"Into the Wild" biking in Denali National Park
I've been craving a good adventure lately, so when Eric Parsons invited me to join he and Dylan Kentch on an experimental combination to mountain bike and packraft, my thought was that this trip would include the excitement/exertion that I was craving. The vision was to bike 56 miles into Denali National Park, float down the Toklat River, and then find the Stampede trail to bike to the Parks Highway. There were plenty of unknowns, but the great thing about a trip like this one is that your only choice is to go find out, and to have faith that you'll find the way, so off we went!
On the park road at the top of Polychrome Pass
Riding down the Toklat River
Down the river we went . . .
Always the skier, I took a mental note of those coolies on Mt. Sheldon! Holy happy place!!!
We camped at the confluence with the Toklat east fork and started the next day navegating upriver. This included riding shelf ice, gravel, and crossing the river about 20 times . . .
And then it was 10 hours of tundra walking over tussocks in search of the Sushana River.
We finally broke out on to a ridge and were able to see more-or-less where we had to head. You can see the Sushana in the distance if you look carefully in this photo . . .
Finally, we arrived at the Sushana River, the "Into the Wild" bus, and the beginning of the Stampede Trail :-) The Stampede Trail was surprisingly rideable . . . arguably "Type A" fun! We sorta laughed when we hit the road, reflecting on how well things had gone and somewhat amazed that we didn't "epic." Sure, the 2-day trip had taken 4 and there was one day of fairly unfavorable travel conditions, but we had expected at least that at the outset. We also had a great time together as a group which makes the memory even better! Read the full story here!
(photos: Eric Parsons)