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Prepared for Alaska!? Are you prepared? How have you hedged your bets for survival in Alaska? All threads related to being ready for the worst Alaska has to dish out belong in this forum.

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Old 12-08-2013, 09:13 AM   #1
jeepnawillys
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Default Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

Iam new here and just started posting. This seams like the best site to ask my questions about Alaska. Plan to take this summer (2014) and make a trip I have dreamed of. Take the jeep and do my impression of a old cowboy drifter.
Iam in southern california, so looks like I'll leave up end or april and make the Canada boarder early may. depending on weather if i take the alcan or one of the other routes up and back.
want to head back to the lower 48 before september and the bad weather.
my whole state is the goal, its our last frontier right?
I hear so many mixed reviews from people i have meet and read about/talked to online. about the parks, camping, jeeping, blm, bears, mosse and all else Alaskan.
Makes me want to see it all myself.

so my biggest queston is about wheeling. now you dont have the rock gardens like we do i dont think. seams to be mountain type, twisting in the trees stuff. but you do have bogs and lots of mud. no bogs here and not alot of mud the jeep iam bringing shines in tight stuff but lacks in mud.
M38-A1 v-6 auto trans has a locker in front and just got the rear ordered. towing a 1/4 trailer that ill build a small camp rig on.
I can tow 2/3 times what i can carrie in the jeep over the ruffest socal trails. never had this lil 81" jeep out to the hammers. wont do that to it.

any trail a socal rig thats not a trailer queen can do, i can get my jeep and trailer over.
but it seams you guys realy like huge tires. is that for just mud bogging or are the trails so rutted you need the tall for normal travel? my 33"s do me great with the short and narrow of this jeep.


Iam not going to be the wheeling king of Alaska. iam not to proud to take the bypass around the ruffest part. going to avoid long/ deep mud. just want to be able to get around the back country.
that leads to my second qusetion. there is not much posted about trails and seams you all like to keep that a secret. i understand that. when i was younger i used to be alot more lose with my hidden trails. as i grew i have learnd best wheeling alone if you dont want the place to get out of hand.
what ever i cant find out before hand ill learn there. i have a bad itch to turn down unknown roads. curiosity killed the cat right?
would like to understand all i can so i can explore respectfully and not **** off some minner or land owner. on my last trip with a jeep was a year on the hawaiian islands, having fishing poles visible was the locals "pass".
the jeep has always been built with the idea of a great "escape". The time is now to prove it.
thanks for any help, tips hints and ideas.
yes i have been told iam crazy taking a open jeep to Alaska but the way I see it, people have made it hundreds of years before me with out a modern tool like the 4 wheel drive and now i have motels and dinners and ups for parts for when things go bad if i need them. life is to be lived!

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Old 12-08-2013, 09:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

I guess what I would say to that is that it sounds like great fun if you put together atleast a rough route of where you want to go more people will be able to tell you about the terrain you may encounter alaska is a big place and the trails very greatly but I am sure with some planning you would have a very enjoyable trip in your rig.
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Old 12-08-2013, 01:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

not shure of the route yet. the comming months will tell more on that. looking for any trail ideas and local trail practices. maybe make a club run or your meet and great would be fun.
I have some family in anchorage so that will be a stop.
would lile to see as much as i can within reason. is prudhoe and the brooks better early in my trip or should i head south first? whats you ideas or input?
iam pretty handy so if anyone has a cabin that needs painting or what ever. would be kool to share my help to meet some new people and share a campfire.

besides my experience with offroading and the outdoors. i have not much to go on about wheeling alaska beside what i can find online and had a chance to meet and talk with a friend of a friend that has been up there on a dual sport motorcycle a few times with very light off road.
pm me if you would like my email or phone number. i can under stand not wanting stuff online.


when in rome.....
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

You'll be fine with 33's and a winch. I'd try to tag along with locals for the more difficult runs.
If your coming up in may, you'll hit the end of breakup in alot of parts of the state. It snowed in Anchorage mid-may this year. Once you get here you'll have a better idea of what the spring is like and if the Haul Road is worth trying. You have to decide if you want to experience it with or without mosquitoes.
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

