Blog Archive

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fairbanks to Paxson, Alaska (via the Denali Hwy)

On day three of our journey from Fairbanks we stopped for lunch just past the Denali Park entrance at the Creekside Inn, a beautiful little restaurant with a phenomenal backdrop of mountains. A server at the restaurant took an interest in our loaded bicycles. Leila (the server), approached us as Parker and I were taking a nap next to the creek. Leila then introduced us to her boyfriend the pastry chef. The two have ridden their bikes around the country and were able to immediately relate to our current lifestyle. After trading stories for about an hour, the two invited us back to their house which sits high above the banks of the Nenana River. After bathing in the brisk water we enjoyed an awesome dinner with Leila and Nick which was followed by desert and coffee back at the restaurant. Needless to say, we didn't arrive to our campsite on the Denali until about 1am. We split the Denali Hwy up into 3 short days of riding in order to kill some time before our Thursday rendezvous with Joe (Anchorage Jolio) and Chris at Tangle Lakes at MP 20.

Overall the Denali is a much rougher road than Dalton. Lots of washboard and loose gravel in the corners; however, the scenery and lack of traffic make up for the numb hands and ass. We spent the first real night on the Denali at Brushkana River Campground on the banks of the river. The river is packed with 6-8” grayling and we took a few hours to fish and explore the water. Excellent campsite just feet from the river. First night that we had difficulty consuming our monstrous dinner. Likely a result of the short day of riding. The highway is absolutely gorgeous and every pass and every bend produce awesome views of the surrounding mountains, lakes and rivers.
Nick from the Creekside Inn had mentioned that he was planning to meet us at Burshkana River Campground; however, when dinner rolled around and he was no where to be seen we figured he was not going to make it. It was an awesome surprise to see him stick his head in the rain flap of my tent around 9pm. It actually kind of scared the crap out of me. In the morning we parted ways when he headed back west towards Cantwell and we continued down the road towards Tangle Lakes.

We stopped at the Tangle River Inn where we picked up a six pack of Budweiser and sat in the sun on the porch until Joe showed up at around noon. When Joe stepped out of his truck he announced that Chris was only a few hours behind him. This was an awesome surprise because we weren't sure if Chris was going to be able to sneak away from his work long enough to relax and fish for a few days. We can't say enough about the generosity of these two guys.

Joe went ahead of us and starting setting up camp at his secret spot which he discovered by driving down the road until he found a flat spot then off-roading through an embankment of bushes and large rocks. By the time we showed up he had bratwursts cooking in the massive “bug palace” that he set up. We lounged around eating and drinking beers for the rest of the day before catching the evening hatch on Tangle River. That evening Joe served his seafood pasta which included 6 pounds of halibut, scallops, and shrimp. Joe's wife, Robin, cooked us about 10 pounds of the best cookies we have ever tasted of which we ate half of in the first night (Yes, we ate 5 pounds of cookies in one evening). The following nights included filet mignon and cuts of sheep shoulder from Chris's precious supply which he packs off the mountain on his own back every year during hunting season (As you can see we put a great deal of importance on our food and these guys brought nothing but the best).

On Saturday we hiked up to a lake at Landmark Gap where we fished and enjoyed some incredible scenery. Chris was sick as a dog but made the hike anyway and fished all day taking short naps in the bushes. We knew there were lake trout up there but it took us while to figure out how to fish this new terrain. Luckily, Parker went to the opposite side of the lake as Joe, Seth, and Chris because he it proved to be much better water. We both got into some very nice Lake Trout while Joe and Chris were sticking the rising grayling. We were also entertained for most of the day by a couple that was backpacking up the mountain that would stop and yell, “HEY BEAR” every 10 feet before advancing and repeating this tedious ritual. The best part about this was that the terrain was very flat with excellent visibility for miles in every direction. They covered a distance of about 1 mile over 4 hours. Better safe than sorry!!
Our 3 days at Tangle Lakes can be summarized by absolutely gorging ourselves on awesome food, catching hundreds of fish (probably an underestimation), traded some great stories, and taking a couple beautiful hikes.

Note: Out of respect to Sir Jolio, the names and locations of certain fishing spots were left out of this blog entry. Special thanks once again to Joe, Chris and Robin for feeding us and sending us off full of supplies for the road ahead.

New Lunch: Nutella, Peanut Butter, Strawberry Jelly, Almonds, sliced bananas, Craisens, chocolate chips, mashed brownies and honey...all wrapped in a tortilla or two tortillas depending on the aggressiveness of the serving.

Total Snickers Bars Consumed: 42
We climbed 41,010 vertical feet on the Dalton Highway.

Due to our current connection speed at a remote Lodge on the Tok Cut Off Hwy we are unable upload our photos to Flickr. We should have a new set up in the next few days. We have some great shots worth checking out. The scenery around these parts is AMAZING.


Lacy Kemp said...

Seth- I love reading all about your adventures. I could definitely eat 5 pounds of cookies in one night too.
Keep up the great writing!

Cob said...

Brothers! Made my day reading that one! I want to eat that taco, but I would go with the classic corn tortilla, rather than the flour. Damn gluten. Keep on doin' what you do. Sendin' good vibes.

Jenny4sue said...

Man ~ that does sound like some good eats! GO FORREST! .. had to say it :) that is way cool treckin' away .. be safe braddahs .. I'm readin & lookin at your photos! its so cool!!

Stephen Mull said...

This shit just blew my mind out of friday. We need to chat when you get a chance. I need this in audio at the very least.

Pebble Pedalers's Fan Box

Pebble Pedalers