I could easily create a list of 10 bucket list trips and that would only be fishing based destinations but where is the challenge in doing that? I wanted to make it hard on myself and limit it to 3 trips with only 1 being fishing related. Keeping with the overall theme of the site the 3 trips are what I would consider “outdoor” trips.
I am defining this as a trip in which hiking, paddling, camping, climbing or observing wildlife would be heavily involved. So, without any more preamble (you should hear me talk, according to my wife I am the King of the Preface!) here is my list
Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
The book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer really imprinted on me. Something about Christopher McCandless's journey and desire to get away resonated with me at the time I read it. In general Alaska is a place that has me spellbound. I love the Last Alaskans TV show and I really enjoyed the book Call of the Wild by Guy Grieve (my review here Call of the Wild by Guy Grieve). My plan is to fly to Anchorage, rent a car to drive to Denali and then spend 12 days camping, hiking and camping my way to the Wonder Lake Campground. In my mind I would do this with my daughter, my brother and his kids but realistically it may be a solo journey so I will need to do a lot of prep. Overall, I believe its around an 170 mile trip so I/we would need to average about 14 miles per day which I think is doable. There are also buses that run up and down the park road so if need be, we could shortcut the hiking a bit.
Sutton River Brook Trout Trip
This trip has been inspired by two of my favorite fishing writers Mike Borger (Mike Borgers Sutton River Journey) and Andrew Bunker aka Moosebunk (Moosebunks Sutton Journey). In most cases this is a 9 to 10 day paddling and camping journey down the Sutton River through Polar Bear Provincial Park in some of the world’s most prolific brook trout water. Yes, you could and most likely will see a polar bear! I would book the trip through Hearst Air Service (Hearst Air Sutton River). They provide your air service in and out and supply a canoe. You are responsible for bringing a tent (they advise that it be taller than a polar bear), GPS and all of the other paddling trip provisions. The idea of travelling down the river fishing some of the best brook trout waters in the world is just very appealing (and scary) to me. I have had the pleasure of emailing a bit with Andrew Bunker and his overall comment was that any idiot can catch brook trout on the river (I have never caught a brookie). He also mentioned that some basic paddling and camping knowledge is required but you do not need to be a veteran of long distant paddling trips. Something about this type of trip makes me think of Mark Twain or Eric Sevareid or Sigurd Olson books and I want in.
Its probably apparent by now that many of my trips are influenced by books that I have read. When I was a child my Grandfather (read more about my Pop here My Outdoor Origin Story) gave me a copy of Wilbur Smith’s A Time to Die and ever since I have dreamed of an African Safari trip. I realize this is a bit of stretch on the “outdoors” theme but I would be lying to myself and to you if I didn’t list this trip. Tucked away in Tanzania the Ngorongoro Crate is a World Heritage site. The crater is connected to 2 large Game Preserves, Serengeti and Maswa. Many consider it one of the finest places to view African wildlife due to it being more difficult and expensive to access. The park is home to all of the African Big
Five (Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard and Black Rhino). While camping in the park isn’t an option (and really with all of those animals around who wants to) you can stay in lodges and do some glamping. From the research I have done I would like to stay at Lemala Ngorongoro Camp or if money is not an issue Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. This would be a family trip and I think my daughter who shares my love of all things wild would enjoy it just as much or more than I would.
While I hope to do all of these trips (better start saving or win the lottery) if I was a betting man I would guess Denali would happen first. I say this because another fantasy of mine is buying some form of RV when I turn 50 and driving from Ontario to Alaska (via Yellowknife) is something I would also love to do – but that’s another post…
PS I am NOT sponsored or affiliated with any of the brands or products in this post but I am so open to it!