Outdoor Adventures: Alaska and Beyond

Welcome! This site is dedicated to outdoor adventuring. Click the menu links along the top,  see the adventures below, or use the search box to quickly locate the topic you are looking for. Comments are appreciated. Enjoy your day!

Alaska survival food

Alaska Survival Trip

San Juan Mountains, CDT

Long Distance Hikes

Canoeing the Yellowstone River

River Journeys

The Gendarme, Mt. McKinley

Mountain Climbs

Caribou 2011

Hunting and Fishing

My home cabin in Alaska.

About Me

56 Comments

  1. Hi Ken,
    You are a lucky man to have floated the Goodnews River twice. There’s nothing like a big rainbow hitting a mouse on the surface, is there?
    Buck

  2. Buck,
    The new web site looks great. I have passed the link on to a number of my adventurous friends. We hope to make it back to AK when our daughter gets a bit older.
    Paul

  3. Reallly like your website re-design, Buck! Very easy to navigate and fantastic info. Keep up the great work! I’ll keep hiking with you in my dreams… :o)
    Julie

  4. good info…..how much boat traffic from the lodge?……their lodge (seen on their web) looks like a small village…..so my concern is a guide an boats at every bend…..upper is remote ….lower is crowded?

    • Hi Mike,

      We floated the Goodnews River about the third week of September, past the main guiding season. We pretty much had the river to ourselves. During the height of guiding season, I’d expect to see some guided fisherman, but if you float the whole river you definitely won’t see a guided boat on every bend.

      Buck

  5. Hi Buck,

    Really enjoyed your pictures and stories of the Mississipi. The reason I e-mail you is because me and some friends are planning on kayaking the mississipi our summer going into our freshman year of college. We are doing this for the same reason you did it, for an adventure. We are doing a ton of research on our own but we would love it if you could give us some tips and maybe the routes you took and where you stopped to camp.

    Thanks.
    Gunnar

  6. hey
    Love your videos your 700 mile float has inspired me several times. I floated 260 miles on the Kobuk in Sept.2010 18 days of sunshine, sheefish, grayling and northern lights . Not to mention caribou. Hoping to do the Noatak in the near future, when I do I will get your video. Headed to the Ivishak in sept. any advice for the char etc would be helpful. Keep up the great work. Im a professional wildlife photographer that hunts with a camera, its all good.
    Didier Lindsey

    • Hi Didier,
      Glad you like my videos! The Kobuk River must have been awesome. I’d like to paddle it someday. You’ll enjoy the Noatak as well, no doubt. I’ve never been on the Ivishak except for the extreme headwaters, so I’m afraid I don’t know much about the char fishing. If you are paddling that river I’d go early in the month, as late in September it can be wintery, but you undoubtedly know that already. Keep taking those great photos.
      Buck

      • hey Buck
        you will luv the upper Kobuk, we flew into Lake Mimikakoso sp? and avoided the canyon and its rapids, the lake was full of pike two of us caught over 100 in one afternoon, most less than 24 inches but all feisty. after Kobuk the river widens and you need a motor. sheefish and grayling fishing…well I cant even say it on here or I would have to shoot everyone that reads it. lol. If you ever have any questions on it feel free to contact me. keep up the good work.
        Didier Lindsey

  7. Hi Buck, I have just watched your journey 1,000 Miles Across Alaska. Velikolepno I currently live in Anchorage, I’m from Russia, my son Matt Larkin is familiar with you and gave your business card, you have met him and he’s very good of you responds. I’m in Alaska a second time, a lot has already seen a lot of time with Matt was on a fishing trip and travel on the Kenai, but after watching your journey even more love the rugged beauty Alaska. Ya will be here until the end of sentyabrya. Izvini for inaccuracies in the text, the translation from Russian yazyka. Zhelayu health and good luck!

  8. Moises Marquez

    May 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Hello Bruce,

    I’ve found you from http://www.iliamnaair.com. I’ve tried to connect with the owners of that page. But I their email is useless. Do you know them?

    I’m very interested to contact with them. I would greatly appreciate if you could help me.

    Thank you in advance

  9. Hey Buck,

    A friend and I are in the beginnings of planning to hike the CDT next spring, it will be our first hike!!! Any info you can give to me about the gear you took and any other information would be appreciated.

