Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska – Day 6 & 7

Day 7 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

Friday Day 6

Friday’s adventure would start with us winding through a pretty narrow canyon eventually directing us onto a long narrow ridge trail. The ridge at times was just wide enough for the track width of the JK as it snaked along debris covered Castner Glacier in the Red Rock Canyon.

Day 6 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited traveling on a narrow ridge that runs along the Castner

Eventually the ridge came to an end dumping us on what would be best described as river rock, part of the former path of a the glacier. We drove as far as possible before stopping for lunch.

Day 6 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

Lunch break on Day 6.

On the way back down, we took another route that took us to a cool little unnamed alpine lake where we grouped the Jeeps together for a quick group photo just as the rain started to fall.

Day 6 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

All the members posing in front of a remote, unnamed lake.

Back on the trail for a bit more and we quickly ended up at College Creek, where after a short walk, we were greeted by a questionable suspension bridge that crosses the creek on the way to the Gulkana Glacier.

Day 6 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

A few of the members venturing over a suspension bridge, a footpath to the Gulkana Glacier.

A few of us ventured over the bridge to quickly return after making the trip over the creek. After, we were back on the trail on our way to the last night of JKX in Glennallen.

Saturday Day 7

On the final day of JKX, we found ourselves in the the Knik River Public Use Area. After airing down in the parking lot, we entered the trail system passing lakes with the locals fishing, small sand dunes and crossing several deep waters crossings.

Day 7 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

Aired down ready for the day’s adventure.

The water level became high enough that we could no longer travel the dry river bed forcing us into tight, winding trails through the forest and brush. Once entering the trail, the trail became very tight and muddy with deep water filled ruts. This section of the trailed seemed to go forever before kicking us back out on the river bed where we traveled until we reached the most spectacular view of the entire trip, the Knik Glacier.

Day 7 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

Navigating a pretty narrow ridge on the way to the Knik Glacier.

After what seemed like a long time traveling through tight, muddy trails, river rock and crossing several creek/river crossings, we were suddenly surprised by a small bay filled with floating icebergs that were being deposited by the Knik Glacier.

Day 7 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

First views of the Knik Glacier on Day 7.

Day 7 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

View of the Knik Glacier on day 7.

Day 7 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

View of the Knik Glacier on day 7.

We lined the Jeeps up with the icebergs and glacier behind the Jeep and enjoyed one of the most spectacular lunch locations possible via Jeep. What a way to cap off the week long 2016 JK Experience in Alaska.

Day 7 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

Group photo in front of the Knik Glacier.

After enjoying lunch, we all lined up next to our Jeeps for one last group photo before heading back to the pavement on our way back to where we started, Anchorage. We were greeted by local Jeep enthusiasts waiting for us at the Peanut Farm restaurant and grill where we were scheduled to have one last dinner together before parting ways, aka the “Survivor’s Dinner.”

Day 7 of the 2016 JKX Alaska.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited in front of the Knik Glacier.

We exchanged stories from the week, ate great food and consumed beverages. Then it was time to say goodbye to new friends as we parted ways. What a week in Alaska and memories for a lifetime.

Previous Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska Posts:
Project Quickstand – Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska
Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska – Day 1 & 2
Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska – Day 3
Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska – Day 4 & 5

 

Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska – Day 4 & 5

A quick stop for road construction on the Dalton Highway.

A quick stop for road construction on the Dalton Highway.

Wednesday Day 4

Driving to Deadhorse-Prudhoe Bay is on many people’s bucket lists including ours. When it was announced the night before that we would be making the 1000 mile Dalton Highway trip in two days, you could hear and see the excitement in the group.

The start of the Dal

The start of the Dalton Highway

The Dalton Highway consisted of nice smooth pavement, pothole ridden pavement, patches of gravel, roads made of river rock, full gravel and mud all with a speed limit of 55 MPH most of time. After just over 12 hours of driving on this inconsistent terrain, we reached the night’s accommodations, Deadhorse Camp in Deadhorse.

A photo of the ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited in front of the famous Arctic Circle sign.

A photo of the ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited in front of the famous Arctic Circle sign.

Shortly after the Arctic Circle sign, you can stop at a small ranger station just passed the only USA bridge to cross the Yukon river. There you can get a stamped certificate stating that you were in the Arctic Circle.

Shortly after the Arctic Circle sign, you can stop at a small ranger station just passed the only USA bridge to cross the Yukon river. There you can get a stamped certificate stating that you were in the Arctic Circle.

When you arrive in Deadhorse, you quickly find out that everything in Deadhorse is there to support the oil operations, not tourism. There really isn’t anything in the town, including food or accommodations. Luckily, we had stocked up with food in Fairbanks before leaving for Deadhorse so we had some “tasty” sandwiches waiting for us in the ARB Fridge/Freezer when we arrived and settled in.

Our "hotel" for the night in Deadhorse.

Our “hotel” for the night in Deadhorse.

If you are not traveling via a RV or van, you will be in for a surprise. Don’t expect a five-star hotel. Instead, all sleeping establishments resemble very large mobile homes that are configured in a manner like a dormitory with two twin beds per room and no toilet, but instead a large shared bathroom with showers. Most of the participants on the trip were not fazed by the rustic accommodation, instead seen it as a unique experience.

Our "hotel" for the night in Deadhorse.

Our “hotel” for the night in Deadhorse.

Later that “night” we were surprised by the staff at JKX with BBQ’ed Reindeer sausage with all the fixings. We ended the “night” standing around the BBQ, swatting at bird-sized mosquitos that were not in anyway affected by the falling rain. All while the sky was still bright enough to read your favorite issue of JP Magazine well past midnight.

Thursday Day 5

The Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic Ocean.

