Skolai to Wolverine.

December 28th, 2007 by Carl D

A female hiker rests on a boulder in the Chittistone Valley, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a short trip review of a trip we did this previous summer. Skolai to Wolverine, also known as the Goat Trail, a favorite route for just about everyone who’s done it. We did this trip in 2007 in late July, early August, and had a blast. Allowing extra days to spend on route gave us the leeway to make some shorter days, with less time carrying heavy packs, and more time eating good food, enjoying the lingering sunsets, and dayhiking and exploring the region. We hiked up to Hole in the Wall on our first afternoon, where we saw and photographed a family of White-tailed ptarmigans, along with some Dall sheep. Hole in the Wall is one of the first places most visitors get to be up close with a glacier, so it’s always a treat. We had a late lunch up in the hanging valley, and moseyed back down to camp in the early evening. The following day we hiked over to Chittistone Pass, where we set up and camp and did a short walk around that area. Continue reading…


Happy Holidays

December 24th, 2007 by Carl D

Happyl Holidays and Happy New Year!

Hey Folks,

Just a quick note to anyone out there to say we wish you all the Happiest of Holidays, and all the best to you and yours for the coming year.

Warmest Regards

Carl and Expeditions Alaska


Happy Solstice

December 22nd, 2007 by Carl D

Ice pillars on Kennicott Glacier glow in the late afternoon sun, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Happy Solstice!

The longest night of the year, and the shortest day of the year. Here in Anchorage, Alaska that means sunup around 10:30am and sunset around 3:30pm. And darkness. So for now, the days will start getting longer, though colder. Winter Solstice is December 21, and summer solstice, the longest day of the year, is June 21. Equinox is March 21 and Sept 21, both days when, technically, everywhere on the planet gets the same amount of day and night. I’m not sure it works out exactly to be that way, but that’s the theory behind it, anyway.

So, for the shortest day of the year, I’ll make it a short post.

Happy solstice, folks.

Cheers

Carl

PS – the photo is from Kennicott Glacier, near McCarthy, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.


Website updates

December 21st, 2007 by Carl D

Kayaker surfing a wave on the Baker River, Patagonia, Chile.

Hey Folks,

I just thought I’d post a quick note here and let you know of the updates recently done to the website. We’ve made a few aesthetic additions to the site, hopefully making a little more enjoyable for you to browse around. The first thing you might like to see is the automated slide show I did from the Images of the Month for 2007. Also, the Eye of the Beholder gallery in finished.

I put a small slide show on the home page, and added a slide show of images from part of the Bremner to Tebay trip. Check that out for sure!

We also made a few minor changes here and there, and will be finishing up some of the other odds and ends while we’re at it. If you see any glaring errors, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll get on it.

Also, you might want to look over at Skolai Images and look at some of the updates there. In particular is a nice slide show of images from Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. And if you really want to look at a lot of photos from the park, check out the Wrangell – St. Elias Stock Photos page.

Well, that’s about it for now. I hope you enjoy the new stuff on the site. Oh, and the picture here is my friend Santiago Ibanez, from Peru, smokin’ on a surf wave on the Baker River, or Rio Baker, in Patagonia, Chile. The Baker River is an incredible river, and we had a fantastic trip there in April 2007.Thanks, and all the best.

Cheers

Carl


Kuskulana Bridge, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park.

December 21st, 2007 by Carl D

Fall colors on the Kuskulana Bridge, McCarthy Rd, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

Here’s a photo from fall in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. This is a shot of sunrise over the infamous Kuskulana Bridge and Kuskulana Gorge. The gorge is 280 feet deep, and nearly 600 feet wide. The bridge was originally built in 1911 to allow the Kennecott Mining Corporation access to the lucrative Copper Mines by the Kennicott glacier. It’s been rebuilt and strengthened a lot, but it’s still pretty crazy to see it. This is on the McCarthy Road, at mile 17. We always stop on the way and walk out on the bridge, take some pictures, etc. It’s a cool welcome to the park, for sure. In fall, the river level drops down markedly from the summer high water, and it also becomes much cleaner, with less glacial silt in it. It’s amazing how quickly the Kuskulana River goes from being a raging dirty glacial river to a smaller clear stream in early september. Sometimes a few days makes a world of difference.

