Forget-me-nots on Alaska Day (observed)

Today is (observed) Alaska Day. The official Alaska Day is Oct. 18 and recognizes the U.S. flag raising at Fort Sitka on Oct. 18, 1867.  The U.S. flag replaced its Russian counterpart following the purchase of Alaska for roughly $7 million. Alaska Day is being observed a day late this year because it is a paid holiday for state employees.  Since I didn’t post…

Fog lifts from a hayfield

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”   My happy place is a state of being — the culmination of numerous factors. A breath of fresh air in sun or snow. Freedom to run through the woods, twisting along a skinny trail. A beer and a dance floor with great live music, or a slow sunday with a cup of…

Catch of the day

Above: Expect more of a “fishing perch” than a “fishing hole” when dip-netting the Copper River in southeast Alaska. Spirit Mountain pokes above the big and fast glacial-fed river that’s full of silt and very cold. Copper River Reds, the salmon in the net, are some of the most sought after in the world.  The river is also an excellent of the Weekly Photo Challenge of…

Fall around Fairbanks

Above: The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute, with a satellite-receiving dish on the roof, sits tucked among trees as a runner makes her away along trails far below, visibly only by a bright blue jacket. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game the boreal forest, that which is found around Interior Alaska, is largest terrestrial ecosystem on earth.  Interior Alaska’s fall comes fast, and…

Scenery and a sandpiper

Above: The Eastern Alaska Range backdrops the Delta Clear Water, a spring-fed river in Interior Alaska. A small canoe can be seen in the lower third of the photo, The Delta Clearwater is an Interior Alaska river true to its name: clearwater. An early summer float trip provided astounding views and some small wildlife.

Night hike of Granite Tors

Earlier this summer three friends and I took advantage of Alaska’s 24-hour daylight to night hike Granite Tors in the Chena River State Recreation Area. We started aaround 8:30 p.m. and finished the 15-mile loop trail around 3 a.m. We ran as much as possible of the challenging trail and took one or two snack breaks. Two benefits are immediately noticeable when night hiking. Catching…

Skiing World Class Thompson Pass

Above: Mt. Diamond backdrops Eli Sturm as he skies down a couloir in Thompson Pass, where the scenery and snow are world class.  The 2,805 foot Thompson Pass pass is outside the coastal town of Valdez, and averages more than 550 inches of snow per year. Skiers and snowboarders travel from all over the world to make turns in Thompson. Copious runs are accessible right…

Majestic Alaska: Castner Glacier

Some time ago I realized I live in one of the most stunning landscapes on the planet, yet fail to truly experience it. I call it the backyard syndrome: it’s so close you rarely walk through it. Not to say Alaska isn’t enormous, harsh and challenging. So more and more I have been taking to the trail. A few weeks ago four people from the…

Angle Rocks in spring and fall

Above: Sun shines on a granite tor of Angle Rocks and trees in golden fall colors, to the right the Chena River snakes through a valley cast in shadows. September 11, 2014. Angle Rocks is almost assuredly the most popular hiking spot near Fairbanks. It’s a 3.5-mile loop in the Chena River State Recreation Area, about 45 miles from Fairbanks, that takes trekkers through…

Far Mountain Traverse

Above: The view south from the top of Far Mountain, northeast of Fairbanks. Smoke rises far in the distance from a wildfire more than 100 miles south. Far Mountain Traverse is roughly a 28-mile hike that starts and ends at Chena Hot Springs. The loop has a total elevation gain around 15,000 feet, with a summit of more than 4000 feet — one of the highest…