    • It’s not what you want to hear, but I would recommend not making the CDT your first hike. It’s a perfectly doable trail for experienced, fit, highly determined hikers, but it’s a lot to tackle for those learning as they go. You should know how to navigate in the backcountry, how to stay warm and reasonably dry, how to pace yourself and take care of your feet, how to travel in snow in steep mountains, and much more. If you DO want to hike the CDT next year, get out and do as much hiking and camping as you possibly can and order Yogi’s CDT Handbook now to start studying up. Here is my PCT hiking gear list. I had similar gear for the CDT except, for example, a good 20 degree back instead of a 30 degree bag, and I carried rain pants the whole way. I also carried a good mapping gps which I highly recommend.

  10. Hey Buck,
    Just watched your trip across the Brooks Range and wanted to offer a simple thanks for chronicling your adventure. You captured not only some great footage but as you well know I’m sure…some very fortunate footage. Your understated approach coupled with your obvious love for the country made the video special. There is a lonely beauty to that country and again wanted to thank you for bringing it to the rest of us.

    • Hi Daniel,
      I suspect from your comment that you’ve spent time in the Brooks Range yourself. “lonely beauty” captures one of the most important qualities of the Brooks. I was extremely lucky getting some of that footage, no doubt about it. Thanks for your comment!
      Buck

  11. so what’s the adventure this year?

    • Nemo! Griff and I did a float fishing trip a couple of weeks ago. I’d planned a major kayaking trip in the Brooks but the headwaters of it are way too low for floating. I might do a “Plan B” or I might just do some mini adventures and enjoy an Alaska summer that way. D Hade was over for a visit yesterday afternoon getting ready for the final move to Panther Creek. What’s up with you?

      • as Jerry Waters, “Welllll…” I’m in Boones Mill (the Baymare Farm) trying to fend off the encroaching wilderness..the Appa lachian (Blue Ridge) forest grows real wel and fast when we get this much rain…and the edges(margins) produce locusts, berry vines, wild grape vine, virginia creeper, greenbriars, alanthus, persimmon, poison ivy, maples and unidentifiable weeds …groping for the sunfilled openings which is our “farm” cut out of this ridge and creeks in the forest. No heavy equipment …mower and weed whacker and saw-toothed machete. Also waiting for a fire assignment ,DIVS hopefully….however the fire action in the west has done been heavy or wide spread enough to have resource orders reach this southern Area (Atlanta)…I read the Smokejumper Report, hotshot report and the national Situation Report and hope that the system won’t totally discard us old men who want a couple more Good Deals. Haven’t been to Billers in 2 months..I oughta go visit and hear his less than positive view of the world, and walk around his rock and juniper strewn farm….the pond is really alive, and there’s always wood to stack and grass to mow and maybe the loggers have started to high grade his forest…. Did maple syrup harvest go god or bad this Year? I talked to a guy from Mcgregor, Mn. (at a dog party) who said syrup was good this year, but I thought that Biller told me ya’ll didn’t get much ?? anyway…the Stuart Creek Fire looked like it could continue north past the CHSR….but the State engines must have stopped it.right? hey I’m using this site as a sorta email…right? maybe not appropriate, but WTF. later on Nemore

        • Hey Nemo,

          I hope you get out there on a fire assignment and put all that experience to good use.

          Our maple syrup season started out a bust, but about when it should end it really took off and we ended up with a great season. The Stuart Creek Fire is about caught. For now. There was a fire just taking off a few hundred yards from my cabin on one of the hottest, driest days. The local Volunteer FD did a great job of getting on it and knocking it down.

          Keep that Appalachian jungle at bay!

          Buck

  12. Hey Buck! I’m planning on canoeing the Mississippi for my Senior Trip before I set off for college! I’ll be starting in St. Louis then emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. First question, did you say the last lock and dam are in St. Louis? Also any advice that you could give me, ill be doing it solo aswell. So any advice to keep me alive would be appriciated. Thanks!

    • Hi James,
      Sounds like fun! Yes, the last lock and dam is at Chain of Rocks. Read through all my Mississippi pages and questions and answers, as well as those on my linked blog. Wear your life jacket every second out on the water. Stay clear of the big boats because the big rafts of barges can’t stop even if they see you. Stay away from fixed objects in the fast current. If you’re smart you should be fine and have a great adventure.
      Have fun!
      Buck

  13. Hey Buck!
    .Next summer i wil do the same hike as you did in 2006. From Canada to Noatak. But i Wonder, can i start padling noatak in the last week of september or is that to late.
    I have seen your film – across alaska and now i will walk in your footsteps.

