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 3

Tuesday Day 3

Muskeg – a North American swamp or bog consisting of a mixture of water and partly dead vegetation, frequently covered by a layer of sphagnum or other mosses.

After an easy day on Monday, we were all quick to realize why Monday was an easy day. During the morning’s driver’s meeting we were told that we were going to experience a mud like no other. A mud that us lower 48’ers have no experience with, a mud called muskeg.

Airing down the Jeep before what would be a challenging muddy day.

Airing down the Jeep before what would be a challenging muddy day.

We would be traveling the Stampede Trail made famously by the mid 1990’s book and later a movie, Into the Wild. The trail began as most off road trails, a mild unapproved road.

We crossed many small water holes along with a few small creek crossings before reaching the hard section, the muskeg.

We crossed many small water holes along with a few small creek crossings before reaching the hard section, the muskeg.

We crossed many small water holes along the way with a few small creek crossings before reaching the hard section, the muskeg.

Muskeg - A North American swamp or bog consisting of a mixture of water and partly dead vegetation, frequently covered by a layer of sphagnum or other mosses.

Muskeg – A North American swamp or bog consisting of a mixture of water and partly dead vegetation, frequently covered by a layer of sphagnum or other mosses.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK was pretty far forward in the pack so although challenging, the ARB JK only got stuck on the final muskeg hole and required us using our Warn Zeon 12-S winch.

The ARB JK was pretty far forward in the pack so although challenging, the ARB JK only got stuck on the final muskeg hole and required us using our Warn Winch.

The ARB JK was pretty far forward in the pack so although challenging, the ARB JK only got stuck on the final muskeg hole and required us using our Warn Winch.

Once all the Jeeps were through the muskeg, the trail improved with no recovery required the remainder of the way to the fast flowing Teklanika River. If you have read the book or watched the movie Into the Wild, the Teklanika River is the river that the main character, Christopher McCandless found impassible while trying to leave the area due to a lack of food. The locals say that the river is passible by vehicles and by foot during the early spring river level. When we reached the river, the water was flowing fast and high forcing us to turn around and retrace our tracks.

We stopped for about 45 minutes and enjoyed our packed lunch next to the Teklanika River.

We stopped for about 45 minutes and enjoyed our packed lunch next to the Teklanika River.

After a short lunch break along the river it was back in the Jeeps heading towards the trailhead. Retracing our tracks back to the trailhead also meant that we would have to cross the muskeg section once again, but this time after 14 Jeep pushed through it earlier. As imagined, the conditions were a lot more difficult than the first pass requiring a majority of the Jeeps to be recovered from the almost alive muskeg, including the ARB Jeep JK requiring it’s Warn Zeon 12-S winch several times.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited navigating the Muskeg a second time.

The ARB Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited navigating the Muskeg a second time.

After an eventful day of off-roading, it was back on the pavement on the way to our night’s stay in Fairbanks to clean up the Jeep and stock up for the next day’s adventure.

The end of the Stampede trail.

The end of the Stampede trail.

That night, we found out that the next day’s adventure would be to drive to the most northern part of North America that can be reached by car, Deadhorse – Prudhoe Bay.

Click here for Day 4 & 5 of the Nitto Tires JK Experience Alaska