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Old 08-10-2014, 01:28 PM   #121
Hunter-Douglas OP
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Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Truckee-Tahoe Int.
Oddometer: 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
Hunter, Harry's story definatly would freak me out if I was heading south. Trust your instincts.....if an area/person feels wrong...get out of there!

Glad you're doing well! Thanks for the pics
Thanks! I'll be trusting my instincts like none other, but I'll also be remembering how many people have had a great time and been shown great hospitality. I'll also be hitting rosetta stone hard before I go, so at least I'll have some idea when someone's giving me locals advice of "don't be goin down that road..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtykdx View Post
Yeah, this has me hooked as well. I'm a few years older. Staring 30 in the eye, only a month away. Taking my first trip longer than a few days (17) shortly after. Also on BMW 650 single (in husky trim), wanting to see Alaska. I'm already locked into the career and can't see myself being able to take more than 2 weeks at a time unless I get laid off or change companies. Had I realized this could be done back when I was laid off the first time, at the age of 24, I'd have been right there doing the same thing. I can't tell you how jealous I truly am. Not just the riding, the mountain guiding as well. I wanted to do that since back when I was in scouts, but it never worked out. The stories you gain will bring you smiles for years to come. Can't take those away.

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Hope that trip goes well. You got a great bike for it

I feel like your story and mine are both part of a constant conversation between myself, friends and family. We all have chosen different paths and none of really have a clue who's right, because I don't think anyone really is. I used to think there was a chosen path and the key to happiness and it was just a matter finding it, but now I'm not so sure. I know plenty of people who are seasonal floaters making it work, and plenty of people who are 9-5ing it. My pops is one of them, and for the most part he felt it was the right choice and suited him well enough. I'm just more certain now that it won't be for me. I respect everyone who lives whichever path they choose, because I hope (maybe too optimistically) that we have the ability to pull out make a change if what we're doing is making us completely miserable.

As far as finances, I'm sure hoping 1k a month is doable. If not, store the bike, credit card a flight back and figure out life.
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Old 08-14-2014, 02:35 PM   #122
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Source to Sea

So one morning about a month ago I got woken up and told to pack for a four day raft trip. The guy who was going to run it was an older guide taking some time off from his job at Alaskan Airlines, but instead he ended up coming down with pneumonia and bronchitis. That meant on day four I got another ring saying I was doing the whole trip to Cordova. Fine by me.

It started out well enough flying into a tiny strip on Nizina Lake in a loaded 1949 Beaver through 20mph cross winds and a bumpy landing. I meant to tell the clients on the intercom that the strip was bigger than it looked, but ended up saying the opposite. Whoops.
We got on the water and rowed our way around some icebergs. The lake is full of ones you can raft through before heading to the mouth of the river.




We wound our way for four days through the mile high cliffs again and down the canyons of the Nizina River. The weather was off and on and the bears were out in force. The nice thing about Alaska bears is that (for the most part) they are WILD. At least in this part of the state, most of them don't know humans or recognize our gear as a food source. I try to make clients camp away from the kitchen, while I camp near it to keep an eye on things. One morning I woke up to fresh grizzly tracks splitting the ten foot difference between my tent and our kitchen. All the food had been packed away and locked, but even so the tracks just ran straight through camp without any pause. The berries were in full bloom and he didn't give two shits that we were there or what we were doing.

A foggy night in the canyon.


There was some shallow braids getting into camp. My client Don thought getting stuck was a rad time.


Later on we hit the confluence of the Chitina River where the river flow tripled in volume and the land opened to a miles wide valley. The river was a bit more mellow, but the landscape was excellent. We resupplied water from clear snowmelt creeks before they mixed in with the murk. The rivers aren't a great supply as they move incredible amounts of silt (the Copper River is rumored to be the siltiest in NA).


Alaska...


A few more days and we made it down to the town of Chitina and the confluence of the Copper River. Some additional clients drove in for the last week of the trip and I got to clean myself up under some running water for the first time in about 3 months. Chitina is the end of the paved road before hitting the last 61 miles of dirt to McCarthy and qualifies as an interesting place for sure.

The story of McCarthy and the Copper River Northwest rail line is an interesting one. In an extreme nutshell, some prospectors right around 1900 traded some food to the local natives in Chitina the scoop on some local copper deposits. Rumor had it that there were some untouched beauties 60 miles away in the Kennicott Valley. The prospectors traveled over to take a look, saw green stripes in the mountainside and realized they might have hit the jackpot. A wealthy friend of their's by the name of Steven Burch bought the claim in 1901 and began building infrastructure for the mining town of Kennecott, 4.5 miles up glacier from McCarthy. CRNW, a sister company of Kennecott Mining Co, built the 197 mile railroad from Cordova to Kennecott from 1907-1911 at a cost of $23 mil and eight times the original budget. The railroad follows the Copper River from Cordova to Chitina, and then along the Chitina river to Kennecott on what is now the McCarthy road everyone rides in on. The mine closed in 1938, at which point they had netted $100 million in profit and pulled out 600k tons of copper, a lot that being high grade ore that nobody can seem to find today.

