Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Trip

General Discussion

Re: Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Trip

Postby svenvanderwal » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:57 am

Thanks for the detailed information of your trip.

We (5 adults) are planning a trip to the Gates of the Arctic. We are planning to hike and raft for 10 days without a guide. We would like to e-mail/skype with someone with a lot of experience to ask some questions about planning the trip. Questions about:

- which measures did you take?
- especially sleeping at night - did you take turns?]
- gun - did you take a gun with you?

- if you end up in the water while rafting

- how many kilometers a day is possible to walk?

Would be great if your can help us!
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:39 am

Re: Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve Trip

Postby Mocs123 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:01 pm

We had a group of 4 and we had 2 canisters of bear spray for bear protection. While there are Grizzlies in Brooks Range, there aren't near as high of densities as there are further south in Alaska - there just simply isn't enough food - so bears aren't as much of a problem.

We didn't do anything special at night, other than the obvious - we ate 100 yards (91.4m) away from camp and kept all of our food and other odorous items in a bear canister at least 100 yards away from camp.

We did not take a gun. In my research, not only does it take a large caliber weapon (44 mag or better) but you have such a small kill zone on a bear that they are less effective at close ranges than bear spray. Most bear "charges" are false charges and the bear will stop short - but not so if you were to wound it. To be honest with you as someone that has been false charged by a bear (a black bear in North Carolina) it was all so fast, that it wouldn't have mattered if I had a gun or bear spray - I couldn't have gotten it out and/or aimed in time - even if it was on my hipbelt. You are better off just avoiding an altercation with a bear - and they generally don't want anything to do with you all either.

We did see lots of wolf and moose tracks, and some bear tracks, generally around the river - but I wouldn't worry too much about them.

We didn't have anyone take a swim while pack rafting, but we didn't raft anything difficult, so you definitely could on certain rivers.

The terrain was more difficult than I thought it would be. The tundra is full of tussocks and muskeg and of course the brush and areas of talus. I wouldn't plan on doing more than 10 miles (16 kilometers) a day. I would normally do 20 miles (32kM)a day on trails, and 15 miles (24kM)per day off trail in places like Wind River Range and the High Sierra. Of course it all depends on where you are going and what types of terrain you will be going on.

Where are you flying into the park from?
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