Meditation on American Guiding: Frontier Era to Now

February 19th, 2024 by Carl D
Heart of the Park Backpacking trip, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

It’s sad that opening up the book on the history of guiding opens up the book on the history of colonization. It definitely does.

That being said, there were early frontier guides that were closer to native life, and some that wanted to destroy it.

Kit Carson (1809-1868) was in the camp of the former.

In the frontier era, many guides roamed the wilderness, yet none garnered as much admiration as Kit Carson. He never made it to Alaska, but he made it everywhere else. Renowned for his pivotal role in the USA absorbing California and New Mexico, in his later career Carson led the defense against Confederate attempts to seize the nascent American West. To delve deeper into these captivating stories of how our country relied on this man to create a bi-coastal nation, I recommend losing yourself in Hampton Side’s Blood and Thunder. Carson forged close bonds with numerous tribes, fully immersing himself in their languages and lifestyles. 

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Our Newest Backpacking Trip

January 17th, 2024 by Carl D
The Wrangell Ramble, out newest backpacking trip. Join us this summer.
The Wrangell Ramble, out newest backpacking trip. Join us this summer.

Hey Folks,

As most of you folks know, we try to add something new to our little list of Alaska backpacking trips each year. This year, we have one we’re super stoked to announce.


Welcome to The Wrangell Ramble!

Ten Years in the Making. This little jaunt combines a few trips we’ve run over the years (and still do) with an Exploratory backpacking trip we crushed in 2022, and did not crush in 2021.

The Wrangell Ramble traverses a short section of the northern and north eastern Wrangell Mountain Range. And it holds something for everyone.

  1. Mountain Views? Maybe the best.
  2. High alpine tundra walking? Higher ASL as any trip we run.
  3. Solitude? Nobody goes here.
  4. Wilderness experience? One of the best.
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Denali, Mt. McKinley, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

January 16th, 2024 by Carl D
View of Denali, from a backpacking trip in Denali National Park and Preserve.

Hey Folks,

A few years ago I spent a glorious week in Denali National Park and Preserve, camped out in the backcountry at one of my favorite spots to hang – a high ridge to the north of Denali, or Mt. McKinley as it was once officially known (see this post for a discussion concerning the name of the mountain).

After too many years and way too many footsteps across the tundra, I finally happened to be in the right place at the right time. Previous trips had me wet, cold, hungry, and wondering where this infamous mountain actually was (hidden, veiled behind the infernal clouds).

This one was gloriously different.

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Must Have Gear & Other Gems

January 8th, 2024 by Carl D
Playing flute, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Fun times making music in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

Hey Folks

A quick little starter blog for 2024. Enjoy.

Must have gear

I can’t think of a single trip we run in Alaska that I wouldn’t pack a beanie for. Not one.

Favorite trip we do?

Whichever one is sunny. 

My Least Favorite weather element?

Wind. And it’s not close.

I, mean, NOT EVEN CLOSE to close.

Most commonly overlooked piece of gear for a trip?

Lip balm.

What’s the appeal of Alaska?

For me, it’s the wildness. Theres simply no place quite like it N America when it comes to raw, untrammeled landscape. That has always felt like home to me.

Snow in the Wrangell Mountains. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.



Mountains Piled Upon Mountains

December 18th, 2023 by Carl D

Hey Folks

We got a new one coming soon. Real soon. This one you’ll LOVE.

Keep your eyes posted Alaska-ward and we’ll have details on the site before too long.

Happiest Holidays and all the best to you and yours for the coming year.


Everyone at EA

The Mountains

A jumble of mountains.

A jumble of mountains, piled upon another jumble of mountains.

More mountains.

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The Southern Traverse – Totally Bada..

November 18th, 2023 by Carl D

I just love Brad’s authenticity in this unscripted, spontaneous clip. You just can’t beat how real, and how perfectly, this video wraps up this Wrangell-St. Elias National Park backpacking trip .. an absolute gem.

We call this little ridge “The Mezzanine” .. Great hiking, great campsite, and just a fantastic place to wrap up the day. Rhane saw a wolverine wander through camp here this summer.

The Southern Traverse may just be my favorite hike in the world.

Brad seems pretty stoked about it as well.



Photography is seeing?

February 6th, 2023 by Carl D
Backlit brown bear Katmai National Park, Alaska
A backlit brown bear, with a nice halo around the silhouetted body of the bear as it searches for salmon. Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
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Night Time Photography – the Test Shot

January 24th, 2023 by Carl D
Mt. Sanford, Mt. Drum, the Copper River and the Night Sky.
Mt. Sanford, Mt. Drum, the Copper River and the Night Sky. The moon rise to my left threw a nice soft light on the fog over the Copper River Basin. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

With a host of people heading north this winter/spring to photograph the aurora, I thought it might be of some interest to talk a little about the process of shooting photography at night; I know a lot of people have little experience with that, and it really can be a challenge at times. Particularly on a cold frozen night in Alaska when the northern lights start going crazy overhead.

So, the first thing I’d suggest, if you haven’t already, is read over my 3 part article on shooting the northern lights. There’s a downloadable PDF at the end of that article you can keep for future reference.

So, now that you’re prepared, consider the moment. It’s dark. It’s cold, maybe minus 20 degrees F; cold enough that your hands start to really feel it after a few minutes. It’s dark. You have a headlamp on, and that gives you a little bit of vision out to maybe 30-50 yards or so. After that, you can’t see too much at all. The aurora starts to fire up, and you want to shoot it.

You can’t see your foreground and composition. Its dark. You don’t even know if the foreground is worth shooting. It’s dark. You can’t walk around all over and use your headlamp to see, because (a) there isn’t time, (b) there are other people trying to shoot, (c) you don’t want to track up all the snow by stomping around in it. So setup your test shots. This is probably the most important part of the process. Set up and do your test shots.

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Sidehilling? What is it?

January 17th, 2023 by Carl D
Sidehilling our way up Harry’s Gulch

What is it?

I’ll tell you what it is.

It’s something we need a new term for.

The word “Sidehilling” just doesn’t really convey what it is. It certainly doesn’t convey how it actually FEELS.

When I talk to people about a trip and I use the word “bushwhacking” , they generally get it. 

It doesn’t sound fun. It doesn’t sound easy. It sounds, to most ears, downright hard.

And it can be.

But sidehilling just doesn’t carry that ominous ring to it.

Continue reading…

We’re headed to Denali

December 21st, 2021 by Carl D
Backpacking in Denali National Park

Hey Folks

Guess where we’re headed in 2022?

Denali National Park Backpacking Trip

That’s right. Good guess.

And we’re stoked about it. Rachel is leading a Guides’ Choice trip to Denali in 2022, because Rachel, a guide, chose to go to Denali. That’s how “Guides’ Choice” trips work. Simple enough.

Our newest trip we’re super excited for: Denali National Park backpacking Check it out.

Wanna come?

Hit me up.



Expeditions Alaska
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