Previous Next

Photo: madpai

When it comes to adventure sports, some people climb mountains or skydive from space. Others, like Andrew Skurka, take off on insanely long hikes.

ON MARCH 15, 2010, 29-year-old Skurka left for a 4,700-mile hike around Alaska, which is being called the Alaska-Yukon Expedition. The hike will take approximately 7 months to complete. Skurka will use skis, foot and a packraft to complete the journey.

The trek will cross into six U.S. national parks and two Canadian national parks. Skurka will also spend time hiking in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Alaska Range and the Brooks Range and on the Iditarod and Chillkoot Trails. He’ll also have to float on the Copper, Yukon, Peel, and Kobuk Rivers.

Throughout the course of his hike, Skurka will only cross eight major roads. He anticipates covering 24 percent of the expedition on skis, 28 percent by packraft and 48 percent by foot.

Skurka is not a novice to long-distance treks. According to his website, he has hiked more than 23,000 miles since 2002. On his resume of extreme hikes are the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail, 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, 6,875-mile Great Western Loop and 7,778-mile Sea-to-Sea Route.

His ability to complete 35-45 miles a day is in part due to his ultralight packing strategy. The packraft, for example, weighs a mere 4.5 pounds.

Despite being so remote for the majority of his hike, Skurka’s adventures will be updated via a blog at National Geographic Adventures as well as a Twitter feed at @andrewskurka.

Community Connection:

Andrew Skurka isn’t the only person currently chasing a personal hiking milestone. For more inspiration, follow the story of blind hiker Mike Hanson, who is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.

About The Author

JoAnna Haugen

JoAnna Haugen is a freelance writer, former Peace Corps volunteer, globetrotter planning her next great adventure. Journey with her on her travel blog and follow her on Twitter.

  • Hal Amen

    This guy seems like a media pro in addition to being a badass hiker.

    • JoAnna

      I know! How crazy is it that this guy has a blog and a Twitter account! I guess cell service and social media are redefining what it means to be remote!

  • Eva

    Dude! Give the Yukon some headline love! :D It’s not called the Alaska-Yukon expedition for nuthin’.

    More seriously, saw your tweet about this and it blew my mind. Having just driven through a lot of the terrain he’ll be covering on his eastern swing, I have some vague sense of just how insane this trip is. Wild. Should be fun to follow along.

    • JoAnna

      So much of the ground he’s traversing is serious wilderness – crossing only eight major roads over the course of 4700 miles?! Researching this piece and reading Andrew’s website has made me anxious to get up to Alaska and explore some of the back country.

  • josh johnson

    Yeah… I think i have found my new hero…Skurka, will you sign my back pack?

    • JoAnna

      I hear you there. The next time I think I don’t want to walk the mile and a half to the grocery store, maybe I’ll think again.

  • Pingback: Brainrotting Ep 16 – Rio De Janeiro to Belem

  • Carole Milstead

    Geez, JoAnna, I live in Alaska and I didn’t know we have 8 major roads…..

Hiking is South Korea's national pastime. Hike, climb and scale frozen waterfalls with...
The Inca Trail is a very realistic goal, even for inexperienced hikers.
A celebration of the high places of the world, in photographs.
My family came over winter break to backpack the 87-mile Paine Circuit.
Robin explores the ice-covered mountains of Iceland in this trekking adventure.
A mini-documentary on the most beautiful mountain hike in the world.
One final technique requires the aid of a friend.
People create culture. Thus, remote and sparsely populated places are somewhat devoid of...
My first experience cramping up mountain biking was met with a slimy ziplock bag of...
Trekking to EBC takes you through some of the world's most epic landscapes.
Tips for successfully crossing rivers on foot, alone or in a group.
Monica Prelle climbs to one of Ontario's highest points and steps to the edge.