Monday, July 9, 2012

Camping in the Interior

Over July 4th I went camping with Agent 007. (His name is Ken, but 007 is just more fun.) This wasn't camping that I'm accustomed to. First, we arrived in daylight. Not just because there is still 24 hours of daylight, but because we actually got to the trail head at a reasonable hour. Usually my camping trips consist of Julia and I reaching our destination at 1 in the morning and camping in the ranger station parking lot. Sometimes we accidentally camp in the trail head parking lot thinking that it's the campground, only to be awakened the next morning by people parking their cars next to our tent. How rude!

This trip was off to a good start. Except for one minor detail. We were riding 4-wheelers 18 miles to our cabin destination and I had never been on a 4-wheeler before.  Well, there was that one time this winter when sledding with Blair and Mark. I remember the look of fear that passed over Mark's face as I climbed on and asked him what the silver doohickey was for. "The brake", he grimaced. Good to know.

Our view for much of the ride.

But I digress. The ride out to the cabin was fine. Aside from a few steep descents that made me nervous, my inaugural ride went smoothly. As in Crossfit, my goals were simple: don't cry, don't pee my pants and and don't sustain a head injury. I managed to meet all goals. 007 was great. He could have easily gone more than twice as fast as me but was patient and ensured I was always right behind him.

The ride went through beautiful Interior Alaska landscape. It was misty and cloudy on the way out so our views were obscured but it was still beautiful. We even saw a moose and her calf! Of course I didn't have my camera out.

Ready to roll
The nice thing about camping with 4-wheelers is all the stuff you can bring. Ken had a trailer attached to his ATV. We could literally bring frying pans and sleeping pads that weighed 10 pounds. A vast difference from backpacking and sleeping on a 14oz Thermarest!

Lots of wildflowers
View of the cabin as you first drive up to it.
Little cabin in the woods
The veranda.
This inside was basic and rustic yet cozy: a table, platform bunks, stove for heat, and a counter for cooking. Part of the deal of staying at these cabins is that you replace what you use in terms of firewood and propane for the lantern. Ken chopped and sawed while I mixed drinks. That was the theme for the trip: he was the chef, I was the mixologist.

Inside the cabin.
Me and 007
View from the veranda.

I made a fantastic fire!

I swear I heard a bear that night but Ken said no, just him snoring. Good thing. Otherwise I would have failed goal #2!

Trail on the way out.
Saw a moose on the way back to Fairbanks.

What a great trip: good food, good drink and good company.  I can't wait to check out the other public use cabins.