Tag Archives: backpacking

Hiking the Maidens, Arrigetch peaks

Hiking among Arrigetch Peaks, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hiking in the Valley of the Maidens, Arrigetch Peaks, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

hey Folks,

So here’s another self-portrait. Me on a  dayhike up into the Maidens, in the Arrigetch Peaks, Gates of the Arctic National Park. The talus and moraine in the area was pretty intimidating for most folks on the even trip, even though they’re all strong, experienced hikers. walking over endless fields of boulders and rocks is wearisome. but being so close to such amazing granite outcrops as the Arrigetch Peaks is so worth the effort.

The peak to my right is, I believe, “Parabola”.

The small pack I’m carrying is a Marmot Komperdell pack, a great little summit pack I take on my most backpacking trips; saves carrying my heavier Mystery Ranch G5000 when I go out for the afternoon; and it looks FABULOUS!

Cheers

Carl

Photography Gear Insurance

Backpacking to Mt Jarvis, Wrangell - St. Elias, Alaska.

A backpacker (me) sets out on a trek toward Mt Jarvis, in fresh fall snow, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

One of the most problematic issues with photography is also one of the most glaring; the cost of all this gear. A new pro camera can easily  cost anywhere from two thousand to eight thousand dollars. A second camera, assorted lenses, tripods, ballheads, etc, etc, etc .. it’s insane how much this can quickly add up to (not to mention increasing photo requests for < $75.00 usage – another topic).

Compounded by the fragility of most of this gear, photographers face a real issue; use it, be careful with it, and try not to have to spend more $$$ on it than necessary; i.e., don’t break it. So, given the fragility of the gear, for most of us, that means insurance.

Several years ago I researched this, and it seemed that, for me, a personal articles policy with State Farm was the best route to go. It wasn’t too costly, and yes, they covered all my gear, knew I used it professionally, and life was good. Just to clarify,

Me: “I use this photo gear professionally, is it covered?”
State Farm: “Yes”.

I added the cost to my car insurance, and moved on. Too easy.

This past fall I bought a brand new 500mm lens from Allen’s Camera in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Great folks, and a great price. I then went to my local State Farm rep, showed them the receipt and added the expensive lens to my list of insured gear. All good. Continue reading

The creative life.

A backpacker stands, naked, in the Chugach Mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A backpacker stands, naked, in the Chugach Mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Click the image to see a larger version.

Hey Folks,

“It can be a difficult journey to live a creative life, if you live within an environment which does not understand or value creativity. Seek-out and surround yourself with positive soulmates”.

I read this note on a Status Update on facebook a while back, posted by a great photographer from Australia, Steve Coleman. Steve posts consistently valuable stuff on his facebook page, and I try to read every one of his insights. It’s nice to see someone so giving of their talent. I’ve never met Steve, but looking over his website I can tell you I already know I like the guy; click on ‘Workshops‘. That page tells me all I need to know; what a wonderful perspective!

The strength of the quote is in the paradox that it holds; creative work comes from within, yet what rises up from within is a function of the external. The input we open ourselves to form the outputs our work brings. But it’s more than that; I think a collective energy exists that is very real, very tangible, and we tap into that if we surround ourselves with a vibrant, creative community. Our neighbors, our friends, our peers, our families; these are all critical sources of creative energy that we draw upon, whether it be consciously or unconsciously.

To create and bring to life an idea, your idea, is a terribly frightening process; it opens us to vulnerabilities few of us wish to expose. A ‘support group‘ is critical. Continue reading

Backpacking trip; Hidden Creek

Backpacking up Hidden Creek, in the Wrangell Mountains, near Kennicott, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Backpacking up Hidden Creek, in the Wrangell Mountains, near Kennicott, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. To view a larger version of this image, please click on the photo above.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a shot again from the Hidden Creek backpacking trip this past summer. Well, if one can really call the last week of August in Alaska “summer”. We had a great time on the trip, as I mentioned in a few earlier posts, in particular because we were fortunate enough to have some fine weather. Those big sunny skies make the world of difference when you’re sleeping, eating and doing everything else under them.

I miss the summer already! Right now we’re kind of in that dead era between fall and winter. I’ve been back from my last trip (photographing grizzly bears in Katmai National Park) over 2 weeks now .. the longest stint i’ve spent inside the house since May. I think next week I’ll try to head to somewhere and sleep in my tent again. I need some wilderness, especially after sitting in a court room all week (so far) doing my civic service of jury duty.

This particular hike was rewarding as well,, because last year I did this section as part of a longer route, from Nugget Creek to Kennicott – 65 miles through the Wrangell mountains. However, most of the trip was under socked in, gray, cloudy skies, cold damp air and gusts of winds. It was a treat to get to see at least some of what we hiked through in the fog.

