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.
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.