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You have to decide if you want to experience it with or without mosquitoes.
LoL
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

make sure you keep track of when the Meet and Greet in June, usually on fathers day weekend. you'll meet a lot of people and learn where some trails are. you'll be able to share the camping experience as well.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

got a 8k warn under the front.
you can see alaska without mosquitoes? how is that done? web cam??
any random spots to check out?
i realy want to see some tundra and catch some wild flowers. but seams like most of the off the path travel iam looking for is in the south and interior. the drive out to McCarthy looks fun or steese hwy because they are one way and probably less people. what are the "tractor trails" i see on maps? i take it the "winter trails" can only be passable then because of bogs and rivers?

thanks again for the help
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

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Originally Posted by jeepnawillys View Post
got a 8k warn under the front.
you can see alaska without mosquitoes? how is that done? web cam??
any random spots to check out?
i realy want to see some tundra and catch some wild flowers. but seams like most of the off the path travel iam looking for is in the south and interior. the drive out to McCarthy looks fun or steese hwy because they are one way and probably less people. what are the "tractor trails" i see on maps? i take it the "winter trails" can only be passable then because of bogs and rivers?

thanks again for the help
Mid-September thru Mid-May.
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

Jeepnawillys,
For trail info in South Central I'd PM Snowbear, for the Fairbanks area PM Kodiak Dodge or AK Petey.
Bugs, mud, and floods in summer, ice/snow, better access to some trails in winter. Meet and Greet is a great place to meet people and do a few trail runs, It will be posted on this site when and where.
We have a great bunch of people here and you'll find many people ready to run a trail with you. Good Luck!
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasillashack View Post
Jeepnawillys,
For trail info in South Central I'd PM Snowbear, for the Fairbanks area PM Kodiak Dodge or AK Petey.
Bugs, mud, and floods in summer, ice/snow, better access to some trails in winter. Meet and Greet is a great place to meet people and do a few trail runs, It will be posted on this site when and where.
We have a great bunch of people here and you'll find many people ready to run a trail with you. Good Luck!
excellent advice.

Welcome Jeepnawillys!
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:01 AM   #11
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

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Mid-September thru Mid-May.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:16 AM   #12
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

Take the 'Top of the World' Highway on the way in or out, it wasn't open until June 1st last year.



Check out Dawson, Chicken and Eagle. Several hundred miles of dirt roads, although they were doing a bunch of work between the border and the Eagle cutoff last spring.

Steese to Circle is cool. (mostly dirt)

Go to McCarthy and check out Kennicott. (dirt road)





Drive the Denali Highway. (dirt)

Go to Valdez and enjoy the drive through Thompson Pass.

Go to the Kenai Peninsula and check out Seward and Homer.

That should be a good start for you, theres tons of side roads all along the way.
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

wow great, now I gave some homework/ research to do. want to stay on the dirt as much as i can. nothing hard core. i will be the only rig and by myself, the trips about living life not a suicide run. but would gladly take trip on the more rugged trails in a group. this trip will be taken slow.
even if i keep heading north when i hit your state, not shure i would hit the gate before june first. how is the access restricted? never heard of anyone online that wanted to go past the point have a problem. just that you need a tour bus ride to see the arctic sea. even read of a lady taking a kia car all the way up. i found some numbers to call but wanted to have a idea more of when i might go.
bugs iam shure i will hate but thats ok, mud hope i can see and avoid but floods in the backcountry worrie me. not alot of info i can find. iam used to being aware of flash flood here in the desert. i assume its from melt but does it cause a flash flood or do the creeks and rivers flow more as the day goes on because the sun melts? and just flash flood if a natural dam or levee breaks? thanks again all

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Old 12-09-2013, 06:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

The "Top of the World Highway" isn't "restricted" as much as it's simply closed seasonally. The Dalton Highway, to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean, was actually restricted until the mid-late '90s, when the State opened it up to public traffic. (Unless something has changed since 1998), once you reach Deadhorse, you will not be able to drive further, so don't expect to drive your Jeep to actually put your tires in the ocean. That's where you'll need to get onto one of the commercial tour buses. Also, keep in mind that Deadhorse is a contractor camp rather than a "town" of any kind. The lodging will consist of whatever contractor camp is currently offering rooms to the public, and whomever took over the tour operation from NANA (I'd invite the guys currently working on the Slope to chime in for details). At least when I was up there regularly, the public could buy gas, and there was a NAPA.

