Hiking and Packrafting the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge on Afognak Island, Alaska
Jul 23, 2021 at 5:53 pm #3722885
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 characterizedJul 24, 2021 at 7:34 am #3722918
You’re killing me Smalls. Killing me. That looks AMAZING!Jul 24, 2021 at 10:45 am #3722923ManfredBPL Member
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 :)Jul 24, 2021 at 1:20 pm #3722928Kevin BabioneBPL Member
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.Jul 24, 2021 at 3:38 pm #3722932
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.Jul 24, 2021 at 4:38 pm #3722936
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.Jul 25, 2021 at 8:49 am #3722968
How do you like the Flight 2? Full Spectra?Jul 25, 2021 at 10:29 am #3722974
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.Jul 25, 2021 at 11:01 am #3722975
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.Jul 25, 2021 at 7:26 pm #3723019Jul 26, 2021 at 11:40 am #3723078
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.Jul 27, 2021 at 5:41 am #3723153Iago VazquezBPL Member
@iagoLocale: Boston & Galicia, Spain
Thank you for the trip report!Jul 27, 2021 at 2:12 pm #3723195Logan KidwellBPL Member
Incredible! You live in a magical place! Thanks as always for sharing.
LoganAug 1, 2021 at 8:39 am #3723565HermanBPL Member
Love your trip reports! As an Alaska resident myself, you’re stuff is always motivating me to get out and explore. Thanks!Aug 12, 2021 at 3:04 pm #3724678Michael HaubertBPL Member
@socalmikeLocale: So Cal
Just wanted to say how much your trip reports and videos inspire me. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.
-MichaelSep 12, 2021 at 7:03 pm #3727245SIMULACRABPL Member
@simulacraLocale: 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 inSep 13, 2021 at 1:13 pm #3727270
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!
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