Video and Photo Epic: Trail Hunter - Alaska

Aug 31, 2015
by I Am Specialized  

Views: 39,492    Faves: 587    Comments: 29


When Matt Hunter met a stranger in the Mexican backcountry, there's no way that he could have guessed that the chance encounter would lead him to exploring the wilds of Alaska by bike years later. After all, the area is better known for its vast, picturesque landscapes and diverse wildlife, of which Matt and his friends saw plenty of, not its trails. But as Matt and his friends found out, Alaska doesn't do anything in moderation.

This is the count for AK

Featuring:
Matt Hunter
Matt Miles

Music:
“Pay The Road,” by Shakey Graves

Production:
Directed by: Matt Hunter & Matt Miles
Filmed/edited: Matt Miles


Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesRon told me there was good riding in Seward. That was an understatement. - Matt Hunter

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesClimbing and hike-a-biking up an unknown corridor and being greeted by a pristine alpine lake surrounded by snow capped peaks...pretty hard to top that, especially when Hunter pulled out ice cold beer! - Harookz

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesWe basically just chased a rumour all the way here and we lucked out big time. - Matt Hunter

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesAll the locals had massive handguns, all we had was a rainbow tied to the downtube. - Matt Hunter

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesWhen you look back on an adventure it's always the things you could have never anticipated, whether good or bad, that really hold the memories. - Robert Butt

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesFor me these trips aren't always about trying to get the best shots or filming in the best light. They are about riding as much as we can, seeing new places, riding with new people and bringing a camera along the way. There are not many words to explain the great experiences that we had. I am just glad to be able to press record once in a while and capture the moments. - Matt Miles

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesYou definitely want to pack light, but not leave out key essentials. An abundance of energy sources like Clif bars, smoked oysters and nuts, along with freeze-dried dinners, kept our fuel tanks topped up. A bivvy took up very little real estate in my bag, yet provided a dry, bug-free sleeping quarter. The jet boil was our workhorse in our outdoor kitchen. Flask full of whiskey supercharged our spirits through the long grinds. - Harookz

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesPeck taught me to pan for gold and at the same time he managed to tell me about 10 epic stories. Badass dude. - Matt Hunter

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesI expected Alaska to be big and wild, but it delivered way more than its reputation promised. - Matt Hunter

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotes24-hours of daylight made it feel like we were there for double the duration of our trip. Sunset dinners past midnight allowed us to capture more in a day then we're typically used to. - Harookz

Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz
Trail Hunter - Alaska images by Harookz

bigquotesAt one point I was hitchhiking and the first van that I saw picked me up. I didn't even have to wait. And the guy gave me a cold beer. What else can you ask for? That pretty much sums up Alaskan hospitality for me. - Matt Hunter



MENTIONS: @Specialized / @munter / @harookz / @mattymiles



Posted In:
Stories



98 Comments

  • 267 2
 Matt Hunter embodies the spirit of mountain biking better than just about anyone. Amazing article!
  • 26 1
 Hunter always living the dream...That lucky sumbitch! The mountains are in Miles' blood too...I used to work with his Dad, a true Mountain Man kinda guy and super chill. Ride on Boys!
  • 14 42
flag whatyousaid (Aug 31, 2015 at 8:27) (Below Threshold)
 This looks amazing, but would really like to know the routes traveled. Names of trails, mileage, elevation gain/loss and amount of hike a bike involved.

While pictures and videos are great, a trip report without any trail beta is LAME! Just pictures don't tell the whole story, what did you actually ride is what I want to know.

Im assuming one of the trails they did in Seward is the Lost Lake trail which is 14 miles out n back with 2000ft of elevation gain/loss, that could probably be done in a couple of hours.

Looks like they prob did a few rides in the Bear Creek area as well ...Devil's to Resurrection?
  • 3 0
 Home is the best!!!
  • 16 2
 @whatyousaid If you got spoon-fed all the beta where would be the adventure in finding it? Smile
  • 3 16
flag PierVI (Aug 31, 2015 at 11:48) (Below Threshold)
 After I went to Nepal I can say that a lot of this pictures are "fake", for sure are great trips but not "The Dream" like the photo wants to tell.
Just a thing, Did anyone ever try to enjoy a singletrack with 7-8 kg on the back?
  • 5 1
 @whatyousaid you unfortunately missed the point of this article or any of Matt's adventures. He's not about names of trails, mileage, elevation blah blah blah. This is simply about riding. Matt could possibly have ridden laps on the same 2 mile trail, camped for a month in the same spot--but the point is the same. Get away from the mileage and elevation crap and just ride.
  • 9 9
 @delusional not so much interested in getting spoon-fed beta as I am perfectly capable of doing my own research and putting together trips. But I find the trails/ miles/ and elevation some of the more interesting things when reading about trips.

Yeah you can make photos look like you are in the middle of Alaska and out in the middle of nowhere but were they really? Im sure these trails are some of the locals typical rides that could be done in a few hours. Not hating as the photos and trip look like an amazing time.

p.s.

here are the trails they rode:
www.mtbproject.com/trail/5522780/devils-to-resurrection

if you scroll down on the mtbproject page you can see the other three rides in the area ...most can be done in a few hours....hardly a multi day epic if you ask me
  • 6 12
flag whatyousaid (Aug 31, 2015 at 12:37) (Below Threshold)
 @reignonme what inspires me is when people go out an ride and put miles on their bikes and climb huge mountains on their bikes....I don't care that you pedaled 2 miles and got a pretty photo.

When I see these reports I do get excited and then want to check out the same place because it looks epic, but when i find out that in actuality these guys pedaled and camped overnight on a trail that could be done in a few hours and they try to sell it as a multi day trip I just have to call it out as hyped marketing BS.

If you guys want to eat it up then have at it.
  • 5 1
 @PierVI : It is the dream. We rode the same areas/trails this time last year, and it is straight up amazing. Sucks for you if it isn't your dream, but so be it. I'm already dreaming about going back!
  • 4 1
 @whatyousaid : some could be classified as "semi-epic" at least. We rode some of the same trails this time last year, and I can vouch that it was most certainly an authentic, adventurous backcountry biking experience.

A "multi day epic" is anything that you cause to be a multi-day ride / camp. I'd say that their trip probably fits that bill. If these trails / photos don't get you excited, then leave them for others that are. I certainly had a blast riding in Alaska, and got all of the adventure I was looking for.
  • 3 0
 @whatyousaid I do hear what you're saying, but in this case I don't think they're pretending that this was a multi-day self supported adventure. They're pretty clearly not riding with multi-day loads on their bikes, they're using different shelters in different shots, and the list at the top even mentions sneaking 32 beers into packs - so lots of re-supply taking place!

I totally love the big multi-day stuff, and a little bit of info about the stats does help give some perspective to those adventures, but there's space in the world for different videos. This one sits somewhere in-between an average shred holiday and full on bike-packing adventure, and I'm OK with that. Everything has it's place.
  • 3 0
 You can definitely string together a multi-day epic on these trails with shorts bits of road riding in between. Go check this out: kenai250.wordpress.com 250 miles total and 200 miles of singletrack. That's definitely in the multi-day epic category!!
  • 1 0
 Matt's the man alright. Feels like that video was a lost chapter from The Collective.
  • 3 4
 I agree with whatyousaid. I always appreciate the logistics of a trip because that is the true spirit of anything "back country" mountain. You got to be prepared and stacked with the needed information. Who better to help us than someone who has just rode there.
  • 2 2
 @ldhbaker Think what you want.... but next time read before answer.
These are photo shoots to make you dream, not a report of a trip.
That's what we try to said...
  • 73 1
 Matt Hunter is the most inspirational person in MTB world, at least for me. I would give all my money, job and girlfriend for such experience. (just kidding, I have no girlfriend, lol)
  • 2 0
 1st step made, now give me your money and job and you're living a dream mate Razz
  • 1 0
 I'm working on in mate, just need to finish my studies Smile
  • 18 0
 Into the Wild. With a happy ending.
  • 15 0
 More of this please!!! I'll happily accept shameless Cliff keyword /logo placement (and Specialized of course) as a completely fair exchange for awesome free articles like this Smile
  • 12 1
 Yer man, I met up with these guys out on the trails. I was heading back in after an epic bikepacking loop called Coolio Comoras. Matty Miles whipped out a cold can of IPA for me. What a dude. Lael and I ended up camping the night with them, spinning them stories about the big A.
  • 1 1
 Is that spelling right on "Coolio Comoras"? Just trying to find some info on it online and not turning up anything.
  • 3 0
 SOrry, incorrect spelling. I'd had a few moonshines hahaha BOOM
  • 11 0
 ``when I see a bird, I sometimes ask myself why it stays instead of just going for a jurney, since he could discover the whole world..
...Then I ask myself´´
I don´t know who the actual author is... but he was asian..
  • 9 0
 Without question this is my favorite style of riding. Self-supported backcountry epics with friends, and fishing. Earn your turns and be rewarded with adventure and even a good little downhill from time to time. I'd take a trip or two like this each year over a free Whistler bike park season pass, any day.
  • 8 0
 I had the chance to see Matt hunter in that bike shop while I was renting some bucket-o-bolts hardtail. After riding to the Lost lake and back I saw his crew unloading from there RV at the trailhead with their camera gear and bikes I would trade a kidney for. What I'm trying to say is, I'm famous.
  • 11 0
 That picture of the plant is borderline psychedelic
  • 5 0
 Well, they were on serious trip, weren't they?
  • 10 0
 A video to go with these photo's?? such a threat along my monday morning coffee
  • 2 0
 such a treat*
  • 9 1
 I am totally amazed at how remote and untouched this area is. in europe there is a village or a road or a hut every few kilometers. in alaska there is nothing but nature and wilderness ... just beautiful.
  • 2 0
 Fat fingered the downvote button my bad, i totally agree, so much of the western territory is wild, hopefully it stays that way.
  • 2 1
 Not just Alaska @roliK... pretty much 90% of North America is like that. That's why we're weird.
  • 7 0
 And I m still there, behind my sreen. What am I waiting for ?
Awesome adventure. That goes to my "To do" list, hoping I will really live something like that once !
  • 9 0
 most expensive tent I've seen - Epic article!
  • 7 0
 Yep,$7000 tent poles.
  • 2 0
 yep and it doesn't keep the mosquitos at bay!
  • 8 0
 what a good way to start the week, thank you pinkbike.
  • 5 0
 thank you for the bitchin' write up of the great state that i am from. the door is always open and me and my boys are always down to ride. ak hospitality is second to none..
  • 1 0
 Completely honest question: do you guys ride with weapons, concealed or holstered or in backpacks? Not stirring up sh*t, I really want to know.
  • 2 0
 Very few ride with more than a can of bear spray. I have seen some people packing though.
  • 1 0
 Not to speak for crazy, but I've seen his pics. He rides with a big ol can of bear spray in his bottle holder.
  • 8 0
 Best article ever.
  • 7 1
 gwin's cool but hunter has the best specialized rider gig
  • 2 0
 oh man, beautiful, reminded me of some of my formative years lived in beautiful Montana, watching this behind an office desk is tough, very...very tough. I am still young and the gf and I are still fighting the battle to liberate ourselves from the 9 to 5 jobs, but just an advice to the guys still not out of college, please do as much as possible to stay away from the corporate world, be your own boss, own your own business, even if it means staying away from the bike for a few seasons, invest in your future, there's lots of opportunities nowdays to own a business and not be stock behind a desk. These pictures were a great inspiration to not give up. Thanks PB.
  • 3 0
 This is mountain biking. Forget the wheel size, the suspension layout, the boost hub.. None of that matters, just go pedal around outside. I love these pieces more than anything on Pinkbike.
  • 5 0
 I really want to see Matt Hunter and Joey Schusler get together and put out a feature length movie!
  • 5 0
 What a truly affecting bit of content. Best photo epic I've ever seen.
  • 1 0
 Hello.
I got some friends who would love to do a trip like this.
Is there anyone here who can give us some tips on which dates will be best suited to do a trip like this. Is it late in the summer, or is it possible earlier in the summer as well?
  • 2 0
 Did it late august / early september last year and it was primo. Probably rideable starting in late June or early July, but fewer bugs and better weather later on in the summer. It was snowing up in the alpine about a week or two into September there last year, though.
  • 2 0
 It depends a lot on the snowpack...Some years its not snow free till July and others its ready to go early June. I would avoid mid july through mid to late august as some trails can get quite overgrown. Lost Lake is one that doesn't get overgrown, but can have snow linger late into summer.
  • 2 0
 I would take September snow vs June bugs any day of the week.
  • 3 0
 Guys it monday! then again, thx for starting the week with awesome trails, epic views and some sweet tunes!
  • 4 0
 Amazing pictures! That is some beautiful country!
  • 5 0
 E.P.I.C.
  • 1 0
 Amazing photo epic. Rode Alaska last year, and it blew us away as well. So, so much better than expected. Seward alone was worth the trip - some of the most accessible and bike friendly alpine riding we've seen.
  • 3 0
 Lost lake trail Resurrection pass trail Devils pass trail Crescent lake trail Russian lakes trail
  • 4 8
flag whatyousaid (Aug 31, 2015 at 12:18) (Below Threshold)
 ^thought so, thanks polarflux ....these are trails that get ridden all the time by local mountain bikers in a few hours. I don't like how they made it look like a multi day epic trip through remote Alaska terrain. Basiclly they took a trail that could be done in a few hours and did it in multiple days...but hey I guess thats what you gotta do if you want to get epic shots.

next time post the trail beta and be upfront on what trails you rode and i won't bust yer balls Smile
  • 6 0
 Johnson Pass might be in there also. Yeah, I hear what you are saying. Thing is, I have ridden all of the trails in the last four weeks, but surprisingly they all look different to me from the perspective of the lens. I just usually knock em' out and don't have much time to linger. We have so much untracked alpine in this state and I often moan about how it would be nice if there were more trails here or there, gnarlier purpose built stuff, etc. because I've ridden all these trails numerous times. Its nice seeing these trails portrayed this way because it reminds me of how truly special the trails we already have are.
  • 4 0
 whatyousaid, each of those trails can be ridden in a day, or they can be linked together for some amazing multiday riding, with a quick mid ride stop for some BBQ if you're timing is right. I've done it both ways. It's incredible riding either way, especially with the weather like we had around solstice this year.
  • 4 0
 Matt Hunter Has the best job ever!
  • 4 0
 This article: 1 - My cubicle: 0
  • 3 0
 Lost lake trail is my favorite all time trail. So fun.
  • 1 0
 Amazing trip and including these lovely pics I'd love go somewhere in the next year of Polish mountains. Simply traveling from spot to the another one.
  • 1 0
 I literally learned to mountain bike on this trail! So stoked to see Lost Lake and Ron get the attention they deserve. Best Trail in Alaska bar none.
  • 2 0
 Alaska - the RAD Frontier, Matt Hunter - Epicurean MTB king, together = GOLD.
  • 1 0
 Matt, if you need someone to ride with on your next trip like this, I'm your huckleberry. I'll make the time. Awesome video and photos.
  • 1 0
 In April of '98, I quit my awful paving job in NH and headed to Alaska. I got a job with the Forest Service living on and building these very trails! The AK itch is back.
  • 1 0
 Alaska looks like it can really make or break you. One day ill face my fears of flying and roam like these guys
  • 1 0
 Peck is an absolute legend. The stuff that everyone seems to forget these days.
  • 1 0
 The music from the Lone Wolfe video started playing in my head when this page loaded Big Grin
  • 2 0
 This is awesome, I'm feeling so inspired right now.
  • 1 0
 This just made my day! The visuals are totally epic and inspiring! Thank you boys!
  • 1 0
 This just made my day! The visuals are totally epic and inspiring! Thank you boys!
  • 2 0
 Once again @harookz absolutely kills it with the photos.
  • 2 0
 Truly epic...
  • 1 0
 This is the perfect example of a "one in a lifetime bike trip".
  • 2 0
 so freaking awesome
  • 2 1
 666!我很喜欢speciaized的eoduro
  • 1 0
 Hell Yeah, Great coverage of my home state! Great Job guys!
  • 1 0
 what i would give to join this guy on one of his trips..
  • 1 0
 we get the best content on here. the quality is astounding. truly
  • 1 0
 Every "Trail Hunter" it's better than the previous one !
  • 1 0
 Incredible!! culture!, you are a genius! congratulations.
  • 1 2
 my #1 pet peeve in videos: walking through water with riding shoes on
  • 2 0
 I often submerge at least one of my shoes on my weekend runs. After a couple of hours it's not much wetter than the non submerged one Wink
  • 1 1
 very beauty
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