Be Careful What You Ask For...

I said I missed winter, right? Well winter is what I'm going to get. I just checked the ten day forecast for Fairbanks on and the near worst-case scenario from the travel books and websites seems likely to come to pass.

All the advice for traveling in Alaska between Anchorage and Fairbanks in the winter, or for any trip along Alaska's highways in winter, calls for some pretty major planning. Should something happen to you or your car or the highway while you're driving in Alaska in winter (whiteout, closed road, avalanche, icy conditions, crashing into a moose or extreme cold), it is possible you could be alone for a protracted period of time, perhaps two or three days. So in winter, it is absolutely necessary to bring survival gear that will allow you to survive for up to three days inside your vehicle until help arrives. But this is not car camping. You have to be able to protect yourself from three days of extreme cold, possibly -40 degrees or colder.

A basic survival situation in extreme cold requires sleeping bags, blankets, matches, candles, high energy food, water and a way to melt frozen water, insultated and water proof clothing to keep you warm and dry, face protection, a shovel, ice scraper, tire chains.... You get the idea.

While I'm in Anchorage and south of Denali, the temperature will be fine, in the teens and 20's. However in Fairbanks, where I'll be spending three days, the highs will be in the -10's and the lows are forecast at -30. Great. And I've also got a dogsledding trip planned when temperatures will not be above -15. So I guess I'll really have the chance to put all my new Helly Hansen and North Face gear to the test, won't I?

So once again, the old adage is proven true: Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.

Thanks for reading.


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