An Alaskan Outdoor Bucket List


So, I don’t usually do bucket lists, which is surprising because I love lists! I prefer narrowing down to some goals, but really, that is kind of my bucket list.  For example:

  • This year, I hope to get to my 4th continent
  • Do a water trip in southeast Alaska
  • Catch my first king
  • See Kodiak

You get the idea.

However, this week in my favorite Alaskan entertainment newspaper (there are really only 2 in existence) The Press, Annie Passarello writes about her Outdoor Bucket List for Alaska and I dig it. As I was reading about her endeavors, the OCD with lists in me began to cross off things I’ve already done (not bad), only to realize there were a lot I hadn’t:

  • Ski every nordic trail in Anchorage before the end of the ski season
  • Take the bus all the way to Wonder Lake in DNP
  • Hike to the top of Pioneer Peak
  • Finally hike across Crow Pass
  • Go to Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge to see the grizzly bears
  • Climb every 5.10 climb listed in the Rock Climbing guide by Kelsey Gray
  • Ski the North Face of Alyeska at least once
  • Snowmachine. I’ve never done this and would really like to at least once
  • Ski across Eklutna Lake this winter
  • Hike the Chilkoot Trail
  • Go to Chena Hot Springs. I want to rent a cabin there for a weekend, snowshoe around the trails and then soak when it’s subzero outside. Modification: haven’t snowshoed, but have skied and hiked around.
  • Go to Willow to watch the official start of the Iditarod
  • Visit the Gates of the Arctic National Park to see the massive heards of caribou
  • Learn to hunt.
  • Go ice climbing at Matanuska Glacier
  • Sign up for the sea kayak trip out of the Wrangell-Saint Elias Mountains
  • Go dog sledding.
  • Learn to packraft and then plan and actually go on my first adventure
  • Go on a multi-day horse packing trip in the Kenai Mountains
  • Take an avalanche safety class so I can start backcountry skiing
  • Ride my fat tire bike to work at least 3 days per week this winter
  • Hike the Harding Ice Field Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park I didn’t do entire thing
  • Learn to properly fillet and smoke my own salmon
  • Complete the Tour of Anchorage
  • Run and finish the Mayor’s Marathon
  • Compete in the Oosik Ski Race
  • Take the Polar Bear Plunge
  • Compete in the Vertical Challenge
  • Hike every hike listed in the 50 Hikes in the Chugach Mountains book
Back side view
Back side view

I’m not Annie so I don’t necessarily want to achieve all of the above, but it was cool that she also included what other people said as answers to the question,

What is the one outdoor goal or experience you would like to achieve this year?

So I decided to go back through her combined list, and see if any of them aligned with my goals.

  • Go to Willow to watch the official start of the Iditarod

I really want to make it to Nome for the finish, but I’ll take this as a HUGE compromise. I have yet to do it, and live very close to Willow. Tailgating out that way for the restart has become quite popular.

  • Sign up for the sea kayak trip out of the Wrangell-Saint Elias Mountains

I’ve sea kayaked out of Valdez and Seward, and have also been to Wrangell-Saint Elias; however, I really want to kayak the southeast.

  • Finally hike across Crow Pass
The view through a bench
The view through a bench

I’m not sure why this one hasn’t happened yet, but I haven’t done this traverse in its entirety. I was chatting with friends this past summer about it and I realized that when I first moved to Alaska, I was a hiker/backpacker, at least more so than anything else. I skied, but I didn’t know all the forms at that point and I certainly didn’t go winter camping. Now, I do more winter backpacking than summer so I guess my focus has changed. In any case, it would be fantastic to get back to my root recreation love, and do a longer trip.

Got in a great ski yesterday full of sun and blue skies! I hope your first week of 2014 is going well!

Coast Closer
Coast Closer
Coastal View
Coastal View
Mize Loop, Kincaid Sun
Mize Loop, Kincaid Sun

6 thoughts on “An Alaskan Outdoor Bucket List

  1. Nice list. I think I would also start mine. Love your list about skiing thing, snowshoeing and dog sledding. Never did snowshoeing and dog sledding yet, maybe this time I should! 🙂

    1. Thanks! It’s awesome to narrow down to the things you really want to try. I’m excited about these trips. There are so many options for us. I hope you have some epic adventures with your choices.

  2. This list is making me soooo impatient to move to Alaska! I’ve actually already taken the bus to Wonder Lake and hiked Matanuska Glacier, and I tried to hike the Harding Ice Field trail but when we went in June we needed snow shoes 😦 Thanks so much for posting this! PS I know you probably don’t remember this but I posted a really vague blog post a while ago about movie “across the country” and how I needed advice…my husband and I are starting to plan our move and I’d love if you could maybe share your experience with me? People think we’re crazy for driving all the way up there but it’s the cheapest option we found! Do you have an email address I could reach you at? Sorry if this is totally weird and random!

  3. Of course I remember-no worries! I’m excited for you, and am glad you’re still planning on making it happen. I wasn’t sure about your time frame. Feel free to contact me at Don’t listen to others; the drive has gotten much better than it use to be and it’s an adventure in itself. Plus, you’ll have a car to use when you get here, which is a huge saving in expense. Cheers!

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