We were a little early for the season and the weather is usually not ready to welcome tourists during the period that we were set to visit. But luck was on our side on the weather front. It was historically warm year and roads were maintained and ready for us to take them to wherever we wanted to go. This meant for us that there was nothing but ourselves, brisk mountain breeze, and the eerie silence of forever nothingness.
Wrangell-St. Elias is the epitome of remote. Before arriving we were told by park rangers that even satellite phones don't work in some areas of the park.
We were privy to this, but it wasn't actually put into perspective until we attempted to make an unsuccessful satellite call from our vehicle to Onstar. You know, the service which assists you in the event of emergency. There was not even a dial tone to them and absolutely no phone service on any of our cell phones.
Not only that, but we looked at our GPS location pin on a map. As we zoomed out, it got a little more real. We were just a small blimp in the middle of a huge green area that was a LONG way from home. About 4,500 miles if we’re talking numbers. No marked roads. No communications. We would have to travel miles to the closest human interaction; and this would be the case for the next few nights.
We would be staying at a cabin called Viking Lodge. We arrive at the cabin with our gear and bikes to get around the park. We wouldn’t be exactly living off of the land Bear Grylls or Survivor style but we surely weren’t “glamping” in a cabin in the middle of the woods.
We would prepare our meals on a fire ring with wood that we gathered around camp. We would fish our water out of nearby stream with buckets that were left over at the cabin. We would stay warm by a wood-fired stove and sleeping together in a bunk. We would be hiking and exploring in one of the most active wildernesses in the United States with animals that were much bigger and scarier than us.
There was one moment when it began to rain as we were unpacking our gear. We looked up and saw the most vibrant double rainbow over the beautiful dark Alaska sky. It was one of those unreal moments that you capture with a photo but the memory will always weigh heavier. For the rest of the week, we explored the area and enjoyed our time in solitude.
You know you found your Prime Adventure when a week doesn’t go by that you think of the experiences you had doing something. It wasn’t that we were doing anything super extreme or spectacular but more of the fact that it was just us and nature, doing the things I love most in one of the coolest states in the country.
I would be lying if I said I don’t think about Alaska or nights in the Viking Lodge more than I should admit. While there’s still so much to do on this Earth, maybe I will return and do it all again. But until I find a replacement, cabin camping in the largest national park in the United States is the definition of my Prime Adventure.