I returned from an incredible adventure in Alaska mere days ago, and I am already en route to Albania for the next trip. As usual, my life is packed full and totally crazy. And I love it!
The journey to the wilds of Alaska started in Anchorage. After a night of "roughing it", my best friend Bill and I headed to Farewell with Lake Clark Air.
A Piper Navajo took us into the bush. Our flight over the mountains was IFR with a bit of ice build up on the wings. I was pretty happy when we descended out of the clouds and the runway was in sight. I sometimes think that being a pilot can make these kinds of flights a little more nerve wracking than if I were just blissfully ignorant of flying and weather conditions. We were met plane-side by Spencer, Jon, Ben, and Jacob – our crew for the next 10 days. They have these really cool WWII keeps that crawl through the mountains. The bumpy ride was much appreciated given that the only other alternative would have been to schlep all of our gear the 10+ miles to sheep camp. The trip to camp was made a little more exciting by getting one of the jeeps stuck in fairly high, swiftly moving water. Luckily a strong winch was all it took to get our convoy back on dry land.
Home for the next 10 days was quite luxurious. There were two wooden platforms with wall tent tops. Each of these sported a wood burning stove – meaning that not only was it so cozy in there, but you could also dry out all of your gear and clothing each evening. This certainly tops any previous hunting camp set up that I have ever experienced. We were all anxious to get out into the mountains but unfortunately we were totally weathered in the first day. Thankfully I brought plenty to read with me…
The scenery was unbelievable. I always love being so far from anything or anyone. We hiked from 8-10 hours per day. Most of the mileage was covered by scrabbling up rivers. Hip boots kept me somewhat dry – until I fell in the river of course. It felt great to be out in the mountain air. The mountains were steep, my bed was warm, the food was tasty, and the company was great. All leading to a memorable trip.
Stay tuned for race coverage of the Global Limits ultra marathon taking place in Albania. This is my first time to this country and also the first time that an ultra event has taken place here. Should be an adventure!