| We've wrapped up this years inaugural Alaska Cruiser Trek. This was the first time we attempted to show our back country to visitors from outside. From where we stand, it came off pretty well. Maybe not perfectly, as there were a few (not completely unanticipated) growing pains, but pretty darn well. From the feedback we have received from all of our participants, it seems that everyone had a great time. That was the goal when all is said and done. We learned a bit about what people expect when they come up to the Greatland and about how to prepare them for what they will find once they get here. These points will be applied to making sure that our future offerings are as adventurous as we can make them while still being safe and (relatively) predictable).
For our first event, in true Alaskan style, we had a variety of trails, challenges, and weather. Our first trail, and mutually agreed by many of the participants as the highlight of the event, was some wanderings in the Eureka Highlands, which resulted in a 100 mile pure off road loop out into the bush of Alaska. This trail took us into an expansive subalpine tundra landscape in true expedition style. We were able to experience some of the unique beauty of Alaska, remoteness that most in the '48 will never be exposed to, abandoned gold mines, and even some of Alaska's wildlife...we had Bald Eagles and caribou wander near camp. And we managed to tax our vehicles and driving abilities a bit as well. When given the option, our partricipants were eager to even do a little "exploring" and made a challenging connection between trails that the Alaska Cruiser Crew had never attempted before. This outing was three long days on the trail which included multiple river crossings, travel over trails that are normally used only by dedicated tundra buggies and ATVs, a bit of scouting, a bit of breakage, and of course the infamous tundra mud pits.
Other trails included Ruby Lake, which we made as a base camp for three days, Permanente Road trail, Young Creek Trail (a.k.a. The Luge), and Knik Glacier Trail. Each of the trails presented different challenges...everything from a little trail building on the Permanente Road trail to clear a landslide, to the infamous beaver flooded sections of the Knik Glacier Trail. The Ruby Lake and Young Creek trails presented their own unexpected challenges due to some rain...it only takes a little rain to turn Alaskan dirt into a full blown luge run (Thanks, Bruce, for coining that one!)
We had as few as 7 vehicles on the trails and as many as 14 at any given time. We had plenty of time for campfire socializing and our share of trail breakage as well. But when you push this many rigs over wilderness trails for a week, that is to be expected. Everything was repaired (or turned right side up...) in a timely maner, and everyone continued along the way with no casualties. Of course we ended the event with a small raffle (Our sincere thanks to our sponsers who donated items for our raffle even though we were a VERY small affair with no history behind us). This was followed up by a few repairs and maintenance at Mark's shop the following day. Some of our visitors headed south immediately while others wandered the Alaskan road system and the Yukon for a couple of weeks after they left us.
From the Alaska Cruiser Crew to everyone that participated, WE HAD A BLAST and are so happy that you were able to come up and "rally the dog shit out of it" with us. Right now we are considering a never before attempted 200 mile + expedition across true wilderness for our next offering. Into the bush at the beginning of the event, and out at the end. No campgrounds, no roads and no resupply that isn't air dropped. Just true back country travel and pure wilderness exploration.
Until then, from Gina, Mark, Jack, John, and Justin, thanks again, It could not have been a success without the participation of a great bunch of people. And we certainly had that.