So finally, after 2 years of thinking about it and planning it and molding our lives around it, we arrived at our dream-now-a-reality. Thirty days in the Alaskan wilderness, just us.

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Inside the float plane.

We were dropped off on Lake Telaquana in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. We stayed the first night in an abandoned cabin (free to use and first-come-first-served via the National Park) – it was in a good location for the pilot to land.

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Thank you park volunteers for maintaining this cabin.

After staying in the cabin, the goal was to find a camp spot. Welp we had a pretty difficult time finding a spot for the small tent, let alone the tipi. According to the park volunteers that have lived on the lake for 20 years, the vegetation has increased A LOT since they moved here. It was difficult to bushwhack through – either thick, tall alders on top of knee-deep spongy ground or marsh land. There also wasn’t much in the way of coastline. It was either rocky or too narrow when we arrived. We found three places along the entire lake shoreline that could fit the tipi. And two of them were entirely washed away after a week-long rain storm raised the lake level to a 20 year high.

We rented an inflatable canoe from our pilot for $250 – super cheap for a 30 day rental compared to other companies. Or the alternative of trying to buy our own. We spent a lot of the first half of the trip searching for a good spot. This included packing up all of our stuff, loading it into the canoe, and then paddling or being swept along by the waves and wind. Our canoe didn’t have a keel for steering so we had the fun (or fright? the water was really cold and 400 ft deep) of spinning around like a top with a good gust of wind.

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Paddling toward the head of the lake.
Lake Telaquana Alaska
Canoe + all of our stuff.

This is us camping at the head of Lake Telaquana, which would later be entirely under water:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
At the head of the lake – great open spot, also great for flash floods.

On our way out we could see our previous camp spot was underwater:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
RIP campsite.

On the south side of the lake we found one really windy spot:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
At one point there were 2 ft waves and 60 mph winds here.

We didn’t stay here too many nights because it was windy and the bear fence didn’t work on the rocky ground.

We kept going west and finally found a great spot for the 2 week limit:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Tipi Home
Lake Telaquana Alaska
Fire ring + dining area
Lake Telaquana Alaska
Canoe pondering the sunset.

One morning we decided to go look for our next camp spot. We left our stuff inside the half-way working bear fence and canoed around for about an hour. When we were almost back to camp I saw a brown bear right next to the bear fence and whisper-screeched that information to Dan. We canoed a little further to land the boat and dammit if there wasn’t a second one too. Since they were of similar size I thought they were both cubs and the giant mom bear would be murderously loping right behind them. We had our bear spray ready and alerted them to our presence. I’ve only encountered black bear before and they always run away when you are that close. Well these guys looked at us for what felt like an eternity and then leisurely shuffled away, stopping every so often to turn and watch us.

Once we were confident we weren’t going to be mauled to death, we took a blurry picture of their butts:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Brown bear after paying a visit to our camp.

We fished a lot at the outlet of Lake Telaquana:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Dan fishing.
Lake Telaquana Alaska
One of many Arctic Grayling.
Lake Telaquana Alaska
Fish in foil + orzo and sun dried tomatoes. Also, I think I ate about a 1/2 lb of sand on this trip since the wind helped to distribute it into every meal.

We went on a five day backpacking trip from Lake Telaquana to Turquoise Lake, which I will save for another post:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Lake Telaquana is the larger, aquamarine-colored body of water.

We spent time with the park volunteers whenever they visited us in their boat:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
A motorized boat! Way easier to get around a 10 mile lake..

We watched sunsets occur at 12 AM:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
The sunset and sunrise are almost at the same time.

We cooked a lot of biscuits and pancakes:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Pancakes enjoying the view.

And beans and rice, sometimes with “processed cheese food” on tortillas. This was delicious:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Beans + rice + tortilla + cheese food product

We camped in the smaller tent for two nights to fish in a different area:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Happy.

Our last few days were spent in the abandoned cabin. There were tons of blueberry bushes behind it! So we picked plenty of blueberries, which made for some delicious blueberry pancakes with blueberry jam:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Fresh food was very welcome on day 29
Lake Telaquana Alaska
Blueberry haul.
Lake Telaquana Alaska
Pancake as a vehicle for the blueberry.

On day 31 we were picked up by our pilot, who brought us BIG MACS AND FRIES!! We were so very excited by this:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
BIG MACS – YUM. Also note the short-lived bearded-Dan.

Our park volunteer friends came to say good-bye and snap some photos to share:

Lake Telaquana Alaska
Good-bye 🙁
Lake Telaquana Alaska
Good-bye life dream.

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11 Comments

  1. Oh you’re killing me. What a gorgeous place. Pictures look incredible. Fishing in the place with those mountains in the background and wild blueberry pancake! I have been reading about Lake Clark NP and its lakes for a while. Seeing you guys enjoying Telaquana Lake made me want to visit even more. Well done with the post. 🙏

  2. Excellent posting and great photographs thank you for sharing…. although I found that once you partake of Alaska’s wonders they will remain with you the rest of your life.

    • Yes, it was definitely the trip of a lifetime. And we only scratched the surface, there’s so much to see next time!

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