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February 1999

Solo Hiking Alaska: Fear Walked With Me

A once-in-a-lifetime solo hike through Lake Clark National Park, where the midnight sun shines like candlelight on the mountains.

Expedition Planner:

Lake Clark National Park And Preserve

Trails: There are no designated trails, but long river drainages and miles of open tundra offer limitless opportunities to forge your own route. I hiked from Lake Telaquana to Turquoise Lake; many hikers follow the same route or a variant including nearby Twin Lakes, or Two Lakes. There’s also the historic Telaquana Trail, an unmarked and brushy 50-mile route between Dena’ina Athabaskan village sites on Telaquana Lake and Lake Clark. Other areas to explore: Bonanza Hills and Gladiator Basin above Kontrashibuna Lake.

Season: Late May to September, with optimal hiking June and July. Early in the season you’ll find snow cover at upper elevations. Pack warm clothes and good raingear because cool, rainy weather and high winds are common.

Walk Softly: Resist the urge to make a souvenir from one of the many caribou skeletons dotting the landscape. The bones are an important source of minerals for other animals.

Maps: USGS topos: Lake Clark and Lime Hills series. For a basic map and description of the Telaquana Trail, contact the park (see “Contacts,” below).

Special hazards: Stream and river crossings are dangerous year-round because of fast, cold water; some crossings are impossible during spring melt. Bushwhacking is unavoidable and requires both practice and patience.

Contacts: For general information and brochures: Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, 4230 University Dr., Suite 311, Anchorage, AK 99508; (907) 271-3751. For up-to-date backcountry information, speak to rangers at the field office in Port Alsworth: (907) 781-2218.

-J. Dorn

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