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Entering Alaska: Pipelines, Rations, and One Major Wrong Turn

The first couple days of an Alaskan backpacking trip were filled with organizational efforts and one false start, plus plenty of stunning scenery.
Check out the full report on Alaska on our frequently updated trip page.
  • My seat on the plane. A direct flight from Denver to Anchorage is about 5.5 hours.
  • When this is the view from a run-of-the-mill Anchorage hotel parking lot, you know you're in for an adventure.
  • Hoarding carbs: This wide array of bars would be breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the next five days. Not pictured: A 1lb bag of peanut M&Ms which I didn't share.
  • A variety of quick-cook pastas and stir-in protein packs would be dinner, every night.
  • The pipeline is really, really long. Apparently, in an earthquake the support stanchions for the above-ground portions are intended to fall away and let the pipline fall to the ground without too much jostling.
  • Hike 1: Our eager attempt to head up the Canwell Glacier along the creek for a hut-to-hut trip was thwarted by a wrong turn, rain, extensive bushwhacking, and one bloated stream. We would abort the route and head out elsewhere the next day.
  • Thankfully bushwhacking is fun. Especially if you're dressed for a tsunami when it's only misting and about 45 degrees.
  • It turns out this dirt road was the right way to start; luckily we found it on the way out.
  • But even wrong turns are sometimes rewarded by Mother Nature.
My seat on the plane. A direct flight from Denver to Anchorage is about 5.5 hours.
Image 1 of 9

My seat on the plane. A direct flight from Denver to Anchorage is about 5.5 hours.

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