Our addiction to mountains and rivers has always had us looking north to Alaska, where big fish and mountains existed on a level we had only experienced in our dreams. As the winter of 2012 continued to disappoint in the lower 48, it was obvious that Alaska was being buried in snow. It seemed like the time was right, that maybe after 10 years of "practice" in Utah, we were ready for our journey north. We hit the road in March, putting everything we had into our first and for all we knew, our last adventure to Alaska, with two things on our mind, steelhead and spines.
We joined forces with three of our friends from Utah, for a ski-plane assisted camping expedition in the heart of south eastern Alaska's backcountry. Over 50 miles by wing from the nearest road, our pilot dropped the 5 of us off on a big lonely glacier encircled by jagged mountains, and in the spirit of adventure, wished us good luck. We would need it. From that point on, the feeling of being completely alone in a wild and unknown land for the first time in our lives penetrated every cell in our bodies. Only one person in our group had ever been to Alaska, Chris Coulter. On day 8 when he suddenly left to work in Haines as a heli guide, the feeling of isolation crept deeper into our minds, and it had never felt so good.
We chose to do this trip without any guides, plans, itineraries, or rules simply because we wanted to have our own experience. We wanted it to be raw, unknown, and we wanted it to be an adventure. Of course the style we chose made things much more difficult for us than they could have been, but the feeling of accomplishment was immense. We found glorious spines to ride, and stumbled upon one of the best runs of wild Steelhead in the world. Returning home safely from our first journey to Alaska signified a successful mission, along with the wonderful new memories from the greatest riding and fishing experiences of our lives.