Be prepared for bugs.

This isn't the desert southwest, so we don't really have flash-floods. Depending on the time of year, daily temperature fluctuations, and precipitation, you can have significant changes from morning to evening (particularly in glacial streams), but still not what you probably think about as a "flash flood." (I suppose we do have forms of glacial-related flash-floods with glacial lake outbursts and jökulhlaups, but they are so uncommon that they aren't worth mentioning.)

We have some mud here. It's almost impossible to avoid. (Please don't braid trails.) Having a winch is good.
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

^^ well said.

Not really flash floods, more like seasonal flooding. Not really an issue unless you cross a river and it swells before you return. (Into the Wild?) I was unable to drive the Cassiar Highway last spring because snow-melt induced flooding washed a bridge out. Eagle was flooded a couple years ago due to an ice jam on the Yukon during breakup. For the most part these are isolated incidents. Arriving in June you'll miss most of the drama anyways.
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:18 AM   #16
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

I have lived here my whole life and I have yet to really explore my state. not enough money and no rig to take me. eventually I'll get around to it.

you mentioned " open jeep" does that mean no roof? If I was you I would consider getting a roof, when it rains its usually around 50-60 degrees. it would not be that pleasant.

recovery gear, lots of it. a winch is good but you may find locations where there is nothing to winch to. a land anchor is a good idea. also a good bear gun should be on your list if you plan on being out in the sticks by yourself.

And last but not least spend a couple hours looking through the trip report section, just about every trail/terrain is in there.
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:13 AM   #17
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

awsome thanks for the response i have no need to get my jeep into the arctic ocean. spend a nite or two in dead horse or the area and back down. its more the tundra i want to see. but if iam going that far the bragging rights of seeing the ocean its self would be neat. yeah i understand all i can get is gas in deadhorse. unless there is a major problem i should be boondock most of the trip.

i understand that anything could happen in the wild. but in the suthwest the land is so dry the water just beads up and shots off the land. iam more worried about crossing and the rive change so much
that i cant cross back even in the early morning. i dont mess around in water and being trained as rescue diver i know water kills. down here iam the biggest wuss about crossing moving water over my hubs. so is that how the dude died? crossed a river and could not get back and starved? hmm need to get the book. i dont watch much tv.
ill cross mud that looks crossable but will watch you guys in the jims creek type of stuff. iam taking the jeep as a means to explore, not to test my ego. think its a harder test to spend my time offroad and not get myself in trouble.

iam pretty good about going foward and not getting stuck and if i do its not much of a hang up. down here a semi float axle shaft with the studs knocked out and a point cut on the end works great as a winch steak. how do you think that will do up there. only once yhat did not hold for me. was lucky to find a log a could barrie and not have to barrie my spare.

yes i do believe in treading lightly. lockers help so much with that. if iam not feeling good about whats ahead i can jackknife the trailer and be turned around on any trail a full size will fit.
kinda like when i went to maui. the locals did not want anyone else on the island. just told them its a long vacation and i will be gone. well being helpful like i am and a capable jeep i earned alot of trust so before long i was jeeping down spots to take locals surfing and freediving. being a white boy i would have been shot and throw in a hole with my jeep. so knowing locals pays off ten fold. ever hear of the hand dug tunnels 1200 foot under maui down to the water table? longest elevator ride ever. stuff like that i will
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:13 AM   #18
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

awsome thanks for the response i have no need to get my jeep into the arctic ocean. spend a nite or two in dead horse or the area and back down. its more the tundra i want to see. but if iam going that far the bragging rights of seeing the ocean its self would be neat. yeah i understand all i can get is gas in deadhorse. unless there is a major problem i should be boondock most of the trip.

