While we’re on the topic of expeditions that are coming to a close, it appears that Andrew Skurka has finished up his Alaska-Yukon Expedition as well. In his last entry to his regular blog posts over at the National Geographic Adventure Blog, he hinted that the end was coming soon and that the end would also be “bittersweet” since his life had revolved around the project for the past 12+ months. At the time of that writing, Andrew was 200 miles and seven days away from the finish line, and according to his route map, it appears that he returned to his starting point in Kotzebue, Alaska on Sunday.
For those not familiar with the Alaska-Yukon Expedition, it was a 4700 mile journey through some of the most remote backcountry in North America on foot, skis, and pack rafts. The epic trek required nearly six months to complete, and crossed through six U.S. national parks, and two Canadian parks, as well. Along the way, Andrew made full traverses of the Alaska Range and the Brooks Range as well, all the while crossing just eight major roads.
Now for most of us, the mere thought of this type of hike is daunting enough, but for Skurka it’s just another long-distance test of endurance to add to his resume. Andrew is the king of long distance hiking, have already completed numerous treks including through hikes of both the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, a 6875 mile trek through the western U.S. that crossed through 12 national parks, and an 7778 mile sea-to-sea hike from the Atlantic Ocean in Canada to the Pacific Ocean in the Northwest U.S.
But the Alaska-Yukon Expedition presented some interesting challenges that Skurka had not contended with before. The weather was brutally cold for quite some time, and he had to deal with snow and ice well into the spring. On top of that, there was a remoteness to the trail that he hadn’t experienced before on most of his other long-distance hikes. At times, when he was in the wilderness, Andrew was truly alone, without another person for miles around.
Congratulations to Andrew for completing yet another massive and highly impressive long distance trek. Can’t wait to hear more about it.