You know when you are in the remote wild country of Alaska…when you can hear your own breathing & heartbeat above all else. In areas like College Fjord, day or night & weather permitting, the silence is only superseded by the natural sounds carrying across the land & sea. There is an extreme calm during such times that is the absolute essence of tranquility.
Dwarf Fireweed & Sweet Pea crowns speckle the entire Knik River Delta covering countless acres in this late afternoon panoramic view downriver. At left, touching the cloud ceiling, is 6,398 foot Pioneer Peak, with the slopes of the Talkeetna Mountains in the far distance and the northwestern end of the Chugach Mountains at right. This massive & beautiful delta, on the geologic time scale, is newly exposed over several centuries, after the immense nameless glacier that
In this spectacular panoramic view from Homer of the southern reaches of the Kenai Mountains, light & shadow play through a storm front moving into Kachemak Bay. Marine environments across Alaska will from time to time throughout the changing seasons offer up magnificent but brief displays of contrast that are quite rare & beautiful.
Ostrich Tail Ferns are one of the largest species of fern in North America & are particularly abundant in northern North America. The spore columns develop in the fall, stand through the winter & drop their spore in early spring. This species favors river banks, grows a completely vertical crown but spreads out to form new crowns. Very dense colonies are grown & by their lateral expansion resist seasonal destruction caused by floodwaters. Due to Alaska’s extended sunlight of
Sub-zero temperatures, humidity, winter’s snow-load, tidal forces, water salinity, compression, decomposition, sun, shadows, rain, winds & snow! All these factors & numerous other variables create “Ice Art” in the natural world…some creations taking centuries to be built, some produced in months, weeks or days. Some of these forms, such as massive glacial icebergs, are re-sculpted & change structure every day as hourly patterns shift. Some of the more intricate & del
The Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary protects a group of seven small craggy islands & their neighboring waters in northern Bristol Bay, about 65 miles SW of Dillingham. The Sanctuary includes Round Island, Summit Island, Crooked Island, High Island, Black Rock & The Twins. The Sanctuary was established in 1960 to protect one of the largest terrestrial haul-out sites in North America for Pacific walrus. The Sanctuary, managed by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game,
Electric blue Noctilucent (‘Night Shining’ or ‘NLC’s) Clouds are the highest of the exotic clouds known to appear over the polar regions of Earth. They exist at the 82 Km layer of our mesosphere & will shine only when the sun is 6-16 degrees below the horizon. It is thought that Noctilucent Clouds are made up of meteoric dust & ice particles but studies still continue today. These amazing fibrous structures are blasted & shaped by intense winds that have been measured as hi
(Getting out of town recently was worth every second! Spring is arriving in Alaska!) Standing 3-5 feet tall & with a wingspan 5½ -8 feet, Sandhill Cranes gain great heights by obtaining lift in the thermals. Once in flight they expend very little energy only flapping their wings occasionally to enable them to stay aloft for many hours. A couple days ago a migrating flock rested & refueled at the Dale Saunders Crane Sanctuary before continuing north. Here’s Dale’s story bel
(Had to bust out of town for a few days…been home 2 months already!) Lenticular clouds are amazing high altitude tropospheric ‘lens-shaped’ cloud formations, occurring as high as 40,000 feet, that indicate a disruption in the upper air mass. Mountain peaks are the perfect obstructions as air flows over the surface of Earth, causing disruptions & areas of notable moderate to severe turbulence in which aircraft pilots gladly avoid. Lenticular clouds appear as large scal
James Wickersham (for whom the north face Wickersham Wall is named for) recorded the first attempt to climb Denali in 1903, however was unsuccessful. Frederick Cook then claimed a successful first attempt in 1906, but his claim of actually reaching the summit is unverified & its legitimacy in question. The first verifiable ascent to Denali’s south summit was by climbers Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper & Robert Tatum on June 7th, 1913. Alaskan Native Walter