This short video was taken on the Skolai Pass Phototour, fall 2009. We had a great trip, some great weather, some great people, and loads of fun. This particular afternoon we put in some miles hiking out along the Russell Glacier toward Mt Bona and Mt Churchill, to awesome peaks 16 000 and 15 000 feet high, respectively. The Russell Glacier runs right up to the north face of Mount Bona, and inspiring sight.
We had a fantastic hike, enjoyed lunch on the high flat plateau, and then walked back toward camp at Chitistone Pass for the afternoon, and to shoot the evening light on the mountains. And, I must say, we had a simply unbelievable evening, with gorgeous alpenglow on the mountain peaks. It was a lot of fun being in the right place at the right time for some photography. That doesn’t happen everyday, but when it does, it makes al those hours and miles worthwhile.
This trip is always a lot of fun, and everytime we do it the trip is different. In 2009 we ran the trip in July and then again in early September. Both groups were tons of fun, with good people, good food and good times. we had excellent photo opportunities on both of trips, yet both were very different. We concentrated more on landscapes on the latter trip, and were blessed with amazing light and weather much of the time. The first trip in July we ended up shooting a bit more wildlife, which was a blast. We saw a golden eagle swoop by camp nearly every day, and I’m still kicking myself for not managing to make a photo of that incredible experience.
The fall trip we covered some miles; we did a lot of hiking, with some very strong group participants, which was fantastic. Up early every morning, we shot the sunrise, had breakfast, then dayhiked most of the time, until heading back to a predetermined destination for the sunset. It was really a productive trip, and I must thank the folks on the trip for their willingness, if not eagerness, to really jump in and work hard. Especially thanks to Doug Roane for the loan of his camera. My camera simply stopped working the 1st morning of the trip, and Doug was kind enough to loan me his backup body. Thanks Doug.
Just as an indication of how productive the trip was, we were sitting on the ground, cameras out and firing away within 20 minutes of landing. The plane dropped us off at Skolai Pass, we unloaded, the plane departed, we ran through a quick safety talk, shouldered the backpacks and hiked maybe 300 yards before finding a small Least Weasel running through the brush. The packs were dropped, cameras grabbed, and we had a blast shooting the little guy. I had my first photos of a weasel from Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, and we weren’t even half an hour into the backcountry. Awesome stuff!
The music on this video is “Avalanche”, a song written by Shawn Colvin. This snippet is from a recording I made a few years ago with a good friend of mine, Steve Lusk. He’s singing, and we’re both playing guitar. Steve sings this song so great.