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[pct-l] re: Hiking in Alaska
- Subject: [pct-l] re: Hiking in Alaska
- From: Ken Marlow <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 08:33:00 -0500
- Organization: National Geographic
- Reply-to: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sorry all about the non-PCT reply, but here goes.
I spent three springs and summers on the North Slope assisting plant
ecologist/physiologist on global warming research. I did some hiking and
driving from our camp at Toolik Lake, about 120 miles south of Prudoe B. I'd
have to dig-up some materials to get exact names and locations. But here's
my two cents for now. Two hiking spots from the haul road immediately come
to mind one north of Atigan Pass on the east side of the haul road across
from the airstrip, an east trending canyon that has a waterfall, and if I
remember correctly, through a hole/window in a hike rock outcrop (believe it
or not). I can't remember the name of the canyon or airstrip, I can dig this
up. As I recall it was the only canyon had a spire or pyrimadal-like rock
formation from Atigan, north. Another spot was about 45 minutes (?) north
of Toolik Lake, across from the Highway Maintenence Station (I don't recall
the name of that station). The peak is called Slope Mountain, and makes for
a nice dayhike.
Both places were great for Dahl Sheep sightings (you can often see the sheep
from the road on the dark shale slopes). Like most places up there in the
summer, mosquitos are the worst I've ever been in (you could literally see a
cloud of them following someone). Of course, everything is cross-country,
and walking can be slow and tiring on the tussuck tundra, characterised by
foot-high grass mounds. Its very wet spoungy between the mounds, and feet
can get chilled pretty quickly depending on the height of the permafrost
below the surface. I've reached permafrost as high as about 5" below the
moss. Some days I'd wear very supportaive boots while hiking, other days
because of the cold ground, Sorels, with back-up liners (in the car or back
at camp (one pair drying-out of perspiration).
The haul road. I'm not sure what the gas situation is like there, now that
they've opened the road to the public. When we were working there, we had an
account at the DOT stations to sign for gas. No credit cards or money was
exhanged. You'll need to look into this, as this still might be a problem
beyond tourist places like Coldfoot and Yukon. There's a great
geology/physiology guide of the Dalton Highway/Haul road. I'll dig up the
author's name if you want. The conditions of the road changes dramatiacally.
Its well maintained, but after a rain or other event, it might be a few days
until a blade can reach a certain section. Rocks thrown-up from trucks can
be a problem, but rocks thrown-up from your own vehicle can be as well. If
you can afford the cost and the room, bring two full-size spare tires. I've
gone through my share of tires up there. Also bring a gas tank puncture
repair putty. Rocks rupturing fuel tanks are common. It happened to me.
Email me directly for further info.
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