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Trip Description

Route and itinerary: Who, what, where and when - but the spectacular pristine wilderness scenery explains why!

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 1
Day 1 - Fly from Fairbanks to Arctic Village, Then in a Bush Plane to the Jago River Valley

Two plane flights take us into the bush and offer us our first views of the amazing northern Alaskan terrain - which seems to consist mostly of water! (In frozen or liquid form.)

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 2
Day 2 - Hike Down the Jago River Valley to Lake Camp

A warm sun accompanies us on our short morning hike to a beautiful lakeside camp. After a brief afternoon rain squall, we still have time to explore up a ridge for our first glimpse of the expansive North Slope.

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 3
Day 3 - Hike Out of the Jago River Valley and Around the Corner Onto the North Slope into Swamp Camp

We leave the Jago River Valley and begin our excursion across the foothills on the edge of the North Slope, gaining beautiful views of the pristine, wide open arctic tundra, and we can see the thin line of arctic sea ice on the horizon.

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 4
Day 4 - Hike Over Ice and Tussocks Into Fog Camp

A foggy day doesn't dampen our spirits as we traverse all types of terrain - crystaline ice, wet rocky creeks, and lumpy tussocks. The sun finally comes out after dinner to give us a chance to see and enjoy our surroundings.

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 5
Day 5 - Traverse the North Slope Foothills to Layover Camp on the Okerokovik River

We continue bounding along the foothills below the North Slope under a clear blue sky - perfectly timed to give us wonderful views of the vast northern plains stretching out beside us.

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 6
Day 6 (Layover Day) - Scramble Up a Nearby Peak

A free day and a nearby peak - nothing else to do but climb it! Four of us tackle the steep, unstable rocky slope to gain the summit and enjoy the amazing full 360° views! Two multi-image panoramas let you enjoy the same views.

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 7
Day 7 - Continue Along the North Slope and Turn up the Aichilik River Valley into Rum Camp

We finish our traverse of the North Slope foothills in driving rain, and gratefully turn our tails to the wind to head up the Aichilik River Valley. The food cache we pick up holds a welcome treat - some tasty rum - and the ensuing happy hour takes our minds off the weather.

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 8
Day 8 - Follow the Aichilik River up to Beauty Camp

What more could we ask for today! Nice weather, a scenic climb over a low pass, and a spectacular location for our camp!

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 9
Day 9 - Leave the Aichilik River Valley and Hike Through Willow Up to Moose Camp

The migrating caribou herd stream through the valley and across our path before we leave the Aichilik River to turn up a tributary and enter moose territory. We see lots of evidence of moose, but none in the flesh (sigh!), as we weave through dense willow before reaching our camp.

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 10
Day 10 - Climb Over a Foggy 4000' Pass and Descend into High Camp

Despite thick snow in the morning, we climb our way up the constantly-narrower creek drainages into ever-thickening fog to our high point for the trip on a boggy 4000 ft pass.

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 11
Day 11 - Descend the Rest of the Way Down to the Jago River Valley

Another snowy morning turns into a warm, sunny afternoon, leaving us with beautiful views of snow-dusted hills all around as we descend back down to the Jago River Valley to return to our starting point near the airstrip on the Jago River.

Alaska "Farthest North" Backpack: Gallery 12
Day 12 - Fly Out via Arctic Village Back to Fairbanks

We fly right among the snow-capped peaks in the Brooks Range - so close we could almost touch them! - on our return from our memorable 12 days in the arctic wilderness.