I am so happy I hiked the famous Donjek route in Kluane National Park with Max as my guide. The Donjek is one of the most challenging hikes in the area, and I had it in my mind to hike it faster than the typical 8 to 10 days. Max did an amazing job mapping out a way to complete it in 7 days, with contingencies built just in case of course. And that even though we took the purist approach: hiking from and to the Alaska Highway, rather than driving up an old mining road for the first few kilometres on either side.
Max had prepared great home-made, dehydrated lunches and dinners that were super tasty and provided just the right amount of energy for our long hiking days.
This route features impressive scree descents, elevation gains of 1,000 m in a day, bushwhacking through thick brush (sometimes aided by game trails), and big creek crossings. We took care to stay safe and be mindful of the risks we took and manage them well. We both drew on considerable hiking experience in remote back country to accomplish this; and we worked well as a team.
Of course, long hiking days do come with long breaks in an extraordinary landscape. So, I never felt rushed even as we put in significant mileage each day.
I was also impressed by Max's excellent map reading and way-findings skills. We never had to back track, between the map and satellite GPS readings.
Having the opportunity to do this hike with Max - just Max and myself (!) - was truly remarkable. This week in the remote Kluane back country will stay with me for a long time to come.
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