Well I'm home again from another amazing 2 wheeled adventure, this time to Alaska! I (Eric Porter) went there with Kelly McGarry and Chris Van Dine, and we spent 2 weeks camping and riding. We also had Harookz shooting stills, Don Hampton on video, Alec Cattarin on POV, and Carlos Crowl (DHA) as our amazing guide. It was an amazing experience to say the least, we had a blast! The trip started out strong, as soon as we left the airport, we looked out the window of the truck to see the northern lights (aurora borealis) dancing around in the sky, it was pretty unbelievable, just this quickly moving and changing mass of green light all the way across the sky.
The second night was quite the opposite, we returned from a late dinner at the Salmon Bake restaurant and during dinner the coulds had opened up into a torrential downpour. The original plan was that we were all camping in a 1950s army wall tent. However when we got back from dinner we all found our sleeping bags pads and pillows sitting in a small lake which used to be known as the bottom of the tent. That was a miserable night, we all split up between sleeping in the rental van, the guide's pickup truck backseat, and his toy hauler trailer where all the bikes were.
Looking back it was a good way to toughen us up for the rest of our time in AK, dealing with pretty much all the seasons each day. It was beautiful up there with amazing views all around, and we watched the fall colors coming out while we were there, it was full on fall by the time we left. We also saw some great wildlife; bald eagles, moose, and fox just to name a few. We didn't see a bear the whole time, but they were around, we saw tracks everywhere, and didn't go anywhere without our bear bell and bear spray. You can see my backcountry toilet in one of the photos!!
Another unique experience was that Jason, the owner of the Salmon Bake bar and restaurant invited us to ride across the bar one night to put on a show for his customers, I thought this was a pretty fitting thing to do with my bike considering my homebrew beer graphics! So we all took turns riding around up there and threw some tricks off the end, pretty sweet! It was an extremely tiring trip with all of the time we spent hiking ridgelines with our bikes, working on trails, and of course riding every day. We ended up eating a ton of Clif Bar products throughout the day to keep us going, since we usually missed lunch because we were out on the hill.
On the last day we ended up lucking out with the weather and getting an amazing sunset, which enabled us to finish shooting at this really cool zone with some awesome berms and a couple big jumps. As the light was almost gone I finally stomped my big trick for the trip that I had been saving till the end because of the danger factor, and it couldn't have been more golden light when I did it! As soon as it was done I sprinted down the hill to the car, immediately took apart and packed my bike, and drove to the airport arriving 1 hour before my flight, just in time! All in all it was one of my favorite trips I've ever been on, and I'm sure I'll be back next year!
Big thanks to Haro Bikes, Gravity, Clif Bar, and Contour HD for making this happen! Also thanks to Jason (http://www.denaliparksalmonbake.com/) for all his help, and my wife Megan for all of her local AK knowledge. I apologize for the photo quality on some of these as they are all iphone photos, you'll have to wait for the article and videos to see the real thing, this is just a teaser!