Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category

Alaska National Parks, photos and blogs about various parks in Alaska, including wildlife refuges, monuments, forests, places.

Pebble Mine and Protecting Pebble Creek

Friday, January 20th, 2012
Brown bears at Brooks Falls, in Katmai National Park, watch a spawning Sockeye Salmon attempt to leap up the waterfall. Brown bear, or grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Brown bears at Brooks Falls, in Katmai National Park, watch a spawning Sockeye Salmon attempt to leap up the waterfall. Brown bear, or grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Many of you may or may not be aware of this critical issue. A proposed open-pit mine in Alaska, in the heart of the Bristol Bay watershed, potentially threatens some of the wildest and vital land in Alaska. The salmon fishery of Bristol Bay is one of the world’s most productive fisheries. It is also the pulse of a vibrant and productive ecosystem that’s home to the great coastal brown bears of Katmai National Park and surrounding regions. The bears we love to see and photograph grow fat on the riches of spawning salmon. The bald eagles that gather in the thousands every summer here thrive on spawning salmon.

The proposed mine, the Pebble Limited Partnership, would create a “10-square-mile-wide containment pond are intended to hold between 2.5 billion and 10 billion tons of mine waste that Pebble would produce over its lifetime”, a 700′ tall dam wall and several miles in length. One of the largest mines in the world, it’s expected to span a 20 mile swathe of Alaska State land. The acidic nature of the waste would require environmental treatment and monitoring for years to come. The potential devastation if something goes awry here, in the land of frequent volcanic and seismic activity, would be immeasurable. (more…)

Wrangell – St. Elias Trip.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Mt. Sanford photo, at dawn, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Mt. Sanford, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Wow, what a great response to this; I so appreciate everyone taking the time to enter, and especially those who shared the offer around the web. Thanks so much.

So, to cut to the chase, I’ll announce the folks who were drawn here:

1) Adam Wolf/Christina Smith

2) Patsy Lascha/Charles Fry

 

Update: Feb 14, 2012. Unfortunately, the above folks had to cancel. I drew names again, and the following people are confirmed and heading up to visit next month:

Ryan Wright, Paul Robison, Jim Wheeler and Doug Garnhart. It should be a blast and I look forward to meeting all these folks.

It was so cool to hear from people with such a clear passion for the great outdoors and particularly for Alaska. This is definitely a special place, and it’s great to see so many people who are attuned to that.

And that’s it. I’ll try to persuade them to maybe send me a photo so I can post it here and you’ll all get to see who these people are. And we’ll definitely have some photos and videos with a full trip report posted in March.

Thanks so much, and I really wish you all a great year for 2012.

Cheers

Carl

PS: Edit, 4pm – Folks, I’ve had a few people email me and ask about an opportunity to book a trip like this as a regular trip. If anyone is interested, please let me know. If we can get a group together, 3 minimum, we can run a trip for about $1000.00 p.p.

Brown bear photo

Sunday, January 15th, 2012
A male brown bear, Ursus arctos, approaches up river, fishing for spawning sockeye salmon, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A male brown bear, Ursus arctos, approaches up river, fishing for spawning sockeye salmon, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

I thought I’d post another image from our Katmai brown bear photo tour last fall. I’ve shot this bear for so many years now; it’s awesome to go back and revisit these bears year to year, particularly the bears that are so great to photograph as this one.

When I first started photographing this bear, he was a young subadult, just out on his own. He’s nearly doubled in size over the last few years, and now is a good size bear, though still has a number of pounds to gain before he reaches his full size.

One thing that becomes so readily apparent when photographing bears is how truly individual they are. They can be as different from one to another as we are. Some bears will walk right on by, fishing and wandering the river, with little more than a sideways glance at us, while others wont’ come close at all, and seem to always keep an eye on people around the area.

This means a lot when it comes to things like how to act in bear country; it means the generalized ‘protocols’ that we read about and hear are, while valuable, not set in stone. It’s more important to pay attention to the bear, and to closely watch the bear’s signals. than to think about some line in a book at that said “In situation A, you should do B”; hard and fast rules rarely hold true, but never more so, perhaps, than when dealing with 1000lb+ predators. (more…)

Free Wrangell – St. Elias winter ski/photography trip

Friday, December 23rd, 2011
Snowshoeing in winter in the boreal forest of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Snowshoeing in winter in the boreal forest of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A Holiday Season Special – Spring Equinox Celebration

 

Please note: – 10:00pm Jan 17th; entries are now closed. The drawing takes place the morning of the 18th – see below for details!!!

OK, this one is so simple it’s ridiculous.

In the best of the holiday spirit, here’s what I’m doing. I’m offering a free trip to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. This offer is open to any who who think they’d enjoy a trip like this. The more people that enter, the more people will win.

If fewer than 250 people enter, I’ll give away a trip for free to 2 people. If I get more than 250 people enter, I’ll give away 4 free spots on the trip.

Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. 6 nights in a backcountry cabin; days spent snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and/or hiking, enjoying some winter landscape photography, possible northern lights photography and the quietest, peaceful-est cabin you never been to. Here’s what you need to know.

The Trip

We leave Anchorage, drive 5 hours to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. 5 nights in the cabin, March 18-23, and return to Anchorage on March 24. During the day, we can either snowshoe, cross country ski, or, depending on weather and snow conditions, hike.

We’ll have the van nearby so we can easily saunter down to the van, drive 10 miles down the road, snowshoe all day, drive back to the cabin and enjoy the comfort of a wood stove, hot food and a quiet like no other. Next day, we can do the same in the other direction.