The trip down the Copper River from Chitina winds through the Chugach on a massive volume of water, about 10x the size of the Colorado. It rains more and more as you get closer to the coastline, lending way to vibrant green, jagged mountain sides jutting straight up from the water. I got the whole "Land Before Time" feeling a bunch.


The view from a private little beach I found for my tent.


The Copper River is the only major drainage break through the Chugach Mountains. That means sometimes it gets windy as all shit in there, making the idea of pushing a loaded 16 foot raft downstream a real chore. But it also means you see crazy things like sand dunes and glaciers in the same mile.










Eventually, we came across Abercrombie Rapid and Miles Lake. We managed to see four shy grizzlies and some seals going to work on the salmon fishing. The lake itself is surrounded by Miles Glacier to the East and the Childs Glacier to the West. We camped among some Nevada type red rocks left behind by the receding glacier. Just on the other side of the lake is the Million Dollar Bridge. Originally when the railroad came up the valley, every bridge was constructed from wood and destroyed by the ice breakup and rebuilt every year, but they decided the crossing between the two glaciers was worth making permanent.

Red Rocks








I guided a good chunk of the trip with this guy Scott. Check the beard.


After some rain, thunder and lightning, we made it to Cordova. We stuck around for a day, drank some beers and checked out the fishing boats. A ferry ride across to the water to Valdez and we were heading home.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:25 PM   #123
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Never a dull moment in the town I'm working in...
http://www.adn.com/article/20140824/...owed-lodge-gun
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:10 PM   #124
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It's getting cold, the rivers are dropping and the lights are starting to come out. Last week we ran our first scout trip of the Tana River. Video at the bottom...







TanaTrip from Hunter Petersen on Vimeo.

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Old 08-30-2014, 05:20 AM   #125
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I had to read this thread the moment I spotted the title:
A Fool's Progress.

How could I not when it carried the title of one of my favorite novels by one of my favorite author's, Edward Abbey.

I wonder how many caught that.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:15 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OGOBRacing View Post
I had to read this thread the moment I spotted the title:
A Fool's Progress.

How could I not when it carried the title of one of my favorite novels by one of my favorite author's, Edward Abbey.

I wonder how many caught that.
One of my favorite reads too... probably because the theme of wandering around not sure where you're getting to in life seems relatable?

I also spent a lot of time in Utah and the southwest and was lucky enough to spend some time on the river with who I'm pretty sure is the actual Seldom Seen Smith. Had to find a suitable title somehow
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:34 PM   #127
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On the road again... for a bit at least. Currently in Whitehorse getting rained a nice little bit, looking at another 3-4 days to get down to Seattle. Not really taking the scenic route or my time as it's starting to get a little cold up here. I would have taken the ferry down, but apparently they seem to think bikes take the same space as cars and wanted $820 for the ticket south. Yeah... no. Ride on. Though maybe I should shut the hell up, I passed some more pedalnecks today touring near the AK/YT border. Admirable.

Anyway, some photos from the ride out and the end of the season in McCarthy...

Right at the end of the season I got pretty hooked on this interesting sport called pack rafting. They're kind of like 7lb inflatable kayaks that you can run a good deal of whitewater with but can still roll up in your pack for a long haul. They're pretty popular in AK because the whole place has endless possibilities for awesome rivers that are only accessible by a long, long hike in. I bought a pack raft a few weeks ago in Anchorage and gave it a try on our local McCarthy Creek run with a coworker. To start, you bushwhack up and over Bonanza ridge, about 3k gain, and down a rock glacier on the other side. From there, you put in for a 10 mile run that drops about 1100 feet of class 3/4 creek back to town.

The view back to town heading up the ridge. Kennecott/ McCarthy below, the Chugach range in the distance.


Blueberries for sustenance on the way up


National Creek Pass


Descending the rock glacier on the other side, McCarthy Creek visible in the distance




Camped out for the night. Paddles and a rainfly were a decent shelter.


After blowing up the boats and draining a quick beer for courage, I turned around to see this guy sneaking his away across the creek about 20 yard upstream of us.


Lot's of color along the creek heading down




More color on the way out of town and along McCarthy Road




After cranking up to Tok cutoff and across the border, I found my old campsite from May next to a random lake in the Yukon.

in May...


And now...


Onward. South.
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Old 09-22-2014, 09:24 AM   #128
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Beautiful photos H-D. Safe travels. Looking forward to more updates.

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To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:01 PM   #129
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Awesome pics, Hunter
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