phone will be useless for most of the trip up there, I've never gotten mine to work anywhere north of the moraine NW of town. Don't be afraid to pay a visit to "the vis" for some beta on your idea.

    You might find this website useful for your planning. First half of your route has decent satellite photo coverage.

  4. #4


    kjashen, I went into town yesterday and saw the board you mentioned.

    Didn't put an ad up though, as I saw I'd still be in GBNP. No firearms allowed. I did buy some bear spray at the mech though. $ 57! My life is worth it though. Just hope that if I have to, I only encounter one bear.

    I don't know how useful a Sat phone would be... I'm hearing impaired and talking with a phone is usually an impossibility (when it requires me to hear and understand the other person).

    AlaskaFlier, yeah that's exactly what I want to do. I'm thinking i'll bring the XtraTuffs but I will hike in my boots until it's no longer doable.

    Thanks for the website. I like that map better than the one I bought here.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Northeasterly of a Big Lake

    Default hey what do I know?

    Get yourself a pair of caulked Xtratuff boots with a couple of pairs of felt insoles, if you insist on the illusion of having dry feet. Regular Juneau tennies are the best boots for walking on wet logs...the super soft compound and design of the tread pattern is way better than the typical Vibram waffle-stomper...but they can't hold a candle to caulks. Last I knew Nugget Outfitters in Juneau sold caulked XtraTuffs...if not Hoffman's boots of Coeur d'Alene Idaho has them and other suitable footwear for bushwhacking thru Southeast.

    If you go with Juno Tennies get yourself some duck tape and with the boot on, wrap the ankle like the sport trainers would a halfback. This will give you back some of the ankle support that Sitka sneakers sorely lack...with some practice you'll figure out how to do so without creating a fold in the rubber boot that will cause some discomfort. You might be wondering how I know that.

    Also buy two of those bear sprays and use one to practice with...don't wait until you need it to learn how it shoots...they have a considerable recoil...those dogs down the road that always come charging out like to tear your leg off, make a good target of opportunity and you'll be doing them and their owners a favor by teaching them that there are sometimes consequences to their action...contrary to popular opinion, dogs don't learn from lawsuits and getting put down. credentials...I work in the woods...I don't visit them...7/12's for weeks on end surveying in the forests of Southeast Alaska...Where no one has ever set foot save a logging engineer and possibly some lost hunter. I don't walk on trails except for the one's I cut and measure at the rate of 20 to 40 chains a day. I'm not offered the option of taking the path of least resistance. I'm on line, from here to there.

    On the hike out, after I burn the 4 quarts of gas and 1.5 quarts of oil, drank the bulk of my 3 quarts of water that I stuffed in my pack along with a spare chain for the gas ax on my shoulder, tomahawk, wedge, calculator, plumb bob, first aid kit, a pocket full of undefined points, rain gear, hard hat, a soaking wet survey vest and chaps...I travel light... I can at the end of the day, do the hump out over that same 1/4 to 1/2 mile to the LZ at about 1 to 1.5 mph.

    Naturally, I ain't in as fine a shape as some office dude that has time to go to the Alaska Club each night and use the StairMaster or pump iron for a hour, therefore my perspective could be a tad skewed.

    I could tell you that GPS don't work real reliable like in the canopy of Southeast, but hey what do I know?

    You might consider packing a Sandvick or a machete.

    Good Luck
    Natural Selection begins with you!

  6. #6
    Member L. G.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    N'ern S.E. AK


    Corked boots rock. I cannot see them being useful in the area you describe. I don't understand corked Xtra-Tuffs. Sure, you will get good grip, but with no ankle support, you'll sprain your ankle(s.) I have a pair of corked Meindls that are like having 4WD. Only use them on hillsides. In the flats you want high top rubber boots.

    The Garmin 60Csx gets excellent reception under SE forest canopy. I can always get a satellite lock anywhere.

    Hey PC360 - you work for R&M? If so, I think I know you. Like skiing a little bit too, huh?


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