Klondike Country

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.

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Choose your own adventure!  Finally got to see some of those elusive purple auroras.  Had to shoot this sign dark, otherwise you’d be able to read all the dumb chicken related town names, found in Chicken, Ak of course..
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I found this curious Grey Jay, aka. Whiskey Jack aka. Canadian Jay, along the Top of the World Highway.  She even came in for a landing, had me feeling like Snow White.

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An enormous gold dredge beached in Chicken.

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Tombstone Territorial Park has some of the most impressive mountains I’ve come across. Unfortunately circumstances and time restraints stopped me from exploring around here as much as I’d like, but that’s for another time I suppose.
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I loved the little line of autumn following a tiny stream down the mountain, though bushwhacking through alders is the pits.  About 10 miles, I ran into a grizzly.  Part of me would have rather been eaten than find my way back through this devilish undergrowth.
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These are tailings, the raw earth dumped out the dredge after its done its thing refining out the gold.
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They stretched on for miles!
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Another gold dredge, and why preservation of historical structures is important.

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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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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.

Escalante Part Two

Part Two of my new favorite place on the planet, Escalante Grand-Staircase, with a few from Capitol Reef sprinkled in.  
The desert floor was filled with tiny purple wildflowers, I lit them up at night, using a purple gel to make them glow a bit more.
Temple of the Sun and the Moon in Capitol Reef, catching the first light of day.
Finding beautiful in the smallest details…
A dying leave seeps oils into a puddle in Coyote Gulch.

An old granary hidden in a cliff face. 

A magnificent grove of hoodoo in the backcountry, 10 mi. north of Big Water.
A cool dwelling just off the road south of Page, AZ.
The barn at the Gilford Homestead in Fruita, Capitol Reef NP.
Some more old structures and antiques around the homestead.
A few more from Zebra Canyon.  Was quite a squeeze!
Looking down on Hamblin Arch in the Coyote Gulch. 
Day breaking on the Temples, Capitol Reef.
Clouds cut sharp shadows across the Devil’s Backbone.
So often it feels like all you see in the desert is browns and green for days, so nice to get a splash of an unexpected color.  

Escalante Grand-Staircase Wilderness Adventure

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!!!!