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VIDEO: Skiing and skating from Aniak to Dillingham

Tara Young

Filmmaker Luc Mehl and his friend Derek Collins decided to ski from Aniak to Dillingham through Wood-Tikchik State Park in southwestern Alaska. Their 250-mile route took 14 days to complete and was completely self-sufficient. What's more, they only spent $105 on airport fees and white gas.

The trip was a way for the two friends to traverse the landscapes of their youths. Luc grew up in McGrath, a remote village with a population of 500 off the road system on the Kuskokwim River, and Derek grew up in Dillingham and in the village of Aleknagik at the southern end of the Wood-Tikchik lakes.

Since it's been such a dry winter, Mehl was concerned about snow conditions, and he put out a call to friends to see if there was enough snow to ski the route. According to Mehl's website, "Alan Dick, a family friend from Lime Village, told me about the cat-track to Cripple Creek mine. Eventually a low-snow plan emerged ... we’d put tech ski bindings on Nordic ice skates for the Aniak River, then jump up to the cat-track once there was enough snow."

The highlight of their adventure was ice skating 50 miles of the route on Nordic skates. It was an epic adventure on a route through the raw wilderness of the Alaska landscape.