Camping in Alaska or Yukon
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Oct 9, 2012 6:08 PM Last Post By: ytadventuremag
Sep 17, 2012 5:50 AM
I now want to visit the the North West of America on a self organised trip, either the Yukon or Alaska.
Alaska seems great but the tourist buses I have seen on TV in Denali National Park horrify me.
I will never recreate my experience in Africa but what is the best available alternative?
Sep 17, 2012 5:16 PM
1We've spent quite a lot of time in northern Canada and Alaska, traveling with our campervan. We also just returned from 3 months in Botswana, Namibia and SA, traveling with a camper on a truck. So I know what you mean.
It is easy to travel around northern Canada and Alaska but if you want a great experience you need to have the use of a vehicle. I think a camperized van or a truck/camper combo are the best. It is possible to tent it but it is not usually recommended because of bears. However, if you are keen you could. Just educate yourself on bear safety and follow the recommendations (food storage, cooking, personal hygeine, etc). Bear attacks are not frequent but they do happen. A fellow backpacking through Denali was killed by a grizzly a few weeks ago. We've had lots of paw prints around our vehicle in the morning. A fellow we were camping beside had his tent torn apart by a grizzly - despite the fact there was absolutely nothing in it but his sleeping bag.
So I mention these things not to scare you - and there are some who will come on this board and say bears are no problem. But they quickly become one if you are not prepared. Most of us who live and travel here have had many non-lethal encounters with bears so they are much more prevalent than, say, lions in Africa.
I wrote a series of road reports and posted them to my website. You might find reading them provides you some insight into traveling here. http://www.lifewellspent.com/TRAVEL/CANADA/Alaska/index.htm
Sep 17, 2012 7:03 PM
2You definitely want to have your own vehicle. There are a few segments you can do other ways, but overall you want a vehicle and then you can easily escape the crowds. A vehicle big enough you can sleep in is a big bonus for many reasons.
In Denali itself the buses are busy, but most people don't ever get off them except for the official rest stops. Get off anywhere on your own and you'll be all alone for miles around, so it really is a great park to visit.
Sep 19, 2012 4:55 AM
3In Denali NP, you can go camping on your own Backcountry, that means well away from the road. Besides, it is free. Basically, in both Alaska and Yukon, you can go hiking and camping on your own in the wilderness almost anywhere. I've done it personally (and yes, I had a grizzly at my camp, and I've seen lots of bears, but I'm still alive).
Sep 20, 2012 9:38 PM
4Been to Denali a bunch of times and done little "stand(ing) in lines with....fat people." If you can't figure out how to get away from the crowds in Denali, where it's a simple thing to walk for a week without even seeing another person, you might as well hang it up.
OP, if what you're after is the local equivalent of rampaging around the Kalahari or Serengeti in a Land Rover, you're not going to find it: tundra and muskeg are different from desert and grassland. If you like to get out on foot among vast numbers of animals, Denali (and to a lesser extent the Brooks Range and North Slope, or up the Dempster Highway) are perfect. If you have river or open water skills, there are a number of river systems and saltwater kayaking venues you can explore on your own or via (expensive) tours, per the post above.
Those Denali tour buses are disturbing, but they're the only way to get out into the depths of the park. It's not a bad deal, since once out there with your permit you're guaranteed you won't be over-run by yahoos. It's a huge, amazing, wild and largely un-trammeled area. If you don't want to deal with the buses but are willing to walk or paddle, possibilities elsewhere are essentially infinite.
Since you're not offering anything in particular about what you'd like to do--even what you liked about "wild Africa"--it's not really worth going into a lot of details. Standard advice: get a guidebook and start reading up.
Hope that's helpful.
Sep 21, 2012 4:32 AM
Oct 9, 2012 6:08 PM
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