Denali National Park

27 06 2013

The first time I went to Denali I was 4 years old in 1979. I had watched Sesame Street a day or two prior, on the show there was a skit where the bus driver lets a rhino and a bear on the bus. Being 4 yrs old and not really understanding the difference between reality and tv, I was very concerned when the bus we were riding in Denali National Park stopped to see a bear. I was convinced the bus driver was going to let the bear on. My mom tried to relieve my fears, but I wasn’t truly convinced until the bus was back in motion.

Julie and I were lucky enough to get invited along on Cathy & Alissa’s pro pass to photograph in the park. The weather was awesome-we are having the BEST summer ever! And surprisingly, the animals were out and about, despite the warm temps.

Sleepy bear.

sleepy bear

Dall Sheep rams near Polychrome.

Rams

Alaska Cotton at Wonder Lake.

alaska cotton wonder lake

Grizzly.

bear

Ewes near Toklat.

sheep polychrome

Cross Fox with Denali. She was a pretty driven hunter trying to bring home a squirrel for her kits. She relentlessly dug and dug for the squirrel (which had escaped her).

fox

Luckily, she found another. Dinner!

fox squirrel

Curious caribou.

curious caribou

This bear kept posing for us.

cute bear

Wildflowers & Denali.

wildflowers denali

I’m so fortunate to have great friends that invite me on amazing adventures!!!





The Brooks Range Trip: Part 1-Geadake Lake to Arrigetch Creek on the Alatna River

19 08 2011

The only words to describe the Brooks Range and Alatna River are amazing and stunningly beautiful. The Alatna is one of six designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in Gates of the Arctic National Park, and for good reason. The Endicott mountains range from rolling hills to sharp, jagged spears and everything in between. Many are reminiscent of the southern Rockies-very unlike any other mountains in Alaska.

Dan, Boone, Kasey and I got dropped off by floatplane in bright, late afternoon sunshine (after flying through rain the whole way) on Geadake Lake, the headwaters of the Alatna, where the Alatna River starts as a trickle flowing from the southern end of the lake.

Immediately, we found a caribou rack & skull-the first of a few we came across!

Fresh snow dusted the peaks 1,000 feet up. Being the second week of August, temperatures ranged from below freezing to upper 50’s or low 60’s, and the weather jetted in and out so quickly it was hard to keep track of. During our 8 day trip we lucked out and only had 2 solid days of rain, one or two days or rain/sun, and the rest was mostly sunny.

From the lake, we hiked through tussocks for 3.5-4 miles before the river was big enough to launch our Alpacka rafts.

Along the way we were treated to caribou dancing across the tundra.

We found snow on the river bank……

Early in the afternoon, on our first river day, my boat started losing air. We found the main valve to be seperating from the raft. We had to stop every 5-10 minutes to re-inflate the boat. We set up camp early that day so we could fix my raft with Aquaseal, before we were to hit the rapids above Ram Creek. Luckily, it held. Also, the river looked like it was at an average flow, and the rapids ended up being an easy Class 2 (not the 2+/3 that the river guide suggests, maybe at a different water level they are.) The rest of the river is Class 1.

Fresh wolf tracks! We found loads and loads of wolf & bear tracks on every sandbar. These tracks are from a wolf that came through our camp overnight.

Boone leading the pack.

Kasey heading down river.

The crew.

Dan.

Rain down river. The weather moved with lightning speed up and down valley.

A short time later, blue skies.

Boone cooking dinner on a backwater channel of the Alatna, near Arrigetch Creek.

This night it dipped below freezing, and we woke up to frosty sleeping bags and some ice on the channel. From here we stashed our boats, and headed into the Arrigetch Peaks for the second part of our trip.

 To be continued………..








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