’18 New England in a Weekend Pt. 1

I’m normally the type that needs to spend some time in a place to photograph it.  Learn the light, plans my shots, explore every angle, appreciate the details.  I’ve never had much luck as the weekend warrior type, but when I’m busy as hell and get a little window to get back to nature, damn right I’m gonna pack up the truck and find some quiet.  Two recent weekends, one in autumn and another in winter, I had a few days to kill so I road tripped it to Maine and back.  They were both incredibly wonderful and productive weekends.  From America’s version of abandoned castles to mass migrations, frozen falls to painted forests, New England’s pretty great any time of year apparently, even if you only have a day or two there’s always something cool to find.

01

02

03

03a

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

 

Chena Hot Springs

It was a steady -30 to -45°F for about a week solid by the time I made it to central Alaska in late January.  Just north of Anchorage I found a gem which saved my spirits, Chena Hot Springs.  Due to the extreme cold, the steam from the pools had encased the entire landscape in a thick coat of ice, which you can see below makes a playground for any photographer.  Not only that, but after months of frozen toes, this was the first hot spring I found since Liard 1000 miles back in B.C., so dipping in for a few days really helped kick the winter blues that had been building up.

01_01_0101_gms7202

02_02_gms7020

03_0302_gms6912

04_0403_gms7035

05_0504_gms6966

06_0606_gms6942_1

07_07_gms6892

08_0805_gms6997

09_0907_gms6925

10_1008_gms7101

11_1109_gms7126

12_1210_gms7147

13_13_gms6878

14_14_gms7090

Alaska / Canada Mountain Roaming

01
Samuel Peak, Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park
02
Mt. Bell, Yoho N.P., Alberta
03
Chugach State Park, AK
04
Windy Day in Haines Pass
05
Magical light on the AK/CN border

06

07
Castle Junction, Lake Louise, AB
08
Pyramid Peak, Jasper
09
Denali is unbelievable.
10
My first Grizzly encounter, just giant puppies long as you give ’em some space..
11
A whole family just plodding along.  It was amazing to see Mama bear take off full sprint to chance off a big male who appeared out of nowhere.
12
Just the foothills of Denali.

13

 

 

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.

255
A lovely frozen scene as Maligne River exits the canyon.
256
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.
257
Auroras over Pyramid Island.
258
Pyramid Mountain rises high over Jasper town.
259
5th bridge over Maligne Canyon, off to the wilderness!
260
A world famous ice climber’s playground in Maligne Canyon, with dozens of frozen waterfalls dotting the route.
261
Nature putting on quite a show.
262
Another of Maligne’s frozen falls.
263
I love that little slice of light before the sun has taken over.
264
The impressive range running north of Jasper town, as seen from Indian Peak.
265
I could spend weeks watching the light and clouds play in these ranges.
266
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.

267

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.

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

D

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

GH

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

L

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

NOPQ

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

S

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.

01_GMS3940

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

02_GMS3983

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

03_GMS4064

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

04_GMS4227

Sketchy crossings,  no problem for the slow and steady…

05_GMS4175

06DJI_DENALIHWY_15

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

07_GMS4002

08_GMS3837

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.

09_GMS4137

10_GMS3935

11_GMS3977 (1)

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

12_GMS3989 (1)

13_GMS4255

14DJI_DENALIHWY_17

15DJI_DENALIHWY_04

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!

CATHGORGE_01

CATHGORGE_02

CATHGORGE_03

CATHGORGE_04

CATHGORGE_05

CATHGORGE_06

CATHGORGE_12

CATHGORGE_07

CATHGORGE_08

CATHGORGE_09

CATHGORGE_10

CATHGORGE_11

CATHGORGE_13

CATHGORGE_14

CATHGORGE_15

CATHGORGE_16

CATHGORGE_17

CATHGORGE_18

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…

Death Valley and Desert Adventures

A view from Dante’s Peak overlooking Death Valley

Cloud shadows move across the Alvord Playa

Cracked earth in the Badwater Basin

Dawn breaking on the horizon

Lone grove of fan palms in Joshua Tree

A line in the sand

Route 190 as it heads up the mountain pass

Soft light paints dunes in the Badwater Basin

Wildrose charcoal kilns

Moonlight creeping into the kiln

Where the salt meets earth

Burn man burn

A trail in the salt flat