Fall and winter collide in the Atigun River Gorge. Sept. 2, 2017.
It seems my life is being drawn toward rivers significantly more in recent years. I don’t necessarily go searching, but don’t turn them down either.
Such a situation arose last fall, when I got the opportunity to float the Atigun and Sagavanirktok rivers. They are extremely remote class II-IV rivers, far above the Arctic Circle, flowing north out of Alaska’s Brooks Range.
It’s a nine hour drive north from Fairbanks just to the put in — cell phone service is unavailable after about 45 minutes of driving. Don’t forget to add a few extra hours for the car shuttle.
The year is quickly coming to an end, which makes me think about all the great activities it was filled with — none more monumental than paddling the first half of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, which fittingly started on Jan. 1.
For years my grandma told me Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is her favorite place to vacation. Last spring I finally took some time to check it out — and immediately understood her enthusiasm. From expansive beaches to the rain forest and climbing into the high alpine, all in one day, Olympic National Park has something for everyone.
Being a land-locked Alaskan familiar with world-class mountains, I was most excited by the stunning beaches and joys of exploring tide pools. This post I’ll featuring a few of the sea anemones and star fish I photographed at Kalaolch’s tide pools.
Next post I’ll highlight the dramatic scenery of expansive beaches.
Above: Expect more of a “fishing perch” than a “fishing hole” when dip-netting the Copper River in southeast Alaska. Spirit Mountain pokes above the big and fast glacial-fed river that’s full of silt and very cold. Copper River Reds, the salmon in the net, are some of the most sought after in the world.
The river is also an excellent of the Weekly Photo Challenge of boundaries. Rivers are some of Earth’s most common boundaries. For the fish in my net it is a boundary of left and death, or for a person if they fall in.
Sometimes sweeping is necessary — a time- and labor-intensive technique during which the fisher sweeps the net with the current, resets and repeats.
Even when fishing is done much work is left to be done. Here a king salmon is butchered.
Mt. Constitution sits atop Orcas Island and is the highest point in the San Juan Islands, Washington. Views on a clear day are spectacular! Oregon’s Mount Baker is the prominent peak in the upper-right of this photo.
Above: Mt. Diamond backdrops Eli Sturm as he skies down a couloir in Thompson Pass, where the scenery and snow are world class.
The 2,805 foot Thompson Pass pass is outside the coastal town of Valdez, and averages more than 550 inches of snow per year. Skiers and snowboarders travel from all over the world to make turns in Thompson. Copious runs are accessible right off the road, while endless mountains provide the potential for extended excursions.
My friend Eli and myself made the six hour drive south from Fairbanks last Saturday for two very full days of riding. We mostly used climbing skins — directional skins you attach to the bottom of your skies to ascend mountains.
On the first day we skinned about 4.5 hours, climbing roughly 4,000 feet, to the top of a couloir, a steep narrow gully on a mountain. The result was some of the best and most scenic riding of my life.
Descending towards Diamond Glacier in Thompson Pass with spectacular snow.
A skier traverses towards shade on the Diamond Glacier in Thompson Pass.