An email from a old friend asked if I still took photos since I hadn’t made a blog entry for 6 years. I guess time slipped by somehow. I have made many trips since my last post but have neglected to report them.
A last minute decision bought me another trip to Alaska and a chance to visit my son and his beautiful family. I had hoped to drive up again but complications prevented that this year. Alaska Air had the solution.
The first week and a half was spent playing with grandchildren and taking a trip to the Kenai with the whole gang. The kids had a number of “Best Day Ever’s” in a row. That’s a very good thing. I was able to sneak out early mornings and photograph some migrating caribou. What a joy to watch.
Christian flew to Chicago, for business on the 16th and I was off to Denali National Park. Denali is one of my favorite places. I am spoiled generally having my spacious, heated, van to camp in. This trip it was a rented Subaru Forester. I hadn’t realized that one can’t sit-up in the back of these. That provided a challenge. Dressing was particularly problematic. I have a toasty sleeping bag and comfortable pad so sleeping was good except that the space between the front seat backs and back hatch is somewhat shorter then my length. I didn’t do my homework while planning.
Mid September, and on, in Denali is the moose rut. Usually the moose are most cooperative and completely ignore people. This year, for some reason, they were gathering higher up the mountains. They were easy to see, with binoculars, but tough to photograph. The area is closed to hiking, for good reasons, so chasing up the mountain in pursuit isn’t allowed.
For several days before I left the park people who arrived by road, from the south, had commented on how beautiful the mountain was from the road. Those of us who were camping on the north side of the mountain hadn’t even been able to see her. It was cold, grey, and snowing, or about to snow, for a week.
My backpacking stove gas was failing because of the low temperatures and my frozen vegetables, they were canned, but frozen anyway, became challenging to prepare. The worst was having to thaw water for coffee. The day I left it was 7 degrees when I awoke.
The last day on the mountain the sky was blue and everything good about the park was bursting at the seams. What a glorious day in such a beautiful place. I was privileged to watch a sow brown bear instructing her two cubs in the fine art of digging for ground squirrels. I was watching from some distance, but what a thrill.
I was able to share my experiences with several photographers who were likewise able to overcome the minor inconveniences for the ability to spend time and witness nature in such a rarified environment. I can’t wait to plan my next trip.
Black Bear on the Parks Highway.