When Lisa and I were planning our Alaska trip, one of the must do’s on our list was to check out the bikepacking routes on the Kenai Peninsula, specifically Resurrection Pass, Russian Lakes Trail, and Johnson Pass. While the trailheads for these routes are easily accessible, the trails go deep into the Chugach National Forest and combined, they form 83 miles of awesome wilderness singletrack riding. We linked these trails up with some bikerafting and beachpacking, but to ride them as a loop, park at the north trailhead for the Johnson Pass Trail, at mile 64 of the Seward Highway and at the end of the bike path descending south from Turnagain Pass. From here you can ride counterclockwise, heading south on the Johnson Pass Trail, or ride 25 highway miles to Hope and the start of the Resurrection Pass Trail, which is the option we chose.
When Lisa and I were planning our Alaska bikepacking trip, we knew beach riding had to be included. That was one of the main reasons we chose fatbikes. Unfortunately, after some research we realized long stretches of easily accessible and rideable coastline are hard to come by, but not on the Kenai Peninsula. Riding the west coast of the Kenai Peninsula isn’t something new; the first trips I read about were Pat’s and Kathy’s Near Hope to Homer trip, which was back in 2005, then Eric’s and Dylan’s 2008 trip. While chartering a plane was out of our budget and chest deep slogs through marsh and mud didn’t seem like the most fun, the beach riding looked amazing.
We didn’t originally plan on riding over Portage Pass to Whittier – why would we? At two miles long, the Portage Pass Trail is shorter than the paddle across Portage Lake to get to it. The original plan was to spend a few hours packrafting to Portage Glacier, but then camping was mentioned. Well, if we’re bringing camping gear, we may as well haul everything, and if we’re hauling everything, we may as well ride to Whittier. Besides, it will make for a great gear – and partnership shake down.
I’m interrupting the posts on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route to catch up on a few trips from the summer of 2014.
Visiting Bus 142, aka the Chris McCandless bus, aka the bus from Into The Wild had been an almost 20 year dream of mine. There is something about Chris’s story, as told by Jon Krakauer, that lit a spark in me. As evidenced by the amount of people from around the world that make, or at least try to make, the pilgrimage to Bus 142, it lit a spark in many others as well.