  14. Thanks for making you awesome videos. I am doing some homework to prepare for a moose hunting trip in September, 2014, and I have started reading Dennis Confer’s book, Hunt Alaska Now. Thanks for the great book recommendation. I have very much enjoyed watching your 700 and 1000 mile videos several times this year and loaned it out to my buddies that hope to make the trip with me next year, and we have made Confer’s book required reading for those in our hunting party. I watched the 1000 mile video again today and it has spurred a question. I did not see any toilet paper in any of your gear. Do you have any recommended species of leaves? What is your advice in this department?

  15. Hey Buck! I just this morning took a look at your website. Wish I had done it a long time ago. Too busy with other crap…….. This is a most amazing job you’ve done here. Such a pro……. I see where our friend Al B. is about to head home back to Virginia from over there in SE Asia. Was wondering how much longer you will be there. Guess I’d better do a little more sampling of your blog about your trip.

    You don’t get to this site too often by the looks of the dates here. So……….I might not hear back from you in a while. Have fun over there…….

  16. Hello there! Just wanted to compliment and thank you for the work that must have gone into the Alone Across Alaska video. I’m planning to head up to the Brooks Range for the first time this summer and am now more excited than ever. Hope to half as lucky as you–you caught some amazing video footage, especially of wildlife.

    Happy adventuring!

    • Thanks Mai, that’s mighty nice of you. I was extremely lucky with some of that wildlife footage. Many weeks and always having the camera handy helped a lot.

      I hope you have a great time in the Brooks Range and take away many epic memories!

  17. Rando Leon Diaz

    May 1, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Rando Leon
    47 Elizabeth St.
    Crawfordville, Florida 32327
    Email: randoleon@gmail.com
    Phone: (850) 274 – 6928

    I am planning on a Thru-Hike starting on March 12, 2017 or 2018 at least those are my plans. You may ask why wait so long to start my hike, my reason for starting in 2017 or 2018 is that I need to save up for gear and everything that goes along with such a grand epic adventure. I have been on Disability since I was 24 and now I am 51 and at a point where I know I can do it. It is just so hard to save on such a limited budget such as Disability. I am planning on keeping a blog and writing all about my experiences on the Trail.

    I am in search of Sponsors, So what I am asking for is any and all info that you may help me with to start trying to get Sponsors or any help for my trip, I will greatly appreciate it. Maybe if with what I save and if I can get enough Sponsors I might be able to start my hike even sooner. We’ll Thank You for your time and please remember ANY and ALL HELP and SUGGESTIONS are GREATLY APPRECIATED.

    I am also willing to test gear and return it with my review.

    I have been researching gear and this is the list I have come up with so far for my hike. As you will notice I am trying to keep my base weight on the Light side.

    Appalachian Trail Gear List

    Golite Jam 70L Backpack 31 Oz. $130

    Platypus Big Zip LP Reservior – 3 Liter 6 Oz. $35

    Gossamergear Shoulder Strap Pocket Set of Two 1.7 Oz. $30

    Mountain Laurel Designs Pack Liner/Food Bag 1.2 Oz. ea. 2 for $5

    Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Degree 550 Down Sleeping Bag 43 Oz. $128

    Sea To Summit Adaptor Coolmax Travel Liner 9 Oz. $45

    Hennessy Radiant Double Bubble Pad 10 Oz. $30

    Tarp-tent Sublite 19.5 Oz. $209

    ZPacks Bear Bagging Kit 3 Oz. $45

    Mountain Laurel Designs UL Ground Cloth 2.4 Oz $8

    Black Diamond Storm Headlamp 25 to 160 Lumens 3.9 Oz. $30

    Black Diamond TRAIL BACK TREKKING POLES 20 Oz. $50
    Sawyer MINI Water Filter 1.3 Oz. $22

