After a good night sleep on an abandoned campground at MP65 of the Richardson Highway I make my way to the road towards McCarthy. Early on I meet a young woman on one of these small foldable bikes and a huge backpack and camping gear attached. She doesn't seem like talking but I am very impressed!

It reminds me on what you would read on most of the travel blogs. "Go with what you have! You don't need all the fancy equipment." I generally agree with that! She will get the same views and expiriences as I do on probably a fraction spend on gear. However, I would also very certainly say that investing in some parts of your gear is well worth it. I would say the sleeping kit [recovery is super important for me and you can save the most weight] would be my main priority to get good gear [and I am quite sure she did]. Also, go second hand if you have the chance. Somewhere between 30 and 40% of my setup I bought this way.

Speaking of gear I mentioned a few times that I cook on a small hobo stove [I might go a bit into detail with that at some point but am to lazy right now].

My dear friend and pathfinder expert seemed to have sincerely enjoyed making fun of me on a call last week [in a friend to friend sense of course], when I confessed to him that I would occasionally use some drops of my denaturated alcohol to start the fire when it is very wet or I forget to collect some natural fire starters in the woods. [you just know how to get the best of me 😘]. Since this is not supposed to happen a second time, I declared it my utmost important mission today to always have some spare natural firestarter with me. That's why I collect a ton of dry birch bark and also find a tree that is releasing loads of resin that I can collect and store. Mission accomplished!

Close to the small town of Chitina I have a nice potatoe mash as my lunch cooked over 99% naturally started fire [I discount 1% for using a lighter]. I mainly would eat pasta, rice and potatoe mash for lunch but by now have completely switched the rice for potatoe mash. I don't really fancy the rice dishes and potatoe mash is far smaller in packsize while even having more calories than the quick boiling rice. It's also very nice to combine with basically everything and you only have to boil water and lunch is ready.

Energized I set out on McCarthy road which is basically a lonely 100km dead end gravel road. My favorite scenery is just 2km in where Chitina River is yielding into Copper River. I again struggle to describe and stick to the style of a loose chain of expressions: Two fairly large streams yielding into each other forming almost a lake in the middle, they create enormous sand banks so that it looks like 100 streams would yield together, sorrounded by steep mountain walls. Beautiful! The rest of the road to McCarthy is mainly forest, occasionally interrupted by beautiful lakes and wetlands.

After the first decent kilometers the road degrades more and more and I expirience the first real washboard road so far. I find 15km/h to be the sweetspot. With that speed I feel at least still like a construction worker operating one of these jack hammers to crack concrete. Enything faster feels more like my shoulders or wrists could pop out of their sockets every second.

I am not more hungry today, than on other days but I seem to look like it. A nice guy stops and hands me an enormous muffin [I'd say at least double from what we consider a muffin in Germany]. A few minutes later Mark stops next to me after he turned around to excuse himself that he dusted me while passing me from behind. What a nice guy! He bribes me with Reeses and a water refill and invites me to his house where he is harvesting fresh vegetables. He leaves me with directions and heads off. I surely want to give that guy a visit and see how he lives out here.

With the difficult road I won't make it to McCarthy today as intended. So I set up camp with around 40km left for tomorrow. It's just 9:30PM but in the thick forest it's already to dark to be comfortable. I declare 9PM as my cutoff time for the next days.