I had it easy at the end.
Because who would have thunk? The Bering Strait is a strategic military location. And with anything military, comes money. A lot of it. Enough to build a nice road to the end. I followed it.
It wasn't long before distant lands began to appear over the horizon. No kidding. Sarah Palin was right! You can see Russia from here!
The road ended. This was it. The Bering Strait.
I had to think for a moment. Do I have to go in? Hmmm. My finish point was the Bering Strait. But I had dry shoes! This never happens in Alaska. Maybe I can end on land? Hmmm.
Fuck it. I ran in and made for Russia.
And immediately hopped back.
Ha! I did it! I actually walked across Alaska.
My diet is a serious matter. People don't believe me about what I eat every night.
I absolutely need my half pound of a certain veggie. Deep fried. And salted. Various flavors optional.
For candy? No less than eight ounces. Preferable sour.
Alaska forced me to give up the potatoes. Not enough pack real estate to blow it up it with the goods. But no candy was not a possibility.
However, this was the last carry and the shortest. And I've been running deficient on my magic diet, so I had a special delivery made. For pounds and pounds of the necessities. Now I'm ready for the end. And for the nightly one-man party in my tent!
When you're walking across tussock-land, you quickly learn one thing – if you can jump in your packraft, you do it. Three inches of water. Yep, that's plenty for my toy boat. As a result, I found myself happily floating down the Goodhope River.
It's a slow river, a shallow river, and a salmon river. The perfect river for grizzlies everywhere!
I saw the first one along the slope downriver. Cha-ching! Bear #5 on my trip. I kept paddling towards him. He eventually noticed me and noped out of there. Somewhere.
My alertness heightened as the water was quite low. Low enough for a grizzly to easily go packraft fishing. A moment later, I encountered a large, brown creature fishing in the river. Whoa! I came to a full stop.
Is this the same grizzly? It couldn't be. This one didn't budge at all and stood his ground. Yeah, Mr. Grizzly, I ain't going to portage. I instead whipped out my camera. He wasn't feeling the paparazzi treatment and finally ended the stare down. Yeah, I win!
I continued paddling. My alert level was now to the max after back to back grizzlies.
Cha-ching! Bear #7 incoming. I spotted him a distance away downriver. He was a biggie. I had no choice but to paddle in for a closer look. This one was so busy munching on blueberries, he never even noticed my doing his photoshoot. Whatever. I continued paddling.
Cha-ching, ching, ching! Jackpot!! Bear #8, #8.5, #9. A mother grizzly bear and her two cubs.
Okay, now it was my turn to nope the hell out of there.
But she saw me.
Every boat needs a name, right? Billionaires do so with their yachts. And I'm told I need to do the same with my yacht-ish inflatable.
The name needs to be the right one. It needs to be quirky but uber cool. Or else my boat may decide to throw me off and float away as revenge.
It took me some time, but I narrowed it down to two finalists: Pokemon #7 and #8. OG series.
I choose – Squirtle!
I should really be scared. I'm all alone. I haven't seen anybody in forever. I have no way to call for help and no way to be contacted. No villages exist anywhere close. No roads or infrastructure. Just the absence of man's existence.
In every direction, the mountains stretch as far as I can see. There's nothing here but – pure wilderness.
And me. With everything I need in my pack. Going across nowhere. Across Alaska.