If you’re into the outdoors or photography (or both!), you’re no doubt going to love this story. Not only is Andrew Peacock’s photography INCREDIBLE, Sabina Allemann lets you in on the gear she packs for a three-day hike in the Talkeenta Mountains. Having spent plenty of time in remote locations around the world, this adventure duo are outdoor veterans, so we’re pretty chuffed our Merino Wool thermal layers were included in their gear list!
Andrew is a medical doctor & adventure photographer and Sabina is a passionate outdoor lover, so between the two of them, they have some amazing stories to tell – and this trip to Alaska sure is one of them. Rivers, mountains, waterfalls, sun, snow (and whiskey, of course!), there really was a bit of everything, but as always, they stayed warm, comfortable and prepared for whatever Mother Nature dished up in their ioMerino and other ‘must have’ gear. Here’s what they had to say…
Written by ioCrew Member Sabina Allemann and photos by ioCrew Member Andrew Peacock.
“It had been a few years since we laced up our hiking boots and shouldered heavy packs, but a long held dream to explore Alaska was finally in motion and my photographer husband Andrew and I found ourselves teamed up with Neil, a friend of a friend, for a three-day back-packing traverse in the Talkeetna Mountains.
The starting point to the loop at the Gold Mint trail is only an hour drive from Anchorage and the three-day hike crosses two steep passes so it was perfect for us as a ‘shake down’ for a remote ten-day trip next up in Lake Clark National Park. Not only did our bodies need some reawakening to the rigors of multi-day hiking but also we were keen to ‘break in’ some new gear thanks to our supporters Osprey Packs, ioMerino and Big Agnes and try the Heather’s Choice line of dehydrated meals and snacks that we had been introduced to.
The so-called ‘Bomber Traverse’ is apparently very popular in the winter and there are two cozy huts in which to cook and sleep but we instead slept comfortably in our Big Agnes lightweight tent and sleeping bags. Despite the long hiatus between trips the new Osprey packs helped soften the blow of 40 or so pounds on our backs and the scenery distracted us from any discomfort as the landscape was truly spectacular, with majestic mountain vistas, fast flowing rivers and wild flowers dotting the green mossy ground cover at higher elevations. We searched in vain each day for a moose or other large Alaskan fauna, a first sighting will have to wait for that next hike.
Neil surprised us with a bottle of ‘Yukon Jack’ he had carried up, a whisky and honey concoction, new to us, and with a splash of lime juice I found it pretty tasty. We had been warned about the flying bugs of the Alaskan wilderness so were not completely surprised by the huge mosquitoes keeping us company each evening as Andrew spent time composing some landscape images during the long far north summer sunset. With noses the only flesh on offer peaking out from under a hooded jacket I survived the onslaught and enjoyed the view of the surrounding mountains as the last rays of sun flecked their peaks with gold.
Sunny days with mild temperatures made for comfortable hiking in our natural Australian ioMerino wool hiking tops and meant we enjoyed a very refreshing dip in an aqua blue alpine lake at the end of our second day on the trail. No towels were needed as the sun’s warm rays did their job drying off our goose pimpled skin. With varied temperatures across the Alaskan summer, our lightweight ioMerino layers worked perfectly and so did the ioBeanie!
By day three our bodies were adapting well to the demands of the trail and that morning after an easy river crossing, the hike up onto the Bomber glacier was an absolute delight. It was sobering however to stop by the wreckage of a Superfortress Bomber still strewn over the glacier after crashing in 1957. Unfortunately six of the crew died but miraculously four survived the impact and were rescued. The mangled aluminum in the snow is incongruous with the surrounding natural environment.
We had hesitated about carrying crampons but before the slope steepened to the pass we stopped to put them on and enjoyed their better traction over boot soles past a few icy spots. Dropping over into the Reed Lakes valley meant some careful boulder hopping downhill which is not a favorite activity for my ankles after years as a professional ballerina but carefully we made our way 1000 feet down to the lakes below and cruised the easy trail down valley. The beauty and easy access of this area is an attraction for day trippers and on a busy summer Sunday we enjoyed friendly greetings with them and the equally numerous pet dogs of all shapes and sizes. It was a stellar hike, one I can highly recommend and I can’t think of a better introduction to the outdoors in Alaska”.
*All images credited to Andrew Peacock at ‘Footloose Fotography‘.