Jasper in January

Jasper is one of the coolest little towns I’ve ever seen, nestled amongst some of the most amazing winter scenery I came across in my northern adventure.  I followed around some docile elk for an afternoon, hiked around a frozen canyon with a river rushing beneath the ice, amazing aurora shows over imposing peaks.  Truly a wonder place to visit in winter, I can’t recommend it enough.

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A lovely frozen scene as Maligne River exits the canyon.
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Roosevelt Elk, casually grazing and fortunately not mating season, they were super docile and relaxed and I trailed them for hours without them ever giving a care.
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Auroras over Pyramid Island.
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Pyramid Mountain rises high over Jasper town.
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5th bridge over Maligne Canyon, off to the wilderness!
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A world famous ice climber’s playground in Maligne Canyon, with dozens of frozen waterfalls dotting the route.
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Nature putting on quite a show.
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Another of Maligne’s frozen falls.
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I love that little slice of light before the sun has taken over.
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The impressive range running north of Jasper town, as seen from Indian Peak.
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I could spend weeks watching the light and clouds play in these ranges.
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A big bull takes a break from sweeping snow to get to the grasses, I can only presume to take in the scenery as I was.

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Ice Sculptures

Some awesome rewards for braving the cold of the Alaskan winter, I found all sorts of interesting ice formations in the form of frozen falls, glacial caves and lakes locked in 6′ of ice.  Granted it took about 6 months for me to regain feeling in my toes again, but at the time it seemed like a small price to pay for such wonderful and unique views.

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A cave cut into a thin glacier turns the whole world blue.
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Bubbles from lake bottom collect and get frozen in layers of ice at Abraham’s Lake.
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A small frozen falls in Maligne Canyon, Jasper, which I illuminated with some flashlights.

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A section of Wapta Falls, frozen solid.
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The view from behind the frozen falls pictured below.

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The falls frozen over in Johnston Canyon, Banff
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Falls in Maligne Canyon make a perfect playground for ice climbers.
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The Mendenhall glacier in Juneau cuts its way around the cliffside in its slow descent.

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A small falls was encased in a giant bell of ice, with a hole just big enough for me to fit a lens in.

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A wall of ice shows a bit of the Athabasca glacier under a winter’s worth of snowfall.

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Kennecott, Alaska

A collection of shots that I’m still catching up on from last winter’s trip, this bunch from around Wrangell-St. Elias, a remote national park in Alaska, as well as the remains of a lot of mining history and abandoned structures dotted along the Alaskan and Yukon wilderness.

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The remains of an old roadhouse somewhere along the Yukon highway.
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The ruins of a concentration mill, 7 stories into a hill, overlooking a serene frozen lake.

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It’s wonderful the gov’t stepped up to preserve this amazing slice of American history, the Kennecott copper mining town, overlooking a massive glacier.

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A trestle towards an old mining town hangs on to its last legs in the remote Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska. 

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Hatcher Pass, AK in Autumn

Amazing how much a few months can change a place.  This is the same mountain pass from the previous post.  Definitely a different feel from when its not encased in 10 feet of snow, and made for a much more enjoyable hiking.

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Not sure where the pooch came from, but it was nice to have some company for bit til she trotted off down the mountain.

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I found her people but she went off exploring the mountain on her own.  I need a mountain dog…

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This guy’s got alpine travel figured out.  I think when my knee finally goes I’m gonna go this route.

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Sketchy crossings,  no problem for the slow and steady…

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Autumn found in pockets amongst the pine.  There were also entire mountainsides which were a blanket of yellow birch and spruce.

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I’d been on the road for a week at this point, and hadn’t found a shower in awhile.  This is me, debating whether to brave the cold and take a bath in this lovely little alpine lake… Frigid but completely worth it.

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Nice little ptarmigan, funny little birds and not in the least bit shy.

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Independence Mine and Hatcher’s Pass, Alaska

I’ve been bad about posting awhile, as I’d basically been living on the road for the last year or two.  But I’m back at the computer and ready to share what’s been my most prolific period yet.  The road took me from Los Angeles to northern Alaska in the dead of winter, and then right back up the following autumn with plenty of adventures in between.  There’s so much to show I’m not sure where to begin, so I’ll just start with my favorites and see where we end up.

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I was wandering around SE Alaska, restocking on supplies in Anchorage, when the cashier told me about a Independence Mine, an hour north in the mountains above Hatcher’s Pass.  What a tip! I found one of the coolest and most well-preserved historic sites I’ve stumbled upon. Even with snow shoes, it was one of those miserable hikes where every few steps I’d posthole up to my waist, but after battling the snow drifts and spending 2 hours to hike only a mile, the town did not disappoint!  I ended up making three trips here over the next week, and each night the changing weather and auroras made for a wonderful array of lighting to play with.

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There’s a whole other set of images from this location, that I took when I went back to Alaska the following autumn, so stay tuned and I’ll get those up here soon.

Cathedral Gorge, Nevada

I never knew this gem was only an hour or two north of Vegas.  Such a cool spot with little caves and slot canyons that wind their way in a maze of passages into the eroded cliffs.  The walls narrow to inches wide at places, but extend vertically for 100’s of feet.  I even found a little owl that had burrowed a nest into the soft walls.  If you’re ever not doing so hot at the tables, change your luck and visit this spot!

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The Flyover States

Normally when doing the cross country thing, I like to do those 2000 miles in the middle as fast as my truck will take me, a blurred coffee binged stretch that couldn’t end soon enough.  But on this last pass, I took some time, and found some fun things when I actually got off the interstate…

Arkansas is Awesome!

Wanted to share some pics from a stop over in Arkansas on my last cross country tour.  A huge thanks to the Chappell’s for taking me in, Cynthia for making me feel right at home down south and Charles for showing me some great spots and hikes in the Buffalo River Valley.  Can’t wait to see ya’ll again soon!
Some old farming buildings long since abandoned in the Buffalo River Valley.  
Blanchard Springs, in the Ozarks region, as fresh as it gets!
Getting a shower Arkansas style at Hemmed-in Hollow.  At 209 ft., its the tallest waterfall between the Rockies and Appalachia.
Floating down the Buffalo.
Catching a sweet storm over the rolling hills of the Ozarks.  

Colorado Ghost Towns and Abandoned Mines

I spent a few weeks driving around the Rockies in Colorado and finding all sorts of great places long abandoned and slowly returning to the earth. 
St. Elmo, a wonderful preserved little ghost town in the heart of the Sawatch Range, and the jumping off point to a number of old mining sites way up in the mountains.  
Along Colorado’s Scenic Alpine loop lies the ghost town of Animas Fork, an amazingly well preserved ghost town that has stood dormant since this mill closed more than 100 years ago.  
The bones of an old church jut out of a forest along Hwy 25 in eastern Colorado, the only remains of an old mining town which once thrived there.