Up For a Challenge?

Little Susitna River in Hatcher Pass, AlaskaMore people are seeking a challenge or a remote location on their vacations. Alaska offers some of the best ways to challenge yourself, whether you are young, old, an athlete or not-so-fit, or even in a family with young kids. Pushing your boundaries can mean something different to each person, and there’s room for everyone’s “stretch goals” on an Alaska vacation.

My “I can’t believe I did it!” moment came on my second trip to Alaska, when my rental car broke down in Hatcher Pass, on the far side of the descent from Summit Lake. It was near nightfall, with no cell phone coverage, and nobody was coming to get me… I figured I might as well just start walking. I followed the dirt road back towards Palmer, so it wasn’t as difficult as alpine mountain climbing, but I was huffing and puffing up each incline! I’d never done anything like this–walking over mountains! A couple miles later, at the summit, I had my Julie Andrews moment and whirled around like in The Sound of Music! I, a pretty fat gal, was walking over mountains! It never occurred to me that I could do that!

Alaska is an obvious choice for unchaining yourself from your desk job or getting out into the vast country that most people only see in photos or on TV! You can be in a remote location lickety-split. From the Chugach mountain range that rises up to the east of Anchorage, to the Talkeetna mountains ringing the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, there are so many ways to “get out there.”

One of the easiest ways and cheapest ways is to hike–get out there! There are both marked, groomed trails, and also vast public areas where you can just decide to take off into the wild. The Matanuska Susitna Borough website has good trail maps to download for the marked trails. If you’re feeling more adventurous, take a GPS and a satellite phone, and just take off to see what’s “over there.” Be bear (and moose) aware in all cases, and if you’re going more remote, have supplies including food and water and general first aid items. For your defense, take a canister of bear spray (which we are happy to loan you) or a sidearm, 38 calibre or better. In snow season, also be sure to take an avalanche beacon if you’re off the beaten track.

Taking the degree of difficulty or making it more extreme only goes up from there! Book a charter flight to Brooks Falls to see the highest concentration of grizzlies on earth fishing for salmon; flightsee over the continent’s highest mountain, Denali, or ice-climb on the Matanuska Glacier. We recommend Mica Guides.

Follow my blog and posts for more ideas about extreme sports events in Alaska, the growing popularity of “mileage runs” (Chicago-Anchorage-Chicago in sub-20 hours, anyone?), or the reaaaally out there adventures like with our friends at Alaska Alpine Adventures whose trips get written up in Nat Geo Adventure magazine and more! Choose how far “up” you want to turn the dial on your Alaska adventure–from mild thrills to hitting it hard for the trip of a lifetime! If you need any advice, message me or give me a call!