Alaska Survivor Experience
All adult survivors 18 and older, grieving the loss of a loved one who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, are warmly invited to join TAPS for an exploration of the breathtaking terrain around Anchorage, Alaska.
Through our shared experience, we will immerse ourselves in local culture, gain valuable insight about traditional healing practices of indigenous Native Americans, and experience the natural wonders of the awe-inspiring area. We'll have the opportunity to feel the exhilaration of hiking up to the summit of Gold Star Peak. Our journey will take us kayaking across Portage Lake to see where the glacier and water come together. Participants will leave empowered to continue their loved one's legacy through creative endeavors, with a fresh perspective on life's challenges and cherished memories with fellow survivors.
TAPS Outdoors provides outdoor skills-based events that require dedication, preparation, and a real sense of adventure. For this Survivor Experience, we will stay at Beach Lake, near Eagle River, Alaska, and enjoy time together in its lodge and rustic cabins. The nearby lake, river, and hiking trails will offer everyone unique ways to connect with nature's healing power.
Leading up to the event, we'll gain familiarity with each other through virtual team meetings to discuss preparation, gear lists and more. Your team will be a source of encouragement as you prepare for this adventure and an ongoing support network long after the experience is complete.
While each Survivor Experience is unique and rewarding, they can also be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging, offering an opportunity for exploration or revisiting valuable experiences in the outdoors. We hope you'll apply to join us after you've taken some time to consider your current physical and emotional strength and resilience.
Your team will spend each evening at Beach Lake. There are two rustic cabins with electricity, a wood stove, and each has room to sleep four. The lodge can sleep six more in its main living and dining space (with fireplace), has a standard kitchen, and bathroom with shower. There are also two vault toilets nearby and an expansive deck area with a firepit. The lake has a dock as well as kayaks and paddleboards.
There will be team meetings via conference call or video chat that are mandatory for participants. You will have access to our Facebook group, which will include participants from this event, as well as those who participated in previous TAPS Outdoors events so you can ask questions and learn from their experience.
This adventure will begin for Team 1 on July 11, 2021, and for Team 2 on July 18, 2021, when everyone arrives at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. We’ll gather at the Beach Lake Lodge and get to know each other over dinner. The first day will begin with a hearty breakfast and include an exploration of the surrounding Beach Lake area. The next day we’ll hike together up to the summit of Gold Star Peak. The third day will find us kayaking on Portage Lake to explore its shoreline and glacier. We will have an opportunity to learn more about the wildlife and conservation efforts of the area as well as spend time together to reflect on the week’s adventures. Team 1 will depart on July 16 and Team 2 will leave on July 23. We’ll learn a lot about each other and ultimately create a bond and fellowship that only time spent in nature can provide.
This is a tentative schedule that could change or minor adjustments made for a number of reasons, including weather and participant skill level.
We fully expect your team members to become your family and an ongoing support network long after this TAPS Outdoors Survivor Experience is complete. You'll be provided with a directory following the event to keep in touch with each other.
No previous hiking or kayaking experience is required but you should be physically fit and healthy. The climb up Gold Star Peak is physically demanding and will be our only event that day. Even if you don't have backpacking or kayaking experience, and this adventure excites you, then we encourage you to submit an entry form by May 15, 2021. The TAPS Outdoors team will help prepare you!
To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest you engage in a regular exercise regimen, like the stair-master or walking up flights of stairs, leading up to the trip (simple stretching does wonders!). Prior to the trip, we'll have a conference call and online video meetings to go over training, gear lists, and more.
The total cost of this trip per individual is $450. Each participant is also responsible for transportation to and from the start point at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and any lodging expenses and desired meals prior to and after the event.
Entry forms will be open from May 1 to 15, 2021 (look for the TWO buttons at the top of this page at that time for the specific dates / team you wish to join). Entry forms will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so you can expect a call within a week after the application window closes. If more entry forms are received than we have slots available, we will do a random selection from qualified entries.