We looking forward to long, sunny days spent backpacking through the wildflowers of Lake Clark National Park, like the day captured in our April Photo of the Month!
It’s been 16 years since Derek and I launched Alaska Alpine Adventures with a meager life savings (after all we were ski/climb bums) and a notion that we’d stumbled upon something very special - a national park with millions of acres of untouched wilderness, endless rivers, glaciers, lakes, and mountains, a paucity of visitors, abundant wildlife, and a rich cultural history tied to salmon. Lake Clark felt like a blank canvas that was ours to paint and I remember often thinking to myself, ‘is this for real?’ - how can it be that a place this amazing has seen so little in the way of exploration? How can it be that most of these mountains remain unclimbed? How can it be that there aren’t people clambering to experience this wonderful piece of the planet?’ It simply seemed to me that this incredible opportunity was ours for the taking, and we jumped at it. Nearly two decades later, I’m on a flight returning from the 12th annual Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) in Puerto Varas, Chile and reflecting on one of the conference's most curious questions - what exactly is adventure travel? That question, as it turns out, is difficult for some to answer, but for me the answer lies squarely in Alaska!
So let's begin the new year with a shot from summer in Gates of the Arctic National Park. Even though our Alaska days are now growing longer by the hour and we're having a spectacular winter, we all long for the warmth of midnight arctic sunlight and yearn to shed a layer or two of winter garb.
Here's the 4th (and for those of you counting, I did miss a month or two!) from our exploratory trip into Denali National Park this past summer. First things first - what comes to mind when you look at this photo? If you're thinking words like ominous, dark, wet, slippery, steep, loose, or just plain scary, then you certainly have good wilderness instinct! In fact, in reality, this slope was even more difficult and dangerous than the picture conveys.
Happy Thanksgiving! Two photos in row and within a month of each other - I must be on a roll. I guess I feel energized to take back Alaska, since it has unfortunately been hijacked by a person who shall remain nameless! Here's the second image from our exploratory trip into Denali National Park this past summer.
I've decided to dedicate the next few images to Denali National Park - a place we got to know a little better this past summer. As many of you know, my passion is exploring the unexplored. I'm thankful to live in a place on earth where the notion of "unexplored" is real and opportunity to share these landscapes with others is possible.
Welcome to the first photo from July 2009 into the North Wrangell Mountains in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
As I was editing my slides (yes I'm still a 35mm film guy!!!) from last summer, this image nearly jumped from the light table. It fit my parameters for a photo of the month - an image that conveys solitude, bewilderment, wonder, wilderness, and adventure.
I took this shot in July of 2004 while guiding our Turquoise to Twin Traverse backpacking trip in Lake Clark National Park. Pictured is our first camp at the spectacular and remote Turquoise Lake - located right in the heart of the park. Access to this amazing wilderness is solely by floatplane and roughly a 1.5 hour flight from Anchorage.