It took three trips, but I was finally able to see the mountain. I visited Denali twice in winter, and both times it was completely shrouded in clouds. I learned that 70% of people who visit Denali never get to see it, the weather being so frequently unforgiving. But on my third attempt the following autumn, I couldn’t have asked for better conditions. I arrived, by luck, 3 days before the only road in is bared for the winter, and only 6 other people got on the bus for backcountry access, I’d never felt more remote and alone, but not in a lonely way. It was nice naturey feeling, knowing there was barely a soul or trace of mankind within 100 miles of me. I had the mountains and the rivers to myself, and it was lovely. Well, not totally to myself, lots of animal sighting including my first pack of wolves! Unfortunately they were on the ridge opposite a massive valley so no worthwhile photos, but to hear a howl when the auroras started blazing away was an exhilarating experience.
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.
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.
Not sure where the pooch came from, but it was nice to have some company for bit til she trotted off down the mountain.
I found her people but she went off exploring the mountain on her own. I need a mountain dog…
This guy’s got alpine travel figured out. I think when my knee finally goes I’m gonna go this route.
Sketchy crossings, no problem for the slow and steady…
Autumn found in pockets amongst the pine. There were also entire mountainsides which were a blanket of yellow birch and spruce.
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.
Nice little ptarmigan, funny little birds and not in the least bit shy.
Coyote Gulch is a truly awe inspiring place. The alcove and cliff walls rise up and span what seem an impossible height. For scale, on the image below, see those tiny black dots on far right shoreline? Those are hikers. To get here, I scrambled down a 700ft. sandstone wall, of course with my giant pack I wasn’t able to scramble back out so it was a nice 18 mi. hike out of the gulch and through the desert to find my home base.
A view from Alstrom Point, a 180 degree stitched panorama looking out towards Lake Powell in the distance.
Zebra Canyon, for obvious reasons.
This magnificent hoodoo is with a patch of others, probably a 10 mi. hike up a wash just north of Big Water.
Just some random fantastic slot canyon.
A few more with the vantage from Alstrom Point.
This isn’t a mirror image, its a 180 degree pano stitch of 14 wide angle shots, I’m inside a giant arch looking out onto the meandering river in Coyote Gulch.
These strange formations are called Moqui Marbles. I read the Wiki on how they were formed and its fascinating, and I won’t butcher it by summarizing so just look for yourself. My favorite factoid was that they resemble very closely formations found on Mars which are aptly called Martian blueberries.
A storm rolling in over Lake Powell, a welcome sight on the 100+ degree day…
Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!
And just a few more random amazing canyon lands in the Escalante area….
See the little camp site down in middle? Go to the Gulch!!!!
I’m going to be playing catchup with the next few posts. Finally got around to working a bunch of images from some wandering around I did last year, I just kept on traveling and was so busy shooting I never found time to work the backlog.
A foggy night at the Umpqua Lighthouse, Oregon
An old dancehall in an abandoned amusement park, Central PA
A few from Crater Lake, OR
Many forest fires raging through SW Washington
Lighting flashes as the clouds open up an isolated rainstorm
Crop burns and hundred of geese coming in for a landing
High atop the Columbia River Valley, OR
Striated land shows just how series the drought has become in Southern California
My buddy Banks perched atop Sequoia’s infamous Mono Rock
The ascent up Mono Rock
Just down the other side of the Sierra’s are the strange tufa formations of Mono Lake