I think I’ll probably add this hike to my regular set of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park backpacking trips. It’s a flexible route, with a lot of options for detours, sidetrips, basecamps, extended hikes or shorter trips, etc, etc. And the scenery is simply superb. Continue reading

Camped on the tundra; Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1

A backcountry campsite high on the tundra in the Wrangell Mountains. The high alpine ridges near Mt Jarvis, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve provide a great place for hiking and backpacking. Sunset, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A backcountry campsite (Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1) high on the tundra in the Wrangell Mountains. The high alpine ridges near Mt Jarvis, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve provide a great place for hiking and backpacking. Sunset, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Just to stave off the impending deluge of grizzly bear photos, I thought I’d drop this one in here. This is from the last backpacking trip of the season for me, the recent Mt Jarvis excursion. Here’s a campsite I picked out all by myself, high on the tundra.

With a  night so wonderfully clear, the temperatures dropped down a bit during the evening, and it was plenty cold in the am when I awoke before dawn, and sauntered across the tundra to ‘reflection pond’, where I shot some of the recent images posted of Mt. Jarvis.

For this trip, I carried the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 tent that you see here. It’s a nice little 1 person tent, pretty roomy actually, and relatively light. Weighing under 3lbs, Continue reading

Hidden Creek

Hidden Creek valley, in the Wrangell mountains. A popular backpacking route, Hidden Creek in the Wrangell Mountains is a wonderful hike. Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hidden Creek valley, in the Wrangell mountains. A popular backpacking route, Hidden Creek in the Wrangell Mountains over to the Lakina River is a wonderful hike. Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

I’ve headed out again for the next trip, but will schedule this post in advance. This is from close to the pass above Hidden Creek, looking back down the valley we’d just hiked. We walked up the south side of the valley (right side in the frame), then crossed and climbed up to a bench on the north side of the pass. Camping up there was simply awesome. 2 bands of Dall sheep were wandering the mountains above us, and we saw mountain goats higher still.

Hidden Creek is simply stunning. This particular afternoon, we crested the pass and camped on the other side of the saddle, which is where the previous post’s photo (“Reflections”) was taken. Suffice it to say that the back half of the trek is just as rocking as the front half.

Suffice it to say, I’ll be on this route again next year. 🙂

Cheers

Carl

Website work and the Bremner to Tebay Trek

On the Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes trip, this hiker takes in the view,  Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hiker on the Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes backpacking, Wrangell St. Elias National park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hey Folks

While I’m working on updating my website, I stumbled on this image from our Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes trip a few years ago. That little rocky outcrop has this big crack right through it, so standing on the boulder was somewhat …. uhhhmm .. mad. That drop off goes all the way down to the Little Bremner River below. Still, that’s what Texans are for, right? 🙂

Mark was good enough to stand on it while I snapped a few photos.

This is one of my favorite hikes, and I’m aiming to do it again this coming summer, 2010. If I ever get done with overhauling this darn website. Pesky stuff.

Cheers

Carl

Moose Rack, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

A hiker, Natalie, sits with a moose rack and skull, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

I ran across what is easily the biggest moose rack I’ve ever come across in the woods a few days ago. I was on the last leg of a hike in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, from the Sanford River drainage over the Sanford Plateau, and down to the Dadina River. Natalie (pictured) and I were sauntering through the forest, along the Dadina River when I spotted this rack, not far from the game trail we were walking along. This was one BIG bull moose – I don’t know what happened to the grand old fella, but he’s bones now. He must’ve been a pretty awesome creature back in the day. There are a number of wolves in the area, and grizzly bears as well, and I’m sure he fed them well, along with the myriad other carnivores in the region – wolverine, fox, marten, gulls, ravens, eagles, etc. What a treat it must’ve been for them when he passed, and what a treat it would’ve been to see him walking through the forest beforehand. RIP, great bull.

Some of you might remember I did this hike last summer, and we found this awesome natural ice arch on the Sanford Glacier. Sad to say, the arch has had its day. We hiked up the moraine and crested the ridge right before the arch, only to see a huge gaping gap between the 2 side walls – no bridge at all. Ironically, a couple who were up there the week prior to our trip said the arch was still there, so we only missed it by a few days. It seems the arch collapsed under glacial movement, not melting, as the left side of the gap is noticeably higher than it used to be – in fact, the wall ascends away from the gap, where it used to descend. So I’m pretty sure pressure from the glacier caused the collapse of the arch, not melting – though melting may have been a contributing factor, as the summer has been hot, hot hot so far. Except, of course, for the day we hiked up to the now gone arch – it rained like a sonuvagun that day – so no pics of the fallen arch. I should’ve taken a picture, instead, of me, drenched to the bone, in my failed (and now history) Marmot Precip raingear. The jacket and pants had done their time and now are beyond redemption. Fortunately, it didn’t rain again for the rest of the trip until the final night, when I was tucked away in my very dry tent. I should’ve known better than to carry my old gear, but I thought it might still work reasonably well. Alas, it didn’t and I got a soaking. Toughened me up though.

Heading out tomorrow for a week at Skolai Pass. Woo hoo. I’ll try to schedule another post while I’m away, from this last trip, but it’s hard – summer’s the time for hiking, not blogging.

Cheers

Carl