Today is the last day of my tenure here in Atlanta, GA. Tomorrow morning I venture north, and west, to Alaska. I’ll be working, as usual, as a backpacking guide in Alaska, running trips for my company, Expeditions Alaska. However, this year, come fall, I won’t be returning to Atlanta. I’ll be staying on in Alaska, and working on a project I’ve thought about for some time now. I want to put together a book on Wrangell St. Elias National Park. I have no idea how the project will turn out, or IF the project will come to fruition, but I know I really want to do this. Wrangell – St. Elias National Park has been good to me over the years. I saw my first ever grizzly bear in the park, I did my first ever glacier traverse in the park, and I always look forward to returning. My first ever trip in Wrangell St. Elias National Park was a 6 day solo hike down “the Goat Trail”, a route from Skolai Pass down Chittistone Valley, across the Chittistone River, to a landing strip at Glacier Creek. It was absolutely awesome. I’ve sinced done that hike many many times, and every time it’s simply amazing (even the 10 day trip last year where we were rained on incessantly, for all 10 days). This photo is of Chittistone Valley, just prior to the last of the goat trail sections, looking west, down the valley. It’s a view I treasure.
My plan, as it stands at the moment, is to spend as much as time as I can in the next 18 months or so in and around Wrangell St. Elias National Park, hiking, photographing, writing, exploring, learning, and enjoying the place, it’s features and characters that draw my interest. It’ll be my first full winter in Alaska, and, whilst a daunting thought, it’s also an exciting one. I’m sure I’ll learn an incredible amount of ‘stuff’ about the backcountry in Alaska in winter. Hopefully, it won’t be more than I can deal with, and send me running back to the Lower 48 with my tail between my legs, and crying.
At this point, I don’t really have a specific detailed idea of the book – well, I do, but it’s not set in stone. I’m open to ideas, suggestions, thoughts, comments, advice, etc. I’ll be talking with a few of my friends who have done books previously, as well as studying some of my favorite books a little more closely. Also, I’ll try to simply remain open to the place, and maybe learn from the place itself what direction it would like the project to take. I find when I do that, I usually end up with more interesting and meaningful experiences.
The next few weeks I will be travelling, and will try to update the blog as time permits, but I don’t know how often that will be. After that, it’ll probably be even less frequent that I’m able to post, as I’ll be weeks at a time in the backcountry. I will, however, update as I can.
Oh, another thing. My folks are coming over to the US from Australia this fall, once again, and I really am looking forward to showing them around Alaska a little, and in particular, showing them Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Even though they are both yet to post a single word on my blog, I do love them dearly. They’re pretty decent folks, sometimes. 🙂
That’s it for now. I gotta pack.