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.
Only a few hours drive from the beach leads to the Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rain forests in the U.S.
My grandma — who inspired the trip around the peninsula — didn’t advise visiting Hoh Rainforest for the very appropriate reason of rain and big trees being all too easy to find in Washington. But it was close, so I went and enjoyed a rare sunny afternoon walk.
The depth and patterns created by luminous leaves made for lovely photographic subjects.
Of the approximately half-dozen beaches visited on the Olympic Peninsula, Klaloch and Rialto seemed in a league of their own, each vastly different.
The Dungeness Spit, technically in Olympic State Park, earns an honorable mention for one of the longest sand spits in the world and a light house.
At Klaloch, limited but amazing camp sites overlook truly vast expanses of gently sloping sand and minuscule tides. A quaint resort is nearby with cabins for rent.Rialto beach is the opposite — strong waves crash into pebble beaches, pushing rocks up the shore before drawing them back out to sea with an almost violent crackle. A lovely 1.5 miles paved road connects the campground to the beach — perfect for a light jog past a pond of croaking frogs.
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.
Above: A small stream snakes through vibrant green moss on Mt. Rainier in Washington state. The picture reminds me how alive and diverse the mountain is, from the thunderous cracks and groans of enormous glaciers to the smallest bubbling stream sustaining a secluded ecosystem. The picture is a rough scan of color positive film, shot on Hasselblad.