Cheers

Carl


Photography and backpacking

December 19th, 2007 by Carl D

Hiker on the broad open coastal plain of arctic Alaska; ANWR, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

As I’m updating the website, I’m redoing the Image of the Month pages, and won’t be writing content on the old (now deleted) pages – so I’m going to transfer some of the past notes I’ve written on the image of the month pages to the blog, that way it’s all in one place, searchable, and much better organized. Here’s another piece I wrote a while back about backpacking and photography. Some of the issues are how to pack camera gear, how to keep camera gear weight down, the hassles of digital cameras, and how to ‘get your shots’. Continue reading…


Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska – Overview.

December 5th, 2007 by Carl D

Hole in the Wall, Wrangell St.Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

I thought I might write a small post here about my favorite National Park, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. Though it’s the largest national park in North America, and possibly the most impressive as well, it’s relatively little visited; many people have never even heard the words Wangell – St. Elias National Park. the park gets (as of 2007) less than 40 000 visitors a year. Denali National Park gets close to a million, and parks in the Lower 48 states such as the Smokies or Yellowstone get in the vicinity of 10 million.

Wrangell St. Elias National Park is nearly times larger than Yellowstone National park, at 14 million acres of wild, remote, gorgeous country. Established as a National Park in 1980, the area was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1979. Together with Glacier Bay National Park, Wrangell St. Elias adjoins Continue reading…


Rain Gear, and keeping dry

December 1st, 2007 by Carl D

Hiking in front of the mountain, Mt. McKinley, Denali National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks

Another question I get asked a lot has to do with rain gear. What’s appropriate, what’s necessary, what’s not OK, what works, what doesn’t, etc? I think rain gear is another of those things where many people can make do with less. I wouldn’t, of course, advise anyone to venture out under-prepared. But, I would say that spending more money on higher end gear isn’t necessarily something you need to do. I’ve used a number of different shells, from lighter weight jackets like the Marmot Precip to heavier (and way pricier) Gore-Tex XCR shells by Arc’Teryx. Whilst I will admit the Arc’Teryx stuff is awesome, I think it’s more than most people need. Continue reading…


Kennicott Glacier, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

November 30th, 2007 by Carl D

Kennicott Glacier, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a photo I took of the Kennicott Glacier, not far from the small town of McCarthy, in Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska. I was exploring the west side of the glacier, which is much less frequently hiked and travelled than the east side. But, with a little luck and some perseverance, I found a few places I managed to scrape out some decent photos. Hiking around glaciers require care, particularly if you’re hiking solo. I guess hiking anywhere, anytime, requires care, but particularly solo trips. That said, I do love being out exploring the backcountry on my own – it’s a particular way of connecting with the land that is immeasurably different to trips with other people. Continue reading…


Sunrise over Regal Mountain, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

November 28th, 2007 by Carl D

Sunrise over Regal Mountain, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Recently someone asked me about some photography tips, and I thought that might make a good post for a blog. There’s obviously way too much stuff to talk about in one post, so I’ll just make this one specific to shooting landscapes on backpacking trips. Hopefully this will help you bring home some better images from your trips. The image I’ve posted here is of Regal Mountain, a 13 845′ high shield volcano, or stratovolcano, in the Wrangell Mountains, seen from Skolai Pass, Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Regal Mountain is most commonly seen from the west, from the Root Glacier near McCarthy. Because the mountain is so covered with glaciers, it’s hardly been studied at all by geologists. It’s a WAY cool mountain!

First thing is suck it up and bring your tripod. Even a little lightweight tripod is WAY better than no tripod at all. These days you can buy an ultralight tripod that’ll really help you out. Like everything else, it seems, you pay more dollars for every ounce you lose. Continue reading…


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