The Great One, Denali

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.

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Peaking through autumn alders at a big ol brown bear.
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A really strong aurora flared up, visible even in the glow just after sunset.
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Massive dry river in late autumn, really hope to get back during the summer snow melt and get this same shot except with a raging river.
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A big male who still eyes a mom and cubs after being run off.
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This mountain blows my mind.
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The road here is probably about 4K ft elevation. Crazy to think its another 16,000′ up to the top.

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Even the ‘foothills’ are impressive.  Wish I could share this full image with you, its 25k pixels wide, and you can see every detail of every amazing peak.  Maybe on a video soon…
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That would have been an impressive bull for sure.
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Mama comforting her cubs after chasing off a male.

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Derp!

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Mama running off a male while the cubs try to keep it. It was wonderful to see these massive creatures move like a freight train up the steep terrain.

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Denali foothills showing off some impressive autumn.

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A strange igloo along the Denali highway.
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These aren’t even the peak.

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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.