    Sawer MAXI-DEET 100% DEET 2 Oz. $6

    DriDucks Frogg Toggs Rain Jacket & Pants 10.2 Oz. $14

    SmartWool Balaclava 1.8 Oz. $32

    Cabela’s Insect Defense System™ Zip-Off Pants $80

    Cabela’s Insect Defense System™ Jacket $65

    Cabela’s Boys’ Insect Defense System™ Knit Shirt $30

    Ultimax™ Cool-Lite Mid Hikers Socks 2 Oz. $11 ea. pair

    Polypro Glove Liners – Black, Medium 1.1 Oz. $7

    Mountain Masochist II Hiking Shoe 21.6 Oz. $60

    Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight Stove 2.7 Oz. $27

    GigaPower Fuel 3.9 Oz. $5

    Mountain Laurel Designs 850 ml Titanium Pot 3.3 Oz. $50

    Lightload Pack Towel 36×60 .6 Oz. $10

    Ultralight Travel Toothbrush .65 Oz. $3

    GSI Outdoors Cathole Sanitation Trowel 3.1 Oz. $5

    Lifeline Trail Light Dayhiker – 57 Piece 4060 First Aid Kit 3.7 Oz. $8

    Vargo Titanium Spork .3 Oz. $10

    Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castile Liquid Soap 4 Oz. $5

    Gossamergear Rite in the Rain Notebook .6 Oz. $6

    Total Ounces 147.85 Oz = 9 Lbs. 2 Oz.

    Total Price $1116

    • Hi Rando,

      If you contact the manufacturers of all the gear you are interested in you will likely get SOME gear to test and review although most will turn you down. If it were me I’d get my blog/website up to show that I’m serious and so gear manufacturers know that you can give them some advertising for their money. If I were a manufacturer I wouldn’t donate gear until you have a near-term and firm starting date.

      You could ask around on Whiteblaze.net to see what people have to say about sponsorships. You will be met with some encouraging comments and some comments to the effect of “if you’re strong enough to hike 2,000 miles you’re strong enough to earn money to pay for your trip.” Just warning you in advance!

      You might add up your weight again. That looks too light for that list. Sub 10 pounds is a very light base weight in the real world. If it were me I wouldn’t carry any of the “Insect Defense System” clothing, but that’s just me. Just skimming through it it looks like a sensible list overall.

      Good luck with your planning!

      Colter

  18. I am going to kayak the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca to Dubuque, IA with my brother next summer/fall and was wondering roughly how long you think that it would take?

    My brother and I have plenty of kayaking and camping experience.

    • Hi Michelle,

      That should be a fun trip. Check out this page where I show how long it took me from point-to-point. I was paddling fairly long days, most people would want more time. Skilled paddlers in really good shape pushing hard could probably do it faster, some much faster.

      Have fun!

      Buck

  19. Hi Bruce. I just read your comments about Anotoli’s performance in 1996. I was so glad you stood up against all those people who have criticized him. I just finished his book and no one has ever given him credit for helping the Sherpas with the ropes and stuff to pave the way to the top. That should have been done before their climb. He worked his back side off. Plus he did have oxygen with him but he gave it to Neil because he was struggling and shaking etc. he had to get some tea and oxygen in his body to be able to help anybody. I guess I could be wrong but until you walk in someone’s shoes, you just don’t know. I feel badly he died so tragically so soon after 1996. He could explained himself better. Why do people have to be so cruel and critical. I will never get used to it. Again, thanks for your comments on whatever sight that was. Best of everything, Sharon

  20. https://www.facebook.com/thewanderlustfilmfestival

    This is something that I think would be up your alley. I really enjoyed your movie.

    Thanks
    Conrad

  21. I just watched your movie on amazon and loved it. Wish I was man enough to take such a trip. The next best thing to taking such a trip is watching you take it. Thanks again and safe travels.

  22. Buck – bought your DVD “Alone Across Alaska” and very much enjoyed it. Thanks for making it available. I’ve hunted in the Talkeetna Mountains and some of the scenes look very similar.
    Some questions,from the DVD, if you don’t mind and have time.
    Why did you use Aquamira drops instead of a filter or steripen?
    Did you ever consider hiking in ankle fit hip waders, like many do for hunting?
    What was the white mineral you showed clusters of at 46:16?
    Your supply barrel at the head of the Noatak – why was it black instead of a high visibility orange?
    Thanks again and best wishes!

    • Hi George,

      I’m glad you liked Alone Across Alaska! The Talkeetnas share much of the same beauty as the Brooks, don’t they?

      In my opinion Aquamira was a better choice because of the simplicity. No electronics to fail. No moving parts to break. I think those factors are even more important in the middle of nowhere.

      I didn’t seriously consider ankle fit waders. I was covering too many miles. They would have been great for a few miles a day, though.

      I don’t know what that white mineral was! Do you have a guess George? Anyone else?