i understand that anything could happen in the wild. but in the suthwest the land is so dry the water just beads up and shots off the land. iam more worried about crossing and the rive change so much
that i cant cross back even in the early morning. i dont mess around in water and being trained as rescue diver i know water kills. down here iam the biggest wuss about crossing moving water over my hubs. so is that how the dude died? crossed a river and could not get back and starved? hmm need to get the book. i dont watch much tv.
ill cross mud that looks crossable but will watch you guys in the jims creek type of stuff. iam taking the jeep as a means to explore, not to test my ego. think its a harder test to spend my time offroad and not get myself in trouble.

iam pretty good about going foward and not getting stuck and if i do its not much of a hang up. down here a semi float axle shaft with the studs knocked out and a point cut on the end works great as a winch steak. how do you think that will do up there. only once yhat did not hold for me. was lucky to find a log a could barrie and not have to barrie my spare.

yes i do believe in treading lightly. lockers help so much with that. if iam not feeling good about whats ahead i can jackknife the trailer and be turned around on any trail a full size will fit.
kinda like when i went to maui. the locals did not want anyone else on the island. just told them its a long vacation and i will be gone. well being helpful like i am and a capable jeep i earned alot of trust so before long i was jeeping down spots to take locals surfing and freediving. being a white boy i would have been shot and throw in a hole with my jeep. so knowing locals pays off ten fold. ever hear of the hand dug tunnels 1200 foot under maui down to the water table? longest elevator ride ever. stuff like that i will
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:34 AM   #19
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

only show the video of and wont say how we got access just that a high ranking local though it would make a nice gift as i left there island.
and yes a open jeep. if its only 50/60 i can go all day in that. when it gets lower will head for my trailer. do you get rain for days at a time of more like day or two. thinking of taking a dvd player just incase im stuck inside for a few days.
iam looking into some sort of gun. iam small about 5'7" and 140lbs so what ever i chose i need to have good control over. my ranch .357 rifle and revolver are well used. but both are a joke up there but i have only shot 00 out of my 12g and never a slug. crossing though canada makes gun choice a problem. i hope i never need to use the gun and hope i have done everthing to save the bears and my life before it comes to that. down here ther problems are of the two legged kind and i wont mind freeing the world of a pos theft.
any ideas on something worth having for a small guy?
yes i have been reading the trip reports and as i originally hoped there going to be more good wheeling then i could do in ten summers. now its more about leaning conditions and about any kool sites. iam simple a indain grind stone makes my day down here. thanks again
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:36 AM   #20
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

You can check out the Fairbanks area on Arctic offroad.com.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:16 AM   #21
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

only show the video of and wont say how we got access just that a high ranking local though it would make a nice gift as i left there island.
and yes a open jeep. if its only 50/60 i can go all day in that. when it gets lower will head for my trailer. do you get rain for days at a time of more like day or two. thinking of taking a dvd player just incase im stuck inside for a few days.
iam looking into some sort of gun. iam small about 5'7" and 140lbs so what ever i chose i need to have good control over. my ranch .357 rifle and revolver are well used. but both are a joke up there but i have only shot 00 out of my 12g and never a slug. crossing though canada makes gun choice a problem. i hope i never need to use the gun and hope i have done everthing to save the bears and my life before it comes to that. down here ther problems are of the two legged kind and i wont mind freeing the world of a pos theft.
any ideas on something worth having for a small guy?
yes i have been reading the trip reports and as i originally hoped there going to be more good wheeling then i could do in ten summers. now its more about leaning conditions and about any kool sites. iam simple a indain grind stone makes my day down here. thanks again
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:24 AM   #22
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

she's old.. older then Alaska has been a state so she dont flex much but she loves to go foward. sorry about the double post. dont know how i did that
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:08 AM   #23
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

It won't rain to bad before mid-summer. The interior can get some pretty impressive thunderstorms.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:43 AM   #24
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

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iam more worried about crossing and the rive change so much
that i cant cross back even in the early morning. i dont mess around in water and being trained as rescue diver i know water kills. down here iam the biggest wuss about crossing moving water over my hubs.
Then you're going to have problems. Even some of our simplest trails have water crossings that can/will be over your hubs.

