Enough Time for Alaska Trip?

10:47 p.m. on August 17, 2009 (EDT)
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My friend & I are considering planning a 3 day backcountry hike in Alaska. Our goal is to leave in about 3 weeks. She has some backcountry experience (3+week hike in Argentina). My experience is limited to hunting and light weekend camping. We're both in our mid 20's and in great shape. We're concerned if we have enough time to get all our gear together and properly plan the trip. The main gear we need is a tent, backpack for me, stove, and possibly new sleeping bags.

Any thoughts?

1:20 a.m. on August 19, 2009 (EDT)
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As mentioned before in another forum, if you are only going for three days rent all your gear in Anchorage at the REI store there. Unless you really want to buy all new gear for three days use, renting would be much less expensive. And the REI store there is huge and will know exactly what you need for where-ever you plan to go.

Also remember the seasons are much shorter in Alaska, like in Denali spring is June, summer is July and fall is August, any farther north of there and you'll be in the Arctic Circle and the days will be already shortening and the night colder.

1:57 a.m. on August 19, 2009 (EDT)
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Here is the stores website:

http://www.rei.com/stores/16

9:27 p.m. on August 19, 2009 (EDT)
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3 days is way too little time for an Alaska backpack. You can do some nice loops in Denali State Park (not Denali National Park, The State Park borders the National Park and is more amenable to a short backpack), in the Chugach, or on the Kenai Peninsula.

Your post was dated Aug 17. 3 weeks to starting the hike is Sep 7, which is Labor Day (you do realize, don't you, that Labor Day is a major holiday that gets hordes of people out on the trail, even in Alaska?). As Gary said, you can go to REI and buy or rent everything in an hour or so (though when you get to Anchorage, I would suggest Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking, a MUCH better store for backpackers with MUCH more knowledgable personnel and MUCH better quality gear). AMH is diagonally across the street from the Anchortown REI (both are at the intersection of Northern Lights and Spenard, REI to the SW, AMH to the NE)

I don't know where you are located, but you should know that Alaska Airlines does not allow you to take stoves either in checked or carryon luggage, whether brand new still in shrinkwrap or used - stickiest airline I have encountered about backpacking stoves, whether the screw-on type for butane canisters or liquid fuel stoves - they confiscate them out of checked baggage).

As Gary said, you are moving into the Fall season for Alaska. The temperatures should be ok in Kenai or the Chugach (around freezing at night, 70s during the day) if your trek is 3 days Sep 7-10. Denali State Park will be a bit cooler (10 deg cooler, with possibility of a lot colder). If you go farther north (say, north of Fairbanks or up to ANWAR), you are looking at something resembling winter weather. I have gotten snowed on in that area in June, and it doesn't get very much warmer through July and August.

11:13 p.m. on September 3, 2009 (EDT)
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A little late in our reply but thank you very much. We pushed the trip back a week and plan on leaving next Friday or Saturday, 9/12. We've decided to limit our time traveling and stay in Chugach. We're trying to decide between the Resurrection Trail (http://gorp.away.com/gorp/location/ak/hik_resurrection.htm) or Kesugi Ridge (http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=HGA004-047).

We took your advice and will rent most of the gear we don't have. Along with REI & AMH we found some affordable places like Alaska Pacific University (http://class.alaskapacific.edu/op/equipment.php).

From what we've been told there is no place to store your other belongings while hiking so our next big challenge is finding an affordable car to rent.

We still have a ton to get ready so there may be a few more questions to come. But if anyone can offer any other suggestions please post! Thanks again!

11:00 a.m. on September 4, 2009 (EDT)
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As far as storage of your extra gear you might check in at one of the hostels in Anchorage and then when you go off for your week around the state they would probably let you store your gear there while you are gone.

I recommend Jason's International Youth Hostel at 3324 Eide Street Anchorage AK. Call them at 907-562-0293 and they will pick you up at the airport. I stayed there when I first got to Alaska three summers ago. Jason the owner is a very nice guy and has a very nice hostel.

I hope this helps with your travel in Alaska, enjoy it!

12:04 p.m. on September 4, 2009 (EDT)
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Earth Bed and Breakfast used to cater to climbers and hikers when Margriet owned it. The new owners promised her they would keep up the tradition, so you might try them (1001 West 12th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501, 907-279-9907 - though I don't guarantee they kept the same phone number). Another B&B that caters to hikers and climbers is Anchorage Guest House (2001 Hillcrest Drive, Anchorage, AK 99517, 907-274-0408). Both of these will store your gear in their garages. It has been a couple of years, though since Margriet sold Earth B&B and longer than that since I stayed at Anchorage Guest House, so they might not be the same as they were.

2:38 p.m. on September 4, 2009 (EDT)
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You both have been VERY helpful. I'll give them all a call this weekend. THANK YOU!

July 31, 2014
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