Know anyone on this line? Get in touch!
Our next big scheme began taking shape not quite a year ago. On Malaspina Glacier, in November’s snow and rain, we brainstormed designs for packable, beach-capable carts and wagons while struggling down Malaspina’s beaches without them. We circled Alaska in our minds, looking for an idea. In the midst of all the gritty truths of snow and rain and bears and whining and wilderness diapering, we needed something grand enough to inspire us to look past them.
Expeditions are how we frame our lives. It seems like half the talk on any given expedition is spent dreaming up the next one. I feel naked without those plans—never quite comfortable until we schedule the next adventure.
800 miles at Preschooler Speed
When Katmai turns four and Lituya turns two—in the spring of 2013—we’re going to walk and packraft around Cook Inlet. On Google Earth, my thin white line traces 800 miles of coastline, from Dogfish Bay to Cape Douglas.
Expedition training: Katmai and Lituya clamber over eachother to pick lingonberries on the ridge above Seldovia
Back in 2001, when I was a new college graduate, I hiked 800 miles on my first big Alaska expedition, from the Drift River to Chignik. At the time, I was proud of that vast-seeming distance. This time (although he’ll ride in the packraft for sections), my four-year-old will be hiking it on his own two feet. We’ve planned for about 8 miles a day, figuring that he might walk 5 or 6 on a good beach, and the slack will be taken up by times that we all packraft. Like most plans, we expect it to change.
Cook Inlet—the Heart of Alaska
Why Cook Inlet? Cook Inlet is the heart of modern Alaska. It has Native villages and Russian villages, hippie towns and tourist traps and Alaska’s biggest city. Cook Inlet is our home. It’s home to oil rigs and natural gas plants, coal mine proposals, wind turbines and tidal power proposals, endangered whales and abundant bears, salmon and melting glaciers. It’s home to most of Alaska’s population, and hundreds of miles of nearly unpeopled wilderness.
The future of Malaspina Glacier is clear. The future of Cook Inlet is muddier and more conflicted, and more important. It’s a place where all the diverse issues of Alaska’s future collide with the diversity of all its people—where we can ask them what they think.
Help us Out!
Do you live on Cook Inlet? Do you know someone who does? Would you be willing to host a family of grubby hikers sometime between March and July, 2013?
We’re hoping to visit people along the way, to hang out and to learn what you think about the future of Alaska. On the practical front, we also need places we can get resupply boxes to on the west side of Cook Inlet. Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org), FB, or reply to this post if you can help us out, or if you know anyone you think we should get in touch with.