So finally, after 2 years of thinking about it and planning it and molding our lives around it, we arrived at our dream-now-a-reality. Thirty days in the Alaskan wilderness.
We were dropped off on Lake Telaquana in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. We stayed the first night in an abandoned cabin (free to use and first-come-first-served via the National Park) – it was in a good location for the pilot to land.
After staying in the cabin, the goal was to find a camp spot. Welp we had a pretty difficult time finding a spot for the small tent, let alone the tipi. According to the park volunteers that have lived on the lake for 20 years, the vegetation has increased A LOT since they moved here. It was difficult to bushwhack through – either thick, tall alders on top of knee-deep spongy ground or marsh land. There also wasn’t much in the way of coastline. It was either rocky or too narrow when we arrived. We found three places along the entire lake shoreline that could fit the tipi. And two of them were entirely washed away after a week-long rain storm raised the lake level to a 20 year high.
We rented an inflatable canoe from our pilot for $250 – super cheap for a 30 day rental compared to other companies. Or the alternative of trying to buy our own. We spent a lot of the first half of the trip searching for a good spot. This included packing up all of our stuff, loading it into the canoe, and then paddling or being swept along by the waves and wind. Our canoe didn’t have a keel for steering so we had the fun (or fright? the water was really cold and 400 ft deep) of spinning around like a top with a good gust of wind.
This is us camping at the head of the lake, which would later be entirely under water:
On our way out we could see our previous camp spot was underwater:
On the south side of the lake we found one really windy spot:
We didn’t stay here too many nights because it was windy and the bear fence didn’t work on the rocky ground.
We kept going west and finally found a great spot for the 2 week limit:
One morning we decided to go look for our next camp spot. We left our stuff inside the half-way working bear fence and canoed around for about an hour. When we were almost back to camp I saw a brown bear right next to the bear fence and whisper-screeched that information to Dan. We canoed a little further to land the boat and dammit if there wasn’t a second one too. Since they were of similar size I thought they were both cubs and the giant mom bear would be murderously loping right behind them. We had our bear spray ready and alerted them to our presence. I’ve only encountered black bear before and they always run away when you are that close. Well these guys looked at us for what felt like an eternity and then leisurely shuffled away, stopping every so often to turn and watch us. Once we were confident we weren’t going to be mauled to death, we took a blurry picture of their butts:
We fished a lot:
We went on a five day backpacking trip, which I will save for another post:
We spent time with the park volunteers whenever they visited us in their boat:
We watched sunsets occur at 12 AM:
We cooked a lot of biscuits and pancakes:
And beans and rice, sometimes with “processed cheese food” on tortillas. This was delicious:
We camped in the smaller tent for two nights to fish in a different area:
Our last few days were spent in the abandoned cabin. There were tons of blueberry bushes behind it! So we picked plenty of blueberries, which made for some delicious blueberry pancakes with blueberry jam:
On day 31 we were picked up by our pilot, who brought us BIG MACS AND FRIES!! We were so very excited by this:
Our park volunteer friends came to say good-bye and snap some photos to share: