A 4x4 Adventure To Knik Glacier
The Knik Glacier is located 50 miles northeast of Anchorage, near the quaint town of Palmer. Situated on the northern edge of the Chugach Mountains, the mighty Knik is one of the largest glaciers in south-central Alaska, and if you want to see it, there are four ways of getting there: hike, fly, boat, or drive. I teamed up with Eddie Angel, former owner of Northern 4x4 Suppliers, and a group of his buddies who decided to drive there in full-size trucks.
Eddie Angel is no stranger to extreme 4x4 adventures. I first met him in the year 2000 when I was on assignment for Four Wheeler. He had won a trip from Warn Industries for being a top seller of winches and other 4x4 accessories. We got to know each other while wheeling through the jungles of Malaysia in the Warn Rainforest Challenge, where we dodged king cobras, tigers, and herds of wild elephants along the trail. Eddie and I soon became great friends as we learned how to remove leeches from our bodies with lit cigarettes. Ed returned to the Rainforest Challenge as a competitor the following year in his built TJ and placed well in the event.
These days, Eddie and his buddies from Alaska wheel through the backcountry of the 50th state with moose, wolves, and grizzly bears acting as spectators. He invited me to join him once again for an off-road adventure, this time to the Knik Glacier.
I hooked up with Eddie and his band of brothers at 6:30 a.m. at the Palmer Chevron for fuel and supplies. From the station, we headed out towards Butte on the South Old Glenn Highway and made our way to the Knik River, where we quickly found some extreme off-road action. While acting as our team leader, Eddie crossed the first river tributary in his built 2003 Super Duty crewcab shortbed. The rest of the boys followed Eddie's lead and carefully navigated their rigs through the dangerously deep water.
Driving to the Knik was probably the hardest of the four modes of transport, since getting there by truck required traversing 10 miles of some of the toughest terrain in the state, plowing through rivers, mud bogs, gravel pits, and sand bars. By mid-day, our built-to-the-hilt 4x4s proved worthy as we drove right up to the face of the towering Knik Glacier, a behemoth river of ice 28 miles long, five miles wide, and more than 1,000 feet thick . We climbed out of our rigs to have a picnic lunch while we admired the awesome scenery. This was one of the most demanding 4x4 adventures I've experienced in a long time, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to wheel in the wilds of Alaska.