The Alaska Tracks-pedition
I was excited to hear I would be the proud owner of the first set of American Track-Truck wheel tracks ever shipped to Alaska. I was even more excited the first time I put them on and did a few hot laps around my neighborhood. I couldn’t wait to get these things out on some trails…and I had a plan…
My ’06 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon is a daily driver and weekend wheeler. It has about 2¾” of lift and 33” tires plus a winch and some beefed up body armor. I don’t have a tow rig and didn’t want to be tied to a trailhead anyway, so I had to come up with a way to drive the Jeep to the trails, swap tracks on, wheel it (or would you say track it…?), and then swap back to tires. I call my home-built trailer the snow bunny. It’s built on an early 90’s Dodge minivan axle flipped upside down for ground clearance, light truck leaf springs, steel square tube frame, pintle hitch for offroad abuse, plastic composite decking, and best of all, fenders that become skis.
> My brother flew up from Wisconsin for this trip. We’re both originally from Minnesota and are in the Army. I’m in the Band and he manages a transportation section but spent many years as a M1 tank mechanic, meaning he can pretty much drive anything with wheels...and many things without. We got to Paxson, the east end of the Denali Hwy without incident and swapped on the tracks. With the two of us working together and very little practice we got them on in about 40 minutes.
The next morning we went the rest of the way to Cantwell, 136 miles total in two days. We drove through fresh deep snow, around and across overflow ice, falling snow, blowing snow, encountered a caribou herd, moose, and dozens of ptarmigan. All in all, an amazing trip.
On day 3 we headed up Petersville Road, an extremely popular snow mobiling area about two hours north of Anchorage off the Park’s Hwy at Trapper Creek. We tracked up in a crowded parking lot, again getting many positive comments, curious questions about the tracks, and a couple pictures taken. For this one we left the trailer in the parking lot.