There is no generic answer to this most-frequently asked question for Alaska backpacking trips. Obviously your fitness, your pack weight, your group, etc, all heavily impact the distance you’ll cover each day. More than that, the terrain itself will determine how far and how fast you travel.
Not just the gradient and uphill/downhill stuff. Those things clearly are important. However, here in Alaska, the most common determinant, and most profound one, is the terrain itself. The footing. What are you walking over? What are you walking THROUGH? Heavy, dense alder will slow you down way, way way more than you imagine. Add thickets of Devil’s Club inside that and you’ll be moving very slowly. You might make 3/4mile an hour. Maybe. Even on flat terrain.
One of the questions we invariably get for backpacking trips is “what size backpack do I need?” It’s one of those both critical questions to ask and also an impossible question to answer. I’ll try to explain why below.
From our time in Kukak Bay photographing various different bears on a whale carcass to great experiences with a couple of different sows and spring cubs (both triplets and quadruplets), the highlight was definitely this evening with excellent moments watching brown bears chasing salmon, bears fighting and some simply gorgeous light. Good times.
Hallo Bay can be such a golden place. Spectacular location, amazing bears, it can provide super nice light and some truly special moments for photographers and nature lovers.
We had ventured out to the water towards the late evening, after some nice hours on the grass flats with a sow and her 4 cubs. The tide was going out, fish running in, and right after we made our way to the beach, the bears started coming out.
June is here so time for another image of the month. This one from a few years ago. We had a great time photographing this young polar bear cub. He was very curious, far more so than his sibling and always gave us some attention. Great for photography. And a nice cover of fresh snow doesn’t hurt either!
Back to posting photos of the month! What better way to start back than a shot of this awesomely cool brown bear about to destroy a spawning Sockeye salmon in Katmai National Park? This image from our Bears of Summer photo tour a couple years ago.
You can see how much the technique is “the paw”. Pretty cool. you can also see just how the thick the water is with salmon here. All that deep red in the foreground is salmon.
We’re trying to get back into full swing. We’re scheduling our March Alaska northern lights photo tour for 2022. March is a fun time for the northern lights. It’s still “winter” in Alaska, and that means we have a good possibility of some nice wintery landscape foregrounds, long dark skies and fewer people. But it’s not mid-January, so the weather’s a bit warmer and life under the Alaska night time skies a little easier.
March is also the time of our vernal equinox, when day length and night length are approximately the same. For some reason, the equinoxes seem to yield the best northern lights activity. Nobody seems to know why this is so, just that it is so. it’s our favorite Alaska secret (that and smoked salmon). It’ll be an awesome aurora fest for the eyes.
I didn’t get to Fairbanks this spring, and I’m looking forward to returning in 2022 to photograph the northern lights. Wanna join me? We’re setting 2-3 weeks of dates, and it should be a good time for all. The auroral activity seems to be returning towards a peak, so hopefully the displays in Alaska will be excellent. This past month they were as good as ever. Next year hopefully even better.
If you’re new to photographing the northern lights, no problem. That’s what I’m for. I’ll help you with your knowledge and skills to make these photos. And if you don’t have it, this primer ebook is a great start for learning what it takes.
Download the ebook, gear up, make some plans and join us for a fun Alaska northern lights photo trip this coming spring.
I definitely love catching the action of a hungry bear hot on the heels (tailfin) of a spawning salmon. This hungry young mother bear had 3 even hunger and younger mouths to feed, and she was pretty intent on doing what needed to be done to make that happen.