Alaska Glacier Expedition

Exploring glaciers with snowmobiles


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Alaska's mighty glaciers as seen from the air.

All photos copyright, Bill Caid 2014. All rights reserved.

The Trip

I was invited to join Dan, Kai and Roberto at Dan's mountain cabin near Summit Lake in central Alaska to go snowmobiling.  The locals refer to them as "sleds" or "mountain sleds" and these are racing snowmobiles with low weight and high horsepower.  Just the right combination of attributes for a rank amateur like myself to get into trouble.

Our plan was to rally at the San Diego airport and then fly to Fairbanks via Seattle, WA.  The flight was easy and not totally full.  Dan met us at the airport and we headed out for the mountain cabin located near the Gulkana Glacier at Summit, AK.

I found this map of the area online.  It shows the Gakona and Gulkana glaciers as well as the route to the McLaren River.

Tracking Our Location Via The SPOT

Some years ago, after a scary mechanical failure in the canyons and mesas of southern Utah, we decided that we need a better way to advertise our position and call for assistance if needed.  Kathleen found out about the SPOT which is a GPS locator that transmits your coordinates via satellite so that others can see your location.  The location is plotted on Google maps and a "bread crumb" feature is available for an additional fee.  We have the enhanced service, so you can see our historical path back 50 updates or so.  See our current location plotted on Google Maps in Real-Time via SPOT satellite geo-locator device.  This page is "book-markable" and is updated approximately every 15 minutes, but may miss updates due to inability of our transmitter to reach the satellite.  The communication is "open loop" so the device never knows if it's messages are actually going anywhere, it just keeps trying until the next update is available.  If we are in a congested urban area with high buildings (like Manhattan) or in deep canyons, the position may not update.  We try to send an "OK" message once a day just to let everyone know that we are, in fact, OK.

Connecting and Contacting Us While on the Trip

Because of internet connectivity issues on a previous trip, we purchased a MiFi cell phone modem that allows us to connect nearly anywhere there is 3G service via cell phone (which is most of the cell phone service area available today).  But, as we all know, cell phones are useful many places, but not everywhere has coverage, particularly in the remote areas of the western U.S.  Our phones and the modem are enabled daily so you may contact us, although it may take a few days for us to respond.  But, we will respond.  My email, spelled out, is "bcaid at yahoo dot com".

Trip Details

The link table below contains links to the photos and dialog for each of the days of the expedition.  This table will be updated as the trip progresses.

Links to Daily Adventures
Part Dates Adventure Locations
San Diego, CA to Summit Lake, AK
Glacier Running Part 1
Glacier Running Part 2
McLaren Lodge
Gulkana Glacier Part 1
Gulkana Glacier Part 2



Back to Bill Caid's Home Page.

Copyright Bill Caid 2014