Archive for the ‘Backcountry Travel’ Category

Snippets of information related to travel in the backcountry.

Backcountry Photography

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Shower Camp Camera Cover from Expeditions Alaska on Vimeo.

Hey Folks

I thought this video might be both entertaining and useful to visitors to the website. Here, Andy Seeger shows off his fashion-sense and creative ingenuity with ‘Shower Cap Hat’ – a cheap workable solution to protecting your camera gear from bad weather on backpacking trips. Backpacking is ALL about compromise; weight, bulk and space, durability, multi-use, etc … these are things to consider when packing for your trip.

Rather than carry an expensive and heavier camera rain cover, a cheap plastic shower cap fits perfectly. it’s lightweight, packable, durable, light and easily available. What’s more, as Andy says, you can even get water with it. 🙂 (more…)

Choosing Your Backcountry Campsite

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Backcountry campsite in the Chugach mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve. From the Iceberg Lake to Bremner Mines trip.

Backcountry campsite in the Chugach mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve. From the Iceberg Lake to Bremner Mines trip.

Hey Folks

Here’s a short post with some tips for you on picking a campsite in the backcountry.  Why a post about picking a campsite? I think it’s useful because many folks overlook this part of a trip, as most people are (typically) so used to backpacking and hiking on trails in the Lower 48 states that it doesn’t really occur to them until it’s time to set up a tent. And by then, it’s too late.

Your campsite is your home, albeit ever so temporarily, and it’s well worth taking a couple of steps toward setting up home for the evening in a setting that you enjoy. Backpacking all day with a heavy load through rugged but beautiful mountains is hard work, and an important part of the trip, to us, is enjoying a great campsite. What makes a great campsite?

Firstly, it needs to be “low impact.” Essentially, low impact campsites are those that don’t leave undue stress on the landscape, or on other visitors to the park, both while you’re camped there and after you’re gone. There are a number of elements that are important, and I’ll stress a few of them here (this is not a comprehensive list). (more…)

Canning River Rafting Trip, ANWR, Alaska.

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Rafting float trip, Canning River, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

I’m super excited to announce the 2008 Canning River Rafting trip in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR this coming July. We’ll be leaving Fairbanks on June 29, and don’t return until July 14 .. 4 solid weeks of exploring and traveling in the arctic is hard to beat. Room is a premium on this trip, so it’s wise to get in early. 2 people are already booked, and we won’t have more than 5 people on this trip, plus 2 guides (if the trip is full), so definitely start making preparations!

The trip will include flying into ANWR, to the headwaters of the Marsh Fork, in the heart of the Brooks Range, just on the north side of the Continental Divide. The Upper Marsh Fork is pristine mountain terrain, and we’ll spend some time exploring and hiking the peaks and valleys to see more of this region as we make our way north. After a couple of days we join up with the Canning River, continuing through the Brooks Mountains – spectacular country. We go through 2 very cool canyons; they’re short but really neat little canyons. Sometimes Dall sheep are in the area, and caribou, grizzly bear, wolves and wolverines too!

Gradually, as we wind our way north, we reach the coastal plain, which is seemingly endless. The Canning and the Staine river (pronounced Steen) lead us to the coast, where we’ll see the arctic ice pack, just off shore, the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean. We’ll visit the renowned Bird Camp, and hopefully get some great opportunities at photographing migratory birds that visit the area, including tundra swan, shorebirds, sea ducks, loons, and maybe even snowy owls. Arctic foxes and red foxes are in the area, and we’ll also see arctic terns as well. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is famous for 2 herds of caribou, the Porcupine Caribou Herd and the Central Arctic Herd, and we have a good chance of seeing either as they make their way along their migratory routes.

We’re allowing plenty of time for this trip .. so we won’t be pushed for time, we’ll have lots of free time for hiking and photographing and exploring along the way. We’ll try to get around in the best hours for wildlife viewing and landscape photography, as the midnight sun allows 24 hour travel. A trip to ANWR is always a treat, and I can’t way for summer to roll around and to get back up to this incredible place.

