21 July 2014

Missing in Alaska Without a Trace

In a fascinating look at the scores of backcountry hikers, mountaineers, hunters, boaters and just plain folks who go missing in Alaska - and there's a lot of Alaska to go missing in - Alaskan writer Craig Medred details a few more recent stories.


The Nabesna Ranger District of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is an easy place to get lost. Sprawling east from Alaska's Richardson Highway across big river valleys, brushy hillsides and the desolate Nutzotin Mountains all the way to the U.S. border with Canada, the district covers 5 million acres, an area almost twice the size of Yellowstone National Park.

Along the district’s northeastern border, lonely Alaska Highway 1 runs for 125 miles east from a backwoods gas station and convenience store at Gakona Junction to join the Alaska Highway in the comparative metropolis of Tok, population 1,258. Another 145 miles south from there along the Alaska Highway, the only road connecting the 49th state to the rest of the country crosses the White River, so named for the color of the massive load of sediment it moves north from the heart of the Wrangell-St. Elias Park and Preserve past the northern edge of Canada's Kluane National Park and Reserve on the way to the Yukon River.
...Spread across almost 38,000 square miles of mountaintops, glacier ice, forests and slopes thick with brush, the Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek World Heritage Site is larger than the state of Maine and far wilder.

Far, far wilder.

Nobody knows for sure how many people have gone into the wild here and never come out.

Read the whole thing.


Cathy said...

I guarantee you, Rev. Paul.
My name would never end up on a 'Missing In Alaska' list. I'm so cautious . . that I set me GPS when I head out for the local Kroger's store ;)

Rev. Paul said...


Old NFO said...

Yep, some on purpose, some not... and nobody REALLY knows...

Well Seasoned Fool said...

While nowhere the scale of Alaska, one foggy day found myself completely lost in the Unitah Mountains North of Vernal, UT. Rookie mistake, went out without a compass. Came across a road, and followed it downhill. No harm, just a very long day.

Rev. Paul said...

Very true, NFO. Most are simply ... gone.

WSF, it can happen to the best of us, despite our best intentions. I'm glad your mishap wasn't serious.

ProudHillbilly said...

People talk of Gaia and how we should just live with nature, but nature will kill you in a heartbeat and not even burp a bone out later.

Rev. Paul said...

PH, that's an extremely accurate statement, and shows a great deal of learned wisdom. Thank you.