By Anne Murphy, Client
In the summer of 2017, we went on the magnificent Journey to Oz with superguides Jason and Cody. It was the most amazing experience, and we wanted more – but perhaps with a little less daily mileage. We explained what we wanted and for 2018 Gaia organized a trip for us out to the Mt. Jarvis area of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park with guide Chris, and wow! What an experience!
Chris drove us to Devil’s Mountain Lodge in Nabesna, where we were treated like royalty by owners Gennie and Kirk Ellis. They told their wonderful stories about life in Nabesna, introduced us to their delightful dog Rosie and to other interesting and kind guests, and encouraged us to eat far too much excellent food, including moose! Chris inspected our packs for excess gear (it was all excess gear, as it turned out), Kirk flew us in to the Jarvis area, and the adventure began! We had an amazing time camping on a high plateau under Mount Jarvis, moving camp every couple of nights, which reduced the amount of backpacking and allowed us to explore the area without packs.
Chris taught us a lot of skills (or made best efforts, anyway); we hopped around on a glacier, watched caribou, waited for huge chunks of ice to fall down the mountain, and looked for flowers and wildlife. It was so beautiful! We were a little worried that we might gain weight, as Chris was the best camp chef imaginable. He cooked better food, with fresher ingredients, than we had managed to find anywhere in Anchorage. Dessert every evening, and huge, frequent meals. But it snowed every day except one, which might have helped.
After 6 days on the plateau we returned to Lodge Luxury at Devil’s Mountain, and again relished great conversation, comfort, and still more fabulous food. Chris took us on a last hike, and we saw many Dall sheep. There was really nothing we didn’t love about this trip, and we will DEFINITELY be back to SEAG when we can for another backcountry experience!