Friday, February 12, 2016

CanAlaska Overlanding Expedition 2015

Five humanoids. One 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser kitted for self-sufficient overlanding. One and a half years of planning the trip and modifying the platform. 10,308 miles. 50 linear calendar days. 42 camp setups and tear-downs. Set up camp, cook and clean kitchen kit in the rain. Tear down camp in the rain. Go to bed sweating. Wake up sweating. Go to bed freezing. Wake up with condensation dripping off the four season tent fly. Coughing and sordid sickness along the way. Smoke from forest fires. Fog from elevation. 23 hours of light. Staring at the sun at 2330h. Tar, gravel and Grade B mud roads. Alaska Highway, Dempster Highway, Klondike Highway, Taylor Highway, Top of the World Highway, Dalton Highway, Elliot Highway, Stikine River, Whitehorse, Chicken, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Coldfoot, Deadhorse Camp, Prudhoe Bay, Arctic Circle, Arctic Ocean, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Tombstone Territorial Park, Denali National Park, Brooks Range, Yellowstone National Park, Lolo National Forest, Bighorn National Forest, and Black Hills National Forest.

Cooking water. Drinking water. 20F sleeping bags. 0F air mattresses. Four season tent. Compression sacks and minimal changes of clothes. Dehydrated food. Refrigerated food. Minimal cookware. Solutions to cook over fire or gas or not at all. Spare parts for everything you think might happen and for things that are less likely, but in the spare parts box anyway. Tools. Maybe too many. Solutions for breakdowns, flats, fires, critters and predators, water leaks, getting stuck, being tracked, being found, charging things, calling people, calling for help, fishing, hiking, running out of petrol and being towed. Showers sometimes. One bottle of soap used for everything. Audio books. Music. Maps, electronic and digital.

Fatigue from making mileage against the clock. Happiness over being farther and farther north with family. Wanting to eat. Wanting to see what's around the turn or over the hill. Sadness over getting home and the journey is over. Overall, happiness. An adventure was had. Memories were made.

And the platform? Flawless. Planning matters. Choosing the right platform matters.