Follow adventurer Andrew Skurka as he skis, hikes, and rafts 4,720 miles through eight national parks, two major mountain ranges, and some of North America's wildest rivers in Alaska and the Yukon from March to October. Read his blog updates here.
West Coast Wrap-Up: What I've Seen, posted in Unalakleet, Alaska, on March 24, 2010Tomorrow morning I head inland via a historic portage route between the Bering Sea (the Unalakleet side) and the Yukon River (at the village of Kaltag). This is a transitional point in the route—moving from the coast to the interior—and a good opportunity for me to wrap up the last 280 miles.
My route has been completely dependent on the network of snomachine trails between rural Alaskan villages. About 100 miles of the route being blazed as the "Iditarod Trail" doesn't change the reality that local snowmachiners represent the bulk of the use—dog mushers are exceptions, and skiers like me are freaks. The tracks are well packed, making for fast skiing since I'm not breaking trail. They're often marked (but not signed), for the safety of users. Following these snowmachine trails has been like following the Appalachian Trail, almost... I've been out for ten days and have seen a person every day thus far; sometimes it's just been a lone snowmachiner while other times there have been waves of two- to four-rider groups.