Guess where we’re headed in 2022?
Denali National Park Backpacking Trip
That’s right. Good guess.
Hit me up.
Guess where we’re headed in 2022?
That’s right. Good guess.
Hit me up.
A favorite topic of mine.
It’s impossible to say. In some ways, I’d simply suggest (and often do) “wherever you happen to have good weather”.
And I’ve done more than a small share of backpacking in Alaska. I’ve backpacked in the arctic, walked the shores of the Arctic Ocean, and I’ve backpacked in temperate rain forests of SE Alaska. I’ve also traversed many, many points in between.
I’ve enjoyed them all. Really. I can’t think of any place I didn’t enjoy backpacking the wilderness in Alaska. I’ve had some trips that were harder than others, I’ve had some trips with less than favorable weather, I’ve had some trips that I’d love to have another jaunt at and do a “take two”. But I’ve certainly found positive experiences on all of them.
There’s something about Wrangell – St. Elias National Park that just holds me. That could be the alder of the Chugach mtns, LOL.Continue reading…
We all know this saying, but most of us rarely apply it.
When it comes to camera gear, most of us havetoo much. I know I do. But I’m trying to shoot with less gear and more consideration to what I want the image to be.
Often I’ll bring one lens on an outing and shoot with that. Or not shoot and simply observe.
Pick a subject, and work it. A shotgun approach to a trip of trying to shoot lots of different subjects is more likely to just yield a bunch of mediocre images.
Spend time with your subject. The best images typically will take time. Give yourself that opportunity to really make something special happen.
It’s nice to come home with lots of different images of lots of different things, but it’snice to come home with really strong images. In my experience that works better when we focus on a subject and work it. Work it some more. And continue to narrow that idea down.
Less really is more.
I think one of the most commonly misunderstood phrases/ideas in the backcountry is “layering” (along with “if your feet are cold, put a hat on your head”). I’m not about to tell youto layer, but I do want to shed a little light on what all this means.
The single most common ‘mistake’ (I use that term very loosely; it’s far too subjective to be seriously called a mistake) I see people make on their Alaska Backpacking Trip is bringing a whole bunch of thin to medium layer in the hope of staying warm. Baselayers, polypro layers, lightweight fleece, etc are all great pieces of gear, but you don’t need to swamp your pack down with them. You need, at most, 2.
Rarely, if ever, do I need to hike with more than one layer on my torso; if it’s super warm, I’ll wear a polypro t-shirt. Generally, though that single layer is almost always a single long-sleeved nylon (tight-weave so it’s bug proof) shirt. You know the generic ‘safari-style’ shirt you find in any outdoor store; dawky looking, button-down, collar. and rolled up sleeves. If it’s raining, I’ll throw a thin, breathable waterproof-breathable shell over my shirt. That’s it.Continue reading…
I guess it’s safe to say at this point of my life that I’ve been doing this a long time. For better or worse. 😗
Not just photographing wildlife and studying wildlife photography, but taking folks like yourself out into the field and shooting together. I’ve been guiding wildlife photo tours for nearly two decades now. And I figured it might be a good opportunity to share some tips for budding photographers. Tips based largely on what I see people do, or not do, on our tours.
So I’m starting a little section on my blog that you’re welcome to subscribe to. Every so often I’ll include a short piece on how you might make yourself a better wildlife photographer.
Obviously short brief pieces and tips aren’t designed to turn you into a pro (if such a thing as “Pro wildlife photographer” actually exists any more; a separate conversation worth having at some point).Continue reading…
This is a post you might be able to use regardless what you’re wondering about (we’re all wondering about something, right?). One of the things I see most common when I cruise around the web at different forums, blogs, websites, check my email, etc, etc is requests for information about gear. Whether it be camera gear, ski gear, backpacking gear, rafting gear, paddling gear, biking gear, mountaineering gear, whatever. So many people post requests for information about gear choices without offering much, if any, idea on their intended use.
Example; “I’m looking for a good pair of hiking boots for the winter”. This kind of request is, in most forums, useless. before offering any kind of recommendation at all, I’d need to know more information. A lot more information. What kind of hiking? On trail/off trail? Winter where? Alaska, or Florida? Hiking, as in dayhiking, or backpacking trips? And on and on. Without even discussing the nuance of individual fit. style, taste, etc (particularly important with boots), it’s about impossible to really offer any useful information to the request.Continue reading…
We live in a world defined by our own constructs. The rules we learn and abide are our own, the maps we follow are our own, the stories we learn are own. The way we see the world is through the eyes of our culture. At times, it provides a miraculous view; I can’t imagine my life without the music of Stevie Wonder to keep me company, or the writings of Thoreau, or the photography of Frans Lanting. Those are the parameters of our civilized lives, and they serve us usefully much of the time.
But what of those parameters not laid out for us by other people? What if I want to see the forest through the eyes of the bear?
The easiest way to experience a bit of what the wild was like is to go into a great forest at night alone. Sit quietly for awhile. Something very old will return. – Jack Turner
Challenge yourself to experience the world beyond the models we’ve constructed for it to fit inside.
It doesn’t mean what you might think it means.
What do we mean, here in Alaska, when we say “offtrail’?
Well, what we mean is. It’s not the same thing as backpacking through the mountains for a few days on a nice trail, hitting the open alpine terrain where the trail disperses and you flit over the green alpine grasses the von Trapps.
When we talk about “offtrail backpacking” travel we mean when the terrain is challenging, you have no trail. We mean when the terrain is easy, there is no trail. We mean when the terrain gets really, really hard and downright nasty, we have no trail.Continue reading…
Here’s one from a couple season ago. Rhane led a great trip up around the Sanford Plateau area, got some great weather, and just crushed it. What a cool place to be on days like this.
I could sit and stare at mountains like Mt. Sanford all day long.
On the right hand side of the pic you see the upper reaches of the Sanford Glacier, which forms the Sanford River, flowing in to the legendary Copper River and on to the Gulf of Alaska.
Not a bad place to pitch a tent.