Rafting in ANWR; Image of the Month, Nov 2017

07, November 7th, 2017 by Carl D
Jule expertly guiding a boat full of rafters and gear down the Marsh Fork River, on our way to the Canning River, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska.
Jule expertly guiding a boat full of rafters and gear down the Marsh Fork River, on our way to the Canning River, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Wow, November is here already. Here’s an image from our Canning River Rafting trip in the ANWR this past summer. This year we took group of 6 people out in the refuge for 12 days, with 2 rafts, tons of food and we all had a blast. Fun trip, a great mix of people, and nice weather.

And because I didn’t get a chance to keep up with the blog too much this past summer (it’s many, many long stories), I’ll add a couple images from this trip for you here as well. Be sure to click the images to see a larger view.

The Marsh Fork is such a beautiful section of river, that gorgeous turquoise water is SO inviting.

Rafting the Marsh Fork River, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska.
Rafting the Marsh Fork River, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, Alaska.
Continue reading…


Tyndall Glacier, Icy Bay: Image of the Month, Oct 2017

23, October 23rd, 2017 by Carl D
Guide Rhane Pfeiffer Kayaking near Tyndall Glacier, Tan Fjord, Icy Bay, Alaska.
Guide Rhane Pfeiffer Kayaking near Tyndall Glacier, Tan Fjord, Icy Bay, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Welcome back to the blog. It’s been a long, busy and somewhat crazy season. More on all that later.

Here’s a photo of the Tyndall Glacier from our first trip, way back in June, when Rhane and I guided a Sea Kayaking trip in Icy Bay, before a week hiking and packrafting on the Lost Coast. Good times.

The trip was a blast. Saw a wolverine right by camp, had a nice batch of weather, great camping, great food, and some awesome, awesome kayaking.

The Tyndall Glacier was in the news a good bit recently. A landslide right by the toe of the glacier (out of frame on the left of your view) dumped many, many tons of debris into the Taan Fjord and on top of the glacier. A Tsunami several hundred feet high resulted, scouring the fjord and completely redrawing the landscape. It was amazing to get back to the area and view some of the carnage. I’ll write a review of that for you later. Incredible what power that wave wrought.

Look for more coming blog posts here over the next few months. The season has wound down a bit, and I’ve time to catch my breath and update the blog. until then, enjoy the view.

Travel safe.

Cheers

Carl


Icy Bay kayaking, Image of the Month, June 2017

04, June 4th, 2017 by Carl D
Sea Kayaking in iceberg filled Icy Bay, Wrangell - St. Elias National park, Alaska.
Chuck’s ready to go Sea Kayaking in iceberg-filled Icy Bay, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska. Click on the image for a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

No paddling today!

LOL .. woke up this particular morning a few years ago to see all these icebergs washed up on our shore. We’d been paddling in clear open water the night before, not an iceberg in sight. Fortunately, a few hours later, the tide came in, and all these ‘bergs were soon gone.

Good times.

We’re heading down to Icy Bay again next week, and have a few trips this summer, so I thought this might be a nice Image of the Month to start off our summer 2017 season.

See ya there.

Cheers
Carl


Bald Eagle: Image of the Month, May 2017

01, May 1st, 2017 by Carl D
Bald eagle photo, Haines Alaska, Chilkat River.

Hey Folks,

Here’s an image from last fall. The Bald Eagles Photo Tour on the Chilkat River always provides something interesting. It’s a matter of patience, of letting the moments come. And they do. Always.

Space available this fall if you’d like to join us.

Fun fact: bald eagles aren’t really “bald“. The word “bald” comes from the old English “balde” which means “white“. Referencing, of course, the classic white head of the adult American Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus Ieucocephalus.

Cheers
Carl


Protect the Arctic

16, April 16th, 2017 by Carl D
Rafting down Canning River, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge rating trips, ANWR, Alaska.
Jule guides a rafting down the Canning River last summer.

Hey folks,

A nice short video of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from We Are The Arctic a grassroots coalition whose mission is to raise awareness for and protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Excellent cinematography that highlights the beauty and the wildness of this special place.

It’s always a treat to return to the refuge. Our 2017 trips to ANWR are full but we’re open to helping you plan a custom trip or scheduling a trip for 2018.

Cheers
Carl


Favorite Week Long Hiking Trips in Alaska

14, April 14th, 2017 by Carl D
A favorite hiking trip, Goat Trail, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska
Hiking up to Hole in the Wall, on the Goat Trail, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park.

Hey Folks,

But what’s a weeklong hike?

