Alaska Yak Tours Day-To-Day Itinerary
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Maximum Altitude: 5000 ft./1524 m
We’ll meet at 8 a.m. at the Talkeetna Alpine Ascents Office. We’ll complete our gear check and prepare for our flight to Moon Shadow Lake. This lake lies in the Talkeetna Mountains, with compelling views of the Alaska Range. We meet the yaks and Alpine Ascents team, and enjoy an evening campfire in this wonderland of lakes and tundra. We’ll spend the afternoon hiking in the area and climb to the top of a ridge that over looks the entire Susitna Valley and the Alaska Range.
The first travel day drops 200 feet and rise 600 feet with some light brush and mostly walking on Tundra.
Distance is 5.2 miles / 8.5 Km.
In the morning, we’ll pack our gear on the yaks and start our trek into the interior of the Talkeetna Mountains. We’ll cross through rolling hills of tundra watching for moose, caribou, bear, beavers and wolves. As we travel, we’ll feast on thick patches of blueberries.
On the second day we travel through some light brush, a gentle water crossing, tundra, and tussocks with a steady and somewhat gradual elevation gain of 1,200 feet.
Distance is 2 miles (3.1 Km)
We’ll work our way up over rock outcrops and follow an ascending valley up to a pass with several lakes. Here we’ll enter an alpine zone of rock with thin patches of tundra. We’ll descend from the pass or an hour to the lakes where we’ll camp.
The third day of trekking has some moderately steeper ups and downs on Tundra and Tussocks with a few creek crossings. There is about 1,100 feet of ascent and about 900 feet of descent.
5.5 miles (about 9 Km).
We’ll traverse on the side of the mountains to circumnavigate a low valley that descends to the Talkeetna River. We’ll cross another pass and descend to a remote lush green valley for camping.
The fourth move day starts with our steepest climb up 800 feet to the top of ‘Yak Pass.’ From the top of the pass we will descend 1,200 feet before climbing our final hill of the trek to Sheep Back Lake (500 feet). This day consists of tundra, tussocks and creek crossings.
6.5 miles (10.5 kilometers)
We’ll start by ascending a steep pass with the yaks. Once on top of the pass, we’ll have the choice to ascend Spring Peak (the highest peak in local area). This is a moderate scramble with 360-degree views of the Alaska Range, Talkeetna Mountains and Cook Inlet. After the summit, we’ll descend to a lake to make camp.
There is an optional climb, given time and motivation of a nearby mountain. This climb gains another 1,300 feet and provides some slightly more challenging terrain.
We’ll cross through a magnificent valley to Sheep Back Lake. This high alpine area is surrounded by beautiful mountains. Here we can see Dhal sheep, caribou, bear, moose and fox.
We’ll climb one of the high peaks in the area while we search for wildlife and enjoy this magnificent scenery.
We’ll fly back from Sheep Back Lake to Talkeetna for a celebration dinner at Fireweed Station
Notes from the Guide:
I would note that we will not be following any trail and will be fully in the back country. While we do have established destinations, not being on an established trekking route of any kind is one of the wonderful aspects of this trip. However, walking on tundra and tussocks is a bit like walking on a beach covered in small mounds of sand – it can be a bit tiring. So, while the distances and elevation gains may not seem too arduous, the trek can often be a bit more tiring than expected.
A final note is that, depending on other trips, the trekking route may be in reverse.