Into the Wild

The Great Divide

For years I have been contemplating a really long bicycle tour.

holsteemanifesto

Growing up my first overnight trips away from home were bicycle tours with friends, involving camping or staying in youth hostels. I have great memories of those days. Later in life, I was grinding on mountain bike trails on short day trips to stay in shape. Now, I feel, the time has come to combine both experiences.

What better place, than to try the Great Divide. On paper this trail sounds epic. 2750 miles, climbing 5 times the height of Mt. Everest, that’s a lot. But, those are just numbers. Along those many miles, there is an amazing amount of wild and remote back country to take in. For most of us this will be a once in a lifetime experience.

So here I am. Old, overweight and out of shape. The bike ride will change all of that. That’s my hope.

If you want to follow that adventure you can do so at bikeeatsleepblog.wordpress.com.

Happy trails.

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Into the Wild

The First Man to Walk the Iditarod Trail

This is a great story by the man, who walked the Iditarod first. Oh, there are a few hardy souls these days that walk parts of the Iditarod  to McGrath, even fewer go on all the way to Nome. This year’s Invitational was especially challenging with temps around -40, Fahrenheit or Celsius, your pick.

Last Frontier Magazine

Denis between Iditarod mushers Joe Runyan and Doug Swingley.

Denis Douglas made it to the Yukon River (Ruby) two days before Iditarod front runners, Joe Runyan and Doug Swingley.

Booty Road – The First to Walk the Iditarod Trail

by Denis Douglas


The sun got hotter as I walked, and sweat rolled down my back soaking my shirt… No. I must be hallucinating again. Actually it’s about 40 below zero and I’m trudging down the Yukon River with a twenty-mile-an-hour wind blowing in my face. Such was my first walk from Knik to Nome.

Let me back up a little here. Two years earlier I was asked by a hunter to fly from Anchorage into the Farewell area just on the far side of Rainy Pass. The man was from Texas and had drawn a permit for a buffalo during the spring hunt. He shot a cow at about twenty yards and soon we had the animal field dressed…

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Into the Wild

Wild harmonies

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Hélėne Grimbaud was labeled an uncontrollable, unmanageable and unpredictable child. Good for her. I think, some of these traits helped her to succeed as a classical pianist later in life. “Wild Harmonies” is an account of her upbringing in France, concerts all over the world, and her move to the US. In Florida of all places she would have her first encounter with a wolf that changed her life. Her life and work between wolves and music make this unconventional biography a worthwhile read. I can only imagine what a pleasure it must be to read her book in French. The English translation is stellar.

Seeing a wolf in the wild is an unforgettable experience. They are magnificent animals. Native American tribes recognized the wolf for its extreme devotion to its family, and  drew parallels between the society of a wolf pack  and that of a tribe. Also, the wolf’s superior and cooperative hunting skills made it the envy of many tribes. Unfortunately, the rest of the world attached an undeserved stigma to the wolf. It has been severely diminished in many of his previous hunting grounds in the Northern hemisphere. Russia and Canada have the largest populations of the Gray Wolf.

“The caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf who keeps the caribou strong.”

Inuit proverb

 

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A long winter with a short skiing season…

That’s how winter 2015/16 in SE Alaska goes down in my books. First, a lot of rain in October and November, not the desirable white fluffy stuff. Then unsettled weather in December and January, short days, not enough to venture too far off the road. February and March were good to us. Not the usual weather pattern, though. And then came spring, one month early.

I have learned something about back country skiing in the Coastal Mountains: So many runs, not enough time.

Can’t wait to explore more next winter, which is going to be epic!

Into the Wild

A season in review

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Into the Wild, One Man's Paradise

Safe

Masatoshi Kuriaki just spent 75 days alone in the Alaska Range attempting for the 9th time to solo climb Mt. Hunter in winter.

His accomplishments: First winter solo of Mt. Foraker  in 2007. Winter solo of Denali in 1998. Walked from Anchorage to Prudhoe Bay 1998.

He lives in Japan with his family and has spent about two years of his life alone in Alaska in the winter time.

This year unfavorable snow conditions forced Masatoshi to activate his emergency beacon after 75 days on the mountain. Four feet of snow and warm temperatures created extreme avalanche danger, forcing him to stay put at 8000 feet. Before running out of food and fuel, or attempting to descend in extreme conditions he decided to request a rescue, the first time in his many years of mountaineering. On April 3, two days after the rescue call, Masatoshi was picked of the West Ridge of Mt. Hunter by Alaska Air National Guard helicopter pilot Andy Hermansky and short-hauled to base camp.

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St. Elias Mountains

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