Rafting is the way to travel in ANWR, we’ll cover lots of ground with little effort, there are very few rapids at all, it’s a great float down the river. We will do some hiking on both the coastal plain and in the mountains, but with the raft we can get ourselves and all our gear over 100 miles northward with far less effort than a regular backpacking trip would require. Campsites abound along the way, and we’re sure to have a blast. The weather in the high arctic is typically dry during the summer, so it’s a trip that’s hard to beat. Contact Expeditions Alaska for more information.

Cheers

Carl

Winter in Alaska

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Snowshoeing, winter, in the boreal spruce forest, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Just a quick note to let you know I’m still around. As you can see, I’ve been getting out a bit, over in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, and there’s plenty of snow around to keep things interesting. It was nearly minus 50deg F a couple of weeks ago, and skiing and snow shoeing was a task. But I did manage to get out every day and enjoy the woods.

The winter is absolutely amazing in the Wrangells, and though the weather can at times be somewhat adversarial, it’s so worth the experience. Fortunately, the road in to McCarthy is reasonable this year, though it does have a few glaciers across it that require caution. If anyone’s headed in to the park, bring some chains, though so far they haven’t been requisite. Do bring snow shoes, skis a hat and gloves!

Anyway, I’ll try to get back to posting information as I have time. I hope you’re all have a good winter, and getting in shape for a big summer backpacking season. It’ll be here before you know it!

Cheers

Carl

Last post for a while.

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Hiking and backpacking on the Kennicott Glacier, near McCarthy, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Just a quick post to say I won’t be around much for the next while. I’ll be in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park shooting for my book project, and so won’t have a lot of time or internet access to update the blog, but will do so as I’m able. Feel free to comment or post, or email me if you have any questions, and I’ll definitely reply as soon as I am able. I’ll try to check in at least every few days or so, depending on the availability of email access. Be patient. 🙂

So, for now, stay warm, and enjoy the rest of the winter.

Cheers

Carl

Photography and backpacking.

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Hiker on the broad open coastal plain of arctic Alaska; ANWR, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

As I’m updating the website, I’m redoing the Image of the Month pages, and won’t be writing content on the old (now deleted) pages – so I’m going to transfer some of the past notes I’ve written on the image of the month pages to the blog, that way it’s all in one place, searchable, and much better organized. Here’s another piece I wrote a while back about backpacking and photography. Some of the issues are how to pack camera gear, how to keep camera gear weight down, the hassles of digital cameras, and how to ‘get your shots’. (more…)

Kennicott Glacier, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Kennicott Glacier, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a photo I took of the Kennicott Glacier, not far from the small town of McCarthy, in Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska. I was exploring the west side of the glacier, which is much less frequently hiked and travelled than the east side. But, with a little luck and some perseverance, I found a few places I managed to scrape out some decent photos. Hiking around glaciers require care, particularly if you’re hiking solo. I guess hikign anywhere, anytime, requires care, but particularly solo trips. That said, I do love being out exploring the backcountry on my own – it’s a particular way of connecting with the land that is immeasurably different to trips with other people. (more…)

Backpacking off-trail, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Backpacking near the Copper River, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

I’ll talk here briefly about one of the issues people seem to have backpacking in Alaska. Sure, trips can be strenuous and hard in terms of endurance and cardiovascular fitness, but a more common issue for people is hiking over uneven terrain. For those folks who are used to backpacking and hiking on trails, such as in the Lower 48, the trailess mountains of Alaska pose a new challenge. One of the things some people struggle with is hiking over a moraine, or a talus slope, like this one here. A moraine is a glacial formed pile of rocks. Sometimes, that pile might be huge, miles across. Sometimes it’s much smaller. A talus slope, such as this one overlooking the Bremner River near where it joins up with the Copper River in the Chuagach Mountains, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, is usually formed by a rock slide. Talus and scree are actually the same thing, but talus usually is used to refer to larger rocks, and scree smaller stones. They’re often unstable, because (more…)

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Owner and guide Carl Donohue.

 

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