This was the place at the heart of the famed “Klondike” gold rush in 1896, and is still filled with remnants from that rich history. Along the ‘Top of the World Highway’, 200 miles along a mountaintop from Dawson City, Yukon to Tok, Alaska, the artifacts are as plentiful as the amazing auroras. I also spent some time bushwhacking through Tombstone Territorial, and another trip back there is high on my list.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!