Wildflowers, Chugach Mountains, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Wildflowers, Chugach Mountains, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Here’s another photo from my trip this year to Tebay Lakes. We hiked south from the landing strip, at Upper Tebay Lake, and found this ridge on the backside of Tebay Falls, where we camped. I got up early one morning and had a blast shooting the dawn, with an array of wildflowers. Most mornings there would be an ever so slight breeze, which made it difficult to get closeup photos of the wildflowers, but I managed to get a few that were sharp. Fortunately there were flowers everywhere here – way more than probably anywhere else in the park that I’ve seen. This little patch of Dwarf Fireweed (the magenta or pink-ish flower here) and Arctic Daisy made a nice foreground for the distant peaks. I’ve never been very good at identifying flowers, but I’m pretty sure these are right. The yellow ones are either Alpine Arnica or Mountain Arnica.

This shot was taken about 30 yards from where I’d camped. It’s one nice thing about backcountry travel is that you can (usually) camp right near where you want to photograph in the morning, meaning more time in bed asleep and less time out traveling to your destination. I could just jump out of the sleeping bag, throw on my fleece pants and jacket, a pair of crocs, and I’m ready to go. Coffee and oatmeal comes later. That’s pretty much my summer routine – unless, of course, it’s raining. Then I’m completely unafraid to sleep in, listening to the patter of the drizzle and drifting back and forth between consciousness and coma – a glorious state. 🙂

Last summer (2006) I did a trip for these same dates, 10 days in mid-August, and we got TOTALLY nailed by the weather. When it wasn’t raining it was fixing to rain, or snow, or sleet, or all 3. This summer was almost the exact opposite, thank heavens, and we had glorious weather the whole trip, pretty much. Sergei, a professor from Virginia, was on both trips, in 2006 and in 2007, so he was quite relieved we had different weather this summer – he’s signed up for 2 trips in 2008 already, so I’m guessing the weather did its work.

Backpacking in weather like this is awesome – and I mean awesome in the real sense of the word, where awe is invoked, not awesome like a hotdog. I love to be out, to be in the mountains, and soak up the rhythm of a place, to feel it, to listen to it, to see it, and to experience it. There’s simply nothing like it. I must admit, there’s nothing like being out for 10 days in near-freezing conditions with constant precipitation going on either, but in a different way.

For now, that’s enough. I’ll write another post in the next day or so, then it may be a while before I can post again. I’ll try to keep up as I’m able. The Alaskan bush doesn’t always have electricity and/or internet connections. Whilst it may be inconvenient, times like this one pictured above remind me of why I don’t mind such an inconvenient truth.

Cheers

Carl

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5 thoughts on “Wildflowers, Chugach Mountains, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

  1. Ron Niebrugge

    I love to see photos of one of my favorite areas!

    By the way, if you get tired of the cold out there, just remember, I still have a paint brush or hammer with your name on it – in a nice warm house. 🙂

    Be careful out there bro and have fun!

    Ron

  2. Carl Donohue

    Hey Ron,

    Thanks for stopping by, man. It sure is a great area up there. I wish I’d gone to Tebay a long time ago – I was really surprised how beautiful that area is.

    Dude, you know WAY better than to hook me up with a hammer, in your own home of all places. 🙂 Now, a paintbrush is a different story – I’m sure my dad will chime in here sometime and tell you how awesome I am with a paintbrush. He still owes me money for years of my artwork.

    Someone bought a pair of new down booties this evening. And a chainsaw. How’s that for a nice combo? 🙂

    Cheers

    Carl

  3. Ron Niebrugge

    Forget the down booties and go right to the bunny boots! You will never fear overflow again.

    This mild weather is sure making life easy so far.

    How are you able to spend so much time in the field? There are two of us, and we still need months at at a time in the office. I’m jealous!

  4. Carl Donohue

    Hey Ron,

    Well, the booties are for sitting around in a tent, van or a cabin – there’s a LOT of downtime in this part of the world in winter – these days are STILL getting shorter. I never got any bunny boots – how do you reckon my crampons would fit over those?

    “mild weather”??? is you crazy? It’s nearly freezing outside right now! “mild weather” indeed!!!

    How do I spend so much time in the field? Didn’t you just spend about 3 months in the Lower 48? You’ve been back, what, 3 weeks now? Dude, I mean, DUDE …. !!!

    I was supposed to head out today, but now it’s already today and I’m stuck in Anchorage .. tomorrow I shall leave, and we’ll see how that goes.

    Cheers

    Carl

  5. Ron Niebrugge

    Three weeks and I guess I’m already restless lol. 🙂

    Yeah, down booties rock for around the tent, cabin, sleeping bag – good choice. Bunny boots are ok with snowshoes, but they aren’t any good with crampons – normally if it is cold enough to need bunny boots, the ice is long buried in snow and you wouldn’t need crampons.

    The days are short – it gets a little boring this time of year waiting for some light – unless you have some auroras.

    Have fun!

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