      The main reason that barrel was black is that was the color it came in. That said, I would prefer a muted color anyway so it wouldn’t draw attention there in the wilderness. Had I known it was going to be in such a strange, hard-to-find spot, orange might have been a good color anyway. I am totally on board with your bright colors idea of with things like knives, tent stakes, guylines, stuff sacks, paracord and things that are easily lost.

      Good questions George. Have a good day.

      Buck

  23. Dear Buck,

    I just watched “Alone Across Alaska” and want to tell you how much I enjoyed it, and mention the fine memories it brought back to me. I spent 6 weeks in the Arctic NWR on two separate trips several years ago mostly in the Jago and Aichilik drainages. Didn’t see muskox there, although I’ve seen many on Banks Island in Canada. We did see literally thousands of caribou, however. 36 years ago I spent 2 1/2 weeks making a circuit of Mt. Igikpak with a small group led by Molly McCammon. You probably know her, since she’s been in Fairbanks for some years. She told us that at that time probably fewer than a dozen white people had ever made that hike. Your film showed some places in the Gates where we hiked, including that unnamed lake near where you put in on the Noatak. What a fine adventure you had! If you’re interested, I’d enjoy having you see some of my photos from those two places. To see them, go to “Images” on my website and you’ll find a keyword search. The best way to get to the Gates pix is to type in: gates ak nps and for the Refuge use ANWR. I hope they will bring back some pleasant memories for you as well. Did you know the pilot Roger Dowding out of Fort Yukon? I flew to and from the Refuge with him two different years, and he was killed there in, I believe 1992. Thanks again for the great film, and let me know if you enjoy seeing any of my photos from ANWR and the Gates.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Warble
    Mountain Magic Photography
    http://www.agpix.com/stevewarble

    • Hi Steve,

      I’m glad you enjoyed Alone Across Alaska! You have seen some beautiful country in Alaska, that’s for sure.

      I didn’t personally know Roger, we just knew some of the same people.

      I checked out your photos. Nicely done! You’ve got a good eye.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Buck

  24. Hi Buck.

    Just viewed your movie Alone Across Alaska and was truly taken aback by your journey. How great ! Can you tell me what you did with your food at “night” when you were sleeping ? Not too many places to hang it!!

    Thanks. Brian

    • Hi Brian,

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed Alone Across Alaska!

      Until I got to the Haul Road I put the food in a tightly closed plastic bag and hid it directly downwind of my tent about 100 yards. A bear that could smell the food would smell me. I never had a bear bother my food. In country with un-hunted bears or bears habituated to stealing food, that would be a bad idea. In Gates of the Arctic National Park, where bears aren’t hunted and backpackers are more common, backpackers are required to carry a bear canister, which I did. I stored food in that and put it downwind of my tent. Once I got to the river I had bear-proof containers as well.

      My cached food was all stored in bear-proof containers. If it hadn’t been, some of it would likely have been taken by bears or other animals.

      Good question!

      Buck

      • Thanks Buck. I guess it pays to be smarter than the average bear! Good luck in your future travels.

        Brian

  25. Hi Buck,
    I’m leaving next week for my first trip to Alaska. I’m hoping to hike the Chilkoot Trail plus more hiking around Denali and who knows where else. I would love to have your opinion of using a ZPacks Hexamid up there. My other choice is a Tarptent Notch (double wall, about 2 X the weight).

    I hiked with Wyoming on the CDT in 2012. We talked about you!

    Nancy “Why Not?!”

    • Hi Why Not,

      I think a Hexamid should work fine for someone sufficiently experienced with that type of shelter in potentially wet and windy conditions. You are also likely to experience plenty of mild and calm weather. For years, fighting fires in Alaska, we used nothing but a piece of plastic for a tarp and a bug net to sleep under!

      That’s cool that you hiked with with Wyoming. The world of long distance hiking can be a small one!

      Enjoy your Alaska adventure.

      Buck

  26. Daniel Fearnley

    June 19, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Hey Buck! Love your work! Im planning a trip to walk the Iditarod trail solo from Seward to Nome in the winter. I was wondering if you have any experience on it in winter when its frozen and walkable. If you have any tips for planning resupply packages along the way and any top tips from a veteran.

    Thanks
    Dan

    • Thank you Dan!

      I’m not sure how much experience you have with that type of thing but to be frank, because I have not traveled the length of the Iditarod winter or summer I hesitate to give any advice. I do know that without support and/or someone specifically breaking trail it would be an enormous and dangerous undertaking. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

      Regardless, good luck and enjoy your summer.

      Buck

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