Written by Russ Crispell
Question: What do you get when you combine years of experience between Earth Spirit board member, Joe Allen and long-time Alaska expedition leader Russ Crispell (Retired Director of Outdoor Pursuits at UB)?
Answer: An incredible experience in the wilds of Alaska!
Russ and Joe, along with assistance from Alex Eisenhauer (a former EMT / UB Student Supervisor of Russ’ Outdoor Pursuits Program at UB) led a dozen folks, many with previous Earth Spirit excursion experience into the wilds of Alaska this May. Literally, the group went down Stampede road and at the end, got out and took a nice hike into the wilds of Alaska just as in the famous Jon Krakauer book, Into The Wild’s Chris McCandless did so many years back.
With experienced leaders, the group ventured throughout Alaska exploring; Talkeetna, Denali National Park, Healy, Hope, Cooper Landing, Kenai River, Seward, Exit Glacier and Homer. A very special highlight of the trip was a 7-hour Marine National Park Tour viewing glaciers, humpback whales, orca, puffin, seals and more. At another daily adventure, the group went to a secret location that Russ shared giving the group a view of hundreds of eagles overlooking Cook Inlet with Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna, both 10,000+ ft active volcanos in the background!
Besides amazing landscapes the excursion provided incredible wildlife opportunities that included; Grizzlies, Eagles (100’s), Moose (dozens), diverse bird species including the ptarmigan. Rugged during the day, with cabin comfort at night, the group dined on culinary delights created by Joe and “Mama Luigi”, Christina Vitello. Lastly, as is customary with many Earth Spirit Excursions we spent a night or two hearing the sweet sounds of a guitar and Mandolin through the skills the well-known and loved, Cephus Brothers plus Little One. This August, Russ and Alex will once again lead a backpacking group into the wilds of Alaska while Jon and Joe will lead their annual Yellowstone Excursion. Bet you can’t wait to hear those trip reports too!