The exploratory opportunities are literally endless here. Winter landscape photography opportunities abound. This is a massive landscape; Mt Sanford rises over 16 000′ right out the window. It’s also an intimate boreal forest, for some great shooting opportunities. There’s a decent chance of seeing moose in the area, and possibly caribou. The northern lights are a strong possibility; displays are typically strongest and most active right around the Equinox, so this timing is optimal for great northern lights viewing/photography. There are never any guarantees with the aurora, of course.

Price: Normally $1400.00 per person, this year 2, or possibly 4 people get to come out for free.

Dates: March 18-23, 2012

My holiday gift and thank you to everyone who’s supported what I do.

Requirements to enter (more…)

Happiest of holidays to everyone

Sunday, December 18th, 2011
Winter in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Kuskulana River, Alaska.

Winter in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Wrangell Mountains, Mount Blackburn, Kuskulana River, Winter, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

I’d like to take a few minutes to say thanks so much to everyone for a really great year this year. We had some fantastic adventures, I met some wonderful people, and am so grateful to you all for coming out, as always. It really means a lot to me that so many people come out and share this amazing place with me. Thank you.

And I’d like to wish everyone the absolute happiest of holidays, and all of my very best to each of you for the coming New Year.

Travel safe, and travel well. Thanks again.

Cheers

Carl

Image of the Month: Dec 2011

Thursday, December 1st, 2011
Evening light, after dusk, on Mount Saint Elias and Icy Bay, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Evening light, after dusk, on Mount Saint Elias and Icy Bay, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

We’ll end the “Image of the Month” series for 2011 with a look at my favorite mountain; Mt. St. Elias. Taken after sunset from Icy Bay, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Have a great holiday season everyone, and all the best for the the coming year. Let’s make it a big one, eh?

Cheers

Carl

Google Earth; the NEW navigation?

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Hey Folks,

One topic I thought I might write about here that readers might enjoy has to do with navigation; every backcountry traveler has  had issues with getting lost, even if only briefly, and being unsure of direction. So we learn how to read a compass and topographic map. And w learn how to pay attention to our terrain and landscape. We learn about geology and landform features to help us navigate. We learn how to pay attention to the sky, and the sun. Some of us even look skyward after dark and learn to read the constellations.

More recently, we’ve acquired and learned GPS technologies, for pinpoint accuracy, and for better navigation in adverse situations (clouds and fog, flat, featureless terrain, etc).  But even this amazing GPS stuff is years old now. So what’s the “new” navigation technology? (more…)

Carrying a load

Saturday, November 12th, 2011
Hig, Katmai, Erin and Lituya, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hig (carrying Katmai) and Erin (carrying Lituya) walk along the shore of a small lake at the edge of the Malaspina Glacier, looking north toward Mt. St. Elias and the Saint Elias Mountain Range.Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s another shot from the trip recently down along the coastline. This photo was one of my first days on the hike with hig and Erin, and their 2 children Katmai (wearing his “Prince-pants”, and carried here by Hig, on the left) and Lituya (whom Erin is carrying). What a treat it was to be invited to join this great family on their adventure! So, on this particular morning, we wanted to go and explore the edges of the Malaspina Glacier, and enjoyed a gorgeous morning hike up over the moraine and out on to the ice. The farther reaches of the glacier provided spectacular views of nearby Mt. St. Elias (pictured) and the Saint Elias Mountain Range, and the amazingly expansive view over the Malaspina. Incredible place.

It was really cool to hike with Erin and Hig, both accomplished backcountry travelers, but particularly to do so and accompany them with their 2 young children. Katmai is nearly 3, and Lituya is about 8 months old. Toddlers like this are always fascinating, but watching such young kids experience the wilderness was great fun.

What struck me most, I suppose, was the thought of how great it is that 2 young parents are here spending 24 hours a day with their children. Not too many parents do I know, or know of, ever do something like this, and it was really fun to observe. Almost every waking moment of their day Erin and//or Hig engaged their children, for 2 months. The kids had a blast, especially young Katmai, who soaked up the beach, the mountains, the views, the dirt, my peanut butter, any chocolate within a half mile, and the sunshine whenever he could. (more…)

Backpacking Wrangell – St. Elias’ coastline

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
Backpacking on the coast, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Setting out for a month long backpack along the coastline of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Wow; what a cool trip this last one was. A month along the coastline and borders of the Malaspina Glacier in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park’s southeastern reaches.

This photo is my first night on the beach, right after the air taxi departed, I shouldered the heavy pack, posed for an image, and set off down the beach to find a campsite. Dark comes quickly this time of year in Alaska.

I caught up with friends Erin and Hig from Ground Truth Trekking, and their 2 kids Katmai and Lituya, the following afternoon. I spent most of the rest of my trip with them, and then the last 10 days or so in the Icy Bay area, trying to get a nice sunset photo of Mt. St. Elias from that area. Seemed like things were still getting going when before I knew it, the month was over and I had to fly back to the city. Time flies, eh? (more…)

Image of the Month: Mount Sanford Photo

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Mount Sanford at sunrise, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Sunrise over Mount Sanford, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

A quick post for while I’m away. I’m still off on the Malaspina Glacier expedition with Erin and Hig I mentioned earlier. I should be back soon, with tons of new images and stories from the trip. In the meantime, here’s the Image of the Month for November, 2011.

Mount Sanford on a gorgeous fall morning, taken back in September on our Fall Photo Tour. I hope you enjoy this photo.

Cheers

Carl

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Owner and guide Carl Donohue.

 

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