Quote:
so is that how the dude died? crossed a river and could not get back and starved? hmm need to get the book. i dont watch much tv.
No, being an idiot killed him. He went in during the spring when the water was low, and then tried to come back out in the fall when the water was high. He hadn't looked at a map to find the tram that was just downstream from him, had no idea how to take care of game in the field, and then either ate a poison berry or simply starved to death.

However, other tourists have now been killed or nearly killed in that area trying to duplicate his trip.

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down here a semi float axle shaft with the studs knocked out and a point cut on the end works great as a winch steak. how do you think that will do up there. only once yhat did not hold for me. was lucky to find a log a could barrie and not have to barrie my spare.
I don't think it'll work too well, but it might be worth experimenting with. In the alpine areas, our soils are rocky when they aren't bogs, so I think you'd have difficulty hammering it down. Or you'll find yourself going down into a vegetative mat 4' thick that simply isn't going to hold a single post. Pull-Pals sink DEEP here, but they work. Also, no trees in alpine/tundra.

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yes a open jeep. if its only 50/60 i can go all day in that. when it gets lower will head for my trailer. do you get rain for days at a time of more like day or two. thinking of taking a dvd player just incase im stuck inside for a few days.
Depends on where in the state you are. It can snow almost any time of the year. Seriously, I've been in Prudhoe Bay with snow falling on the Fourth of July. You won't see anything colder than 30 degrees in the summer, but you should have gear with you to be comfortable in 35-40 degrees. In southcentral, it can be overcast and drizzly for a couple weeks at a time. It won't necessarily be constant rain; think of it more like Seattle. As Ken said, the interior can get thunderstorms, but those aren't as common in southcentral.


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iam looking into some sort of gun. iam small about 5'7" and 140lbs so what ever i chose i need to have good control over. my ranch .357 rifle and revolver are well used. but both are a joke up there but i have only shot 00 out of my 12g and never a slug. crossing though canada makes gun choice a problem. i hope i never need to use the gun and hope i have done everthing to save the bears and my life before it comes to that. down here ther problems are of the two legged kind and i wont mind freeing the world of a pos theft.
any ideas on something worth having for a small guy?
You can't bring any handguns or any semi-auto long-guns through Canada. Just get a shotgun with bear slugs.

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yes i have been reading the trip reports and as i originally hoped there going to be more good wheeling then i could do in ten summers. now its more about leaning conditions and about any kool sites. iam simple a indain grind stone makes my day down here. thanks again
Driving up to tour around "expedition style" is a very different experience than a wheelin' trip. It's very easy for a casual trip to suddenly turn into a survival situation; Alaska can be unforgiving even for those of us who have spent our lives here and understand how things work. Google "Metal Creek TJ" and watch the video.

I think your focusing on the dirt highways (Top of the World, Dalton, McCarthy, Denali) with their occasional short forays (a mile or two) on side-tracks is the smarter tactic than coming up and trying to do any serious wheelin'. Otherwise, I could easily see you stranded by yourself 20 miles from nowhere on the side of a hill with a busted axle or an overturned Jeep when suddenly a wet downpour turns into sleet.

You also need to know that our trails don't tend to be loops; ie. you're not going to start in one town, take a 4x4 path, and end up on a road or in another town (like you do on the Rubicon Trail). Most of the 4x4 trails will be in and out on the same path.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:48 PM   #25
kbeefy
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Default Re: Alaska compared to the lower 48, wheeling

Good advice. I think you'll be pretty pleased with the above stated routes and cruising some of the mining/logging trails from there. Eureka, Hatchers Pass, Petersville, Kings River all have some really neat areas that aren't to technical and have enough traffic to keep a minor breakdown from becoming dangerous.

4th of July in Healy, 2003-ish. It was 80 degrees the day before.

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