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Hiking and Packrafting the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge on Afognak Island, Alaska


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Home Forums Campfire Member Trip Reports Hiking and Packrafting the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge on Afognak Island, Alaska

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #3722885
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    Companion forum thread to: Hiking and Packrafting the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge on Afognak Island, Alaska

    In the northwest corner of the Kodiak Archipelago is a 50,000-acre annex of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge on Afognak Island. It is characterized

    #3722918
    Brett A
    BPL Member

    @bulldogd

    You’re killing me Smalls.  Killing me.  That looks AMAZING!

    #3722923
    Manfred
    BPL Member

    @orienteering

    Philip,

    another amazing trip report that makes one want to go back to Alaska immediately. My kids texted me yesterday a 3 year old ‘memory’ – a photo on their smartphone of us in Alaska – and suggested we should go again soon. Your trip report makes me want to go sooner :)

    #3722928
    Kevin Babione
    BPL Member

    @kbabione

    Locale: Pennsylvania

    Philip – the video was amazing.  As a guy who’s only done his backpacking in the northeast US, the almost total lack of trails of any kind is a little unbelievable.  I think there was only one place in the video where there was a visible trail.  Thanks again for sharing – I enjoy all of your trip reports.

    #3722932
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    Cheers, folks. Glad you enjoy the vids. I like making them.

    Kevin- 99% of trails in Kodiak are made by hooves and paws. Elk make wonderful trails (like the one in the vid). Bears have established wide and well-worn paths over thousands of years of lumbering the same routes. Deer trails are usually fainter, but prolific. Mountain goats efficiently traverse ridges and know where to slip through cliff bands. Only along the Kodiak road system and near the public use cabins on Shuyak Island will you find human-developed trails. In the vast majority of the archipelago you are either hiking without a trail, or you are following routes made by our furry neighbors. And being the ultimate locals, critters know just where to go.

    #3722936
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    I should probably add that the total lack of developed, mapped trails makes my route planning more laborious. I basically have to intuit from satellite imagery and topo lines what the path of least resistance will be and spend a lot of time planning every mile. I’ve been doing this in Kodiak for 30 years so I’m pretty good at it by now, but every now and then I leave a skull and crossbones waypoint along my recorded track to remind myself that I screwed up and I need to avoid that ravine/swamp/salmonberry thicket the next time.

    #3722968
    Brett A
    BPL Member

    @bulldogd

    How do you like the Flight 2?  Full Spectra?

    #3722974
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    I like the pack a lot, but as with my Flight 1 I modified it quite a bit. I added 2.5’” to the frame (I effectively have a 26.5” back panel), moved the shoulder strap and load lifter attachment points higher to match, I’m using a ULA hipbelt, etc. I definitely like the pocket size and position better than on the Flight 1. My packraft blades fit better in the left side pocket and I can now finally reach my water bottle easily.

    The fabric is a 200D UHMWPE that SO will start offering soon. It has a 0.5 mil PET film laminated to the back, like Xpac. It’s darker than the grey Xpac so the inside of the pack turns into a bit of a cave, but otherwise it seems like a solid fabric. It holds stitching incredibly well with almost no needle hole elongation when you stress a seam.

    #3722975
    Brett A
    BPL Member

    @bulldogd

    Not to run adrift from your absolutely incredible trip but I thought someone, possibly you, had mentioned going with the ULA hip belt in the Flight 2 thread.  I’ve been eyeing the pack for some time now, have a ULA belt, just need to convince my wife that at my age and for what I do, it would likely be the last pack I’ll ever purchase.  The color of yours threw me off as to what material was used.

    ***I’ll go back and review the thread.  Once again, amazing looking trip.

    #3723019
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    No problem. If folks want to go down the Seek Outside Flight rabbit hole, this is the original Flight 1 thread complete with mods, and here is the announcement of the Flight 2. This thread is probably better suited for general Qs about paddling and hiking on Kodiak, Afognak, etc.

    Cheers, -P

    #3723078
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    I added a map to the image gallery in the TR since I didn’t put one in the video this time and the Gaia map integration is frankly a little kludgy.

    #3723153
    Iago Vazquez
    BPL Member

    @iago

    Locale: Boston & Galicia, Spain

    Thank you for the trip report!

    #3723195
    Logan Kidwell
    BPL Member

    @logan

    Locale: Florida

    Incredible! You live in a magical place! Thanks as always for sharing.

     

    Logan

    #3723565
    Herman
    BPL Member

    @hre814

    Locale: Alaska

    Love your trip reports! As an Alaska resident myself, you’re stuff is always motivating me to get out and explore. Thanks!

    #3724678
    Michael Haubert
    BPL Member

    @socalmike

    Locale: So Cal

    Philip,

    Just wanted to say how much your trip reports and videos inspire me.  Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.

    -Michael

    #3727245
    SIMULACRA
    BPL Member

    @simulacra

    Locale: Puget Sound

    It’s really just amazing production quality you put into your videos Philip. Great write up, thorough read. Love the alpine region there, terrific views. Definitely a great back yard to live in

    #3727270
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    Thanks, folks! I am very aware of how lucky I am to live in a place like this and have a flexible enough job that I can have a few trips in mind each year and pop out the door at the last minute when a weather window presents itself. The mail plane can deliver me to many interesting locations throughout the archipelago quickly and cheaply, and that sets up cool point-to-point options.

    I think my favorite feature of this area of Alaska is the mind-blowing profusion of wildlife we have here. On a typical hike across the island I am likely to encounter a dozen Kodiak brown bears or more. Herds of mountain goats in the alpine and Sitka black tail deer are essentially everywhere. Sometimes a herd of reindeer (if I’m on the right corner of the island). Roosevelt elk on Afognak Island. Foxes everywhere. River and sea otters, Steller sea lions and harbor seals, humpback, California grey, fin, and killer whales. Harbor and Dall porpoises. So many birds it’s nuts. You would be hard pressed to find a place with as much watchable wildlife. There is basically something walking, flapping, or swimming by all the time, and I try to reflect that in my videos. And for the win, if you know what you’re doing it’s also pretty easy to avoid bad bugs. Score!

    Cheers.

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