Hiking trips in Alaska are a little bit different to hiking elsewhere. Alaska itself is a little bit different.

It’s bigger. Wilder. Harder.

Hiking in Alaska is harder than what you’re used to. Most correctly, I’d suggest that hiking in Alaska is substantially harder than what you’re used to.

That is the ultimate caveat to this question. What are the best weeklong hikes in Alaska?

Well, best for who? My buddy Todd did a weeklong hike last year in the Alaska Range and he covered 185 miles. So a weeklong hike for a ridiculously fit, ultra light speed freak is probably not going to be the best weeklong hike for you. Or for me.

We’ll look at 5 days hiking time. There’s every possibility you’re going to need at least a day travel either side of the hike getting to and from your AK destination to your trail head. And if your hiking trip involves a bush flight, or two, that could easily be more.

So here are a few of the best hikes or hiking areas for a week long hiking trip in Alaska. Continue reading…


Welcome to the new Website

07, April 7th, 2017 by Carl D
Gates of the Arctic National Park Alaska.

Backpacking trip to Arrigetch Peaks in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.

Hey Folks,

How about that? All shiny and new updated with code from this century and looking a whole lot better. Don’t you agree?

It’s been a while in coming, but I FINALLY got the website redone, from start to finish.

Design

I needed a responsive design for the site. Previously I had been using a separate website for the mobile version, which meant trying to update and maintain info and schedules and details on 2 separate sites. A recipe for disaster. It also meant visitors would often see two different versions of a page or pages and that doesn’t go over so well.

A responsive design means this one single version of the website adapts to screen size and operating devices. It’s pretty fiddly. It means images don’t always nest as I’d like them to, or display as sharply as I’d like them, or might be cropped and so on. But it makes things a lot easier to read on the phone all the way up to a larger 30 inch monitor.

It also means I went big. Wider, larger images look a whole lot nicer. I wish I could set it up so it’s only viewed on a 24″ or larger monitor. I’ve checked the site on my 15″ laptop, my iPad, my phone, and my desktop computer as well. The desktop wins. By far. Continue reading…


Northern lights Photo, Image of the Month, April 2017

05, April 5th, 2017 by Carl D

Alaska northern lights photo, aurora borealis photo tours, Alaska.
Northern lights over the White Mountains

Hey Folks

After a couple of weeks doing little but shooting northern lights and enjoying the company of some wonderful guests I suppose it’s appropriate that I post a northern lights photo for this month’s Image of the Month.

So here it is.

This one was one of the final images taken on one of the most incredible nights of aurora I’ve seen. The peak of the activity just prior to this was absolutely incredible. I shot this with my 14-24mm lens on my D750. I’d been shooting with my D4s and 24mm f1.4 lens beforehand, and really wanted the wider view. So as the lights wound down I took a minute to grab my other setup and take a few images. Glad I did. Continue reading…


Gear Review – Rain Gear

05, April 5th, 2017 by Carl D
Backpacking rain gear Wrangell Mountains Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

This isn’t your typical gear review. It’s more my commentary on rain gear and the failings of waterproof breathable rain gear.

I’ve bought and worn dozens of rain jackets over the years. Literally, dozens of them. Right now on the rack beside me as I type this I can count 11 rain jackets. Eleven.

It’s a bit ridiculous. I have everything from my old Aussie Dryzabone to my most recent Outdoor Research Goretex jacket I bought last year. Whatever your jacket, chances are good I’ve owned at least one of those.

And none of them, I mean none of them, work like I want them to. In fact, it’s fair to say none of them work like they did when I first bought them.

It’s been my experience that the magic of waterproof breathable technology is in the DWR (durable water repellent) coating. I don’t know what kind of black magic voodoo those manufacturers employ, but that stuff is astonishingly good. Continue reading…


How big is a polar bear?

07, March 7th, 2017 by Carl D
Large adult male polar bears can weigh over 1400lbs. Polar bear, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.

Large adult male polar bears can weigh over 1400lbs.

Seriously? How big?

We’ve all heard polar bears are the largest terrestrial carnivore, right? We’ll side-step the rather silly idea of labelling Ursus maritimus (Sea bear), a marine mammal, as a “land-based carnivore ” for the moment. Instead consider the point behind it. Polar bears are the largest predator on land. This begs the question “just how big are polar bears?”

That’s a tough question to answer, for a number of reasons.

What does “big” mean? How tall? How heavy? What’s the volume?

Generally animals are measured by weight. Largely because weight can be such a good indicator of health and particularly population health. So we’ll consider the question (for now) of “How heavy is a polar bear?”. Continue reading…


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