After a surprisingly comfortable sleep in our twin beds, we kicked the morning off with a little breakfast in the camp’s diner. Shortly after breakfast, it was off on a tour bus to the Arctic Ocean. We drove this far so we of course can’t leave without dipping our hands (some their entire bodies) in the ocean.

Old oil drums reaching out into the Arctic Ocean.

Old oil drums reaching out into the Arctic Ocean.

The only way to reach the ocean is to drive through Prudhoe Bay, a heavily secured area due to the oil operations. To do this, you must either be a credential worker in the area or be on a guide bus. After going through an armed check point, it was a just short drive to the ocean where we all had the chance to walk out and put our hands in the Arctic Ocean.

Fueling up the ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited in Deadhorse before traveling back south towards Fairbanks.

Fueling up the ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited in Deadhorse before traveling back south towards Fairbanks.

Now that most of us accomplished the Arctic Ocean bucket list item, it was time to head south backtracking our route on the Dalton Highway.

Stopped for construction on the top of Atigun Pass.

Stopped for construction on the top of Atigun Pass.

The route south was the same as heading north, just with a little more rain and mud. After a quick fuel and meal at the halfway point in the small town of Coldfoot, it was back on the road to our night’s unknown location.

The Dalton Highway was a little wetter on the way South vs on the way North.

The Dalton Highway was a little wetter on the way South vs on the way North.

After reaching permanent pavement and civilization, it was what seemed like a short drive to our next accommodation, the Hotel North Pole in the Christmas themed town of North Pole, AK.

Click here for Day 6 & 7 of the Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska

Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska – Day 1 & 2

The trip from Seattle to Anchorage was uneventful. The Jeep performed flawlessly during the 2300 mile, 46 hour trip through Canada into Alaska with just a few stops to torque all the suspension components as required after any new suspension components are installed.

Fueling the Jeep up in Meziadin Lake, BC.

Fueling the Jeep up in Meziadin Lake, BC.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited arrived in Anchorage late on Thursday night with Friday and Saturday planned as free days if anything need to be addressed. The only required tasks for the two days were to clean the Jeep up and replace the cracked headlight lens lost during the trip. After some rearrangement of the cargo, we were ready for the weeks adventure.

Entering the Yukon Territory.

Entering the Yukon Territory.

Sunday Day 1

The information in the morning’s driver’s meeting would inform us that it would be a long day of off-roading and to be prepared for mud. With rain already starting to fall from the sky, we had the feeling that “be prepared” would be an understatement. After a short highway drive, we were topping our fuel tanks off and airing down our 37” Nitto Trail Grappler MT tires in the town of Wasilla in preparation for a muddy trail ride on the Baldy Mountain trail.

Airing down in Wasilla.

Airing down in Wasilla.

Once off the gravel road, the terrain turned familiar to us who are used to the wet, muddy terrain around Seattle. The trail wandered through tight tree sections, subtle rolling hills and elevation changes and then eventually entered clearings or areas similar to being above the tree line. About this time, the climbs became steeper and the rain began to increase making the trail muddier and more difficult as we continued on.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited on the Baldy Mountain Trail.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited on the Baldy Mountain Trail.After the first few Jeeps struggled to make the climbs and required winching all along with the rain increasing even more, it was decided to turn around and head to the night’s accommodation, the beautiful Talkeetna lodge near and with views Mt. Denali and the Alaskan Range.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited waiting to make one of the climbs.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited waiting to make one of the climbs.

With the rain and trail condition becoming increasingly difficult and the first few Jeeps needing winch recovery, it was decided to turn around and backtrack our course to head to the night’s accommodation, the beautiful Talkeetna lodge near and with views Mt. Denali and the Alaskan Range.

But before reaching the lodge, we were detoured on a short drive to the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry so that any mechanical issues could be addressed and everyone could inflate their tires before hitting the pavement.

Everyone airing up at the museum.

Everyone airing up at the museum.

We were given an hour to address any issues (no issues with the ARB Jeep) and explore the grounds. If you get a chance to visit the museum, makes sure you do. After pouring a hot cup of coffee we explored the grounds littered with old machinery from old snow machines to old Alaska Railroad locomotives and passenger cars to old Air Force jets.

One of many cool vehicles on the grounds of the museum.

One of many cool vehicles on the grounds of the museum.

One of many cool vehicles on the grounds of the museum.

One of many cool vehicles on the grounds of the museum.

If you’re into old iron, the museum is a must stop if you ever find yourself in the area.

Monday Day 2

Monday was a travel day. The plan for the day was all pavement to reach our next accommodation, the Denali Village, a lodge just down the road from the Denali National Park entrance. Along the way we made a few quick stops, mainly to use the facilities and for some photo opportunities with Mt. Denali and the Alaskan Range poking through the clouds. While we were stopped at one of the photo areas, we were approached by a local land owner informing us that he had a better view point that we could line all the Jeeps up for a photograph. Of course we jumped at the chance of a better photo spot and after about 5 minutes on the road, we were lining the Jeeps up for a group photo.

All the Jeep JKs lined up for a group photo. Mt. Denali is hiding behind the clouds.

All the Jeep JKs lined up for a group photo. Mt. Denali is hiding behind the clouds.

Once we arrived at the Denali Village, a short meeting gave us the choice of relaxing at the lodge, take a bus ride into Denali National Park or go white water rafting.

The Nenana River.

The Nenana River.

Most of us, who have never been on a river jumped at the chance of rafting 10 miles down a class-4 portion of the Nenana river guided by the awesome folks at Nenana Raft Adventures.

On our way to do a little white water rafting.

On our way to do a little white water rafting.

Following the awesome rafting trip, we were greeted with a BBQ dinner back at the guide location. The rest of the night consisted of us sitting around a fire and telling Jeeping stories to end a great day with new friends.

Click here for Day 3 of the Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska