The Wrangell St. Elias Wilderness
You wake each morning immersed in nature’s exuberance. The unnaturally long, brilliant days of an Alaskan summer are bursting with life.
Here in the heart of the wilderness, a hundred miles from the end of the road, bears roam glittering sandbars. Moose feast on wild vegitation. Dall sheep tread their ancient mountain paths and eagles soar from cliff to spruce.
The Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains
Stretching from Canada’s Yukon Territory to the Pacific Ocean, Wrangell-St. Elias national park is part of the largest protected land mass on earth. But most people will never see it.
Although the land surrounding Ultima Thule Lodge is deep in a national park, it is utterly inaccessible and almost entirely unvisited.
There is only one way to get here.
When you come to Alaska, people ask you “Who are you flying with?” And even if you’re a skilled pilot with your own private plane, there’s just one hamlet deep enough in the mountains where you can buy enough fuel to reach this hidden valley.
Flying over these peaks, in weather this unpredictable, requires an experienced bush pilot. You want someone who grew up in a cockpit. You want Paul Claus.
An Adventure Each Day
There's no itinerary. "Wilderness," says Paul Claus, "is the unexpected. We let nature lead us, so every day is different.
“We may fly up into a mountain valley, or put you down on a sandbar at the edge of the forest, and take you on a hike that literally no one has ever done before.”
“No human being has ever stood here,” says your guide.
You stand on the rocky peak of a mountain with no name. The sun is warm on your back. The glacier here is receding, and the stone beneath your feet has only been bare for a few days.
Glacial runoff thunders down from the mountain in a massive waterfall. Vast clouds of vapor glitter in the sunlight. You watch as the glacier calves a huge, jagged shard of ice, and it drops down into the valley below...
crashing into the Chitina river. You’ll drink that tonight.
Behind you, the two-seater Piper Super Cub waits silently, its steel propellor glinting in the sun, its massive, rubbery bush-wheels perfectly suited for a landing at the top of the world.