This trip is different than any other hike I’ve done in a few ways- we’ll be going a month at a time between towns (although we’ll have food resupplies dropped by bush plane so will only be carrying about a week’s worth of food for each stretch), the mosquitoes will be consistently horrendous, there will be no cell reception ever (excepting the week off we’ll take halfway through), grizzly bears are a constant, and we’ll be floating the last three hundred miles in inflatable canoes. Taking all that into consideration, here’s what I’m doing different for the Brooks Range, gear and food wise:
I’ll be carrying one of these bad boys for the entire trip. The canister will bring my base weight up a few pounds, but give me a great deal of peace of mind. And I’ll have a cool seat!
Buck told me that bearspray works. I believe Buck. I will probably still shit myself when I get bluff charged by a grizzly.
We’ll be able to send and receive texts via this device, which is cool, as we’ll need to communicate with the bush plane company about our drops. It’s also a personal locator beacon that works above the arctic circle. We’ll have second PLB as well.
Suntactics S5 Solar Charger
I don’t usually carry a solar charger, but we’ll have 24 hours of sunlight (initially) (when it’s clear) and this will allow me to recharge my anker battery pack/phone/steripen/kindle and I can do it all… while I’m sleeping? Lol
Per usual, blogging will eat up that sweet sweet 45 minutes between when I finish my dinner and when I must be asleep in my sleeping bag in order to wake up the next morning and do it all again. But… what if I have time to read as well?! I’m bringing a kindle just in case, because I will be nothing if not isolated on this trip, and somehow finding time to read heck of books sounds really really nice.
I love hiking in running shorts whenever possible, but since we’ll likely be walking in mosquito hell for the majority of this trip, I’ll be wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt every day, which is meh but will go a long way towards helping me maintain my sanity. I can sweat it up in my rain jacket as well on days when the mosquitoes are EXTRA bad. I’ll also have a head net. I don’t wear DEET, but my tolerance for mosquitoes is higher than anyone else I’ve ever hiked with (maybe because I grew up in Alaska?) so I think it’ll be chill, and the pants and long sleeves will be enough.
The zpacks duplex I carried on the Hayduke, shown below in the Brooks range during the week I spent there in 2016, will be my bomb-proof mosquito-free palace in which to retreat during the long bright arctic nights. I don’t NEED a two-person shelter for this trek but might as well be as cush as possible since we’re glamping with our delorme for texting and our kindles and our bearcan nightstands, right?
Gear for the Noatak River
I know nothing about boats, so I am extremely grateful to Buck and Bunny for their advice and expertise in this area. I would’ve been clueless without it. Here’s what we’re bringing for the Noatak:
THANK YOU to Aire for providing us with these SICK kayaks for our trip which are, according to Buck, the best of the best choice for this particular journey. They’ll be dropped via bushplane at the headwaters of the Noatak, approximately 700 miles into our trip. We’ll also be carrying Aire drybags, paddles, and thigh straps. I am so looking forward to using these!
We’ll be wearing these dry suits by Kokatat. They’ll keep us warm while we’re getting hella splashed on the Noatak all day. We’ll also be carrying these Kokatat PFDs. Much gratitude to Kokatat for making such great gear!
I’ll be carrying a stove in the Brooks range, although I haven’t decided yet between an alcohol stove or a small canister stove. The idea of going a month at a time without town food intimidates me greatly? Lol. I’ll be making my resupplies of my usual gluten-free menagerie of trail foods such as chips, bars, chocolate, chips, salami, granola, protein powder, chia seeds, black tea, more chips, emergenC, and jerky, as well as my dinners of rice noodles, olive oil, instant refried beans, dried veggies and taco seasoning. Fingers crossed that I won’t become really sick of all my favorite standbys…
Speaking of getting sick of things, one thing I really love about bars is that there are always new ones coming out that are slightly different than the bars that already exist, and this keeps things exciting. A new addition to my World of Bars this trip will be Greenbelly Meals, which are these giant calorie-dense bars in a ziploc pouch that taste like salty peanut butter rice crispie treats. I have a box of them in my closet and just writing this makes me want to eat them all RIGHT NOW. They are SO GOOD and I am going to eat them EVERY DAY. Thanks to Greenbelly for sending me these sickkkk bars to take to the Brooks range.