Yikes . . . Has it really been this long?! Part 1: Spring in Alaska

Posted by lwpetersen | February 2, 2017 | aurora borealis, outdoors, photo-blog, travel alaska
Aurora at Angel Rocks

It sure doesn’t feel like it, but it’s been over a year since I’ve published a blog-post. I’ve still been writing, editing, and updating, but not publishing new things. I’ve still been out taking photos in Alaska, just not as much as I would hope too. It’s been hard to get out because work has been taking quite a bit of my time lately, my latest camera system failed, and I took a gouge out of my walk-around lens last summer. On a much more positive note, Kate and I bought a house this summer just outside of Fairbanks. We’re exhilarated to be first-time homeowners, but we’ve got quite the list of projects already starting.

I’m never as happy without my camera and this the second failure I’ve had in the last two years (photography is getting expensive). So I finally ordered a replacement camera and lens this morning and I wanted to kickstart myself into writing again by sharing some alaska photos I’ve taken since spring of 2016.

Angel Rocks Aurora

I didn’t spend as many nights out watching the aurora as usual, but still managed to see a few good displays. One night my friend, Phil and I hiked out to Angel Rocks. It was cold, my old headlamp kept failing, the aurora built up gradually, it was a pretty night.

Aurora over Angel Rocks

The aurora appeared in the twilight on the hike up to Angel Rocks.

Aurora borealis over the Chena River Valley

The northern lights really came out on the hike back down from the car. We stopped to sit in the snow and watch for a while.

Aurora over overf

Aurora over overflow on the North Fork of the Chena River at the Angel Rocks trailhead.
More Angel Rocks Photos

Denali National Park

On a weekend I had free in May, I drove down to Denali National Park, staying one night at the Riley Creek Campground. It’s free to stay at this campsite at the park entrance before the tourist season starts, and we had been having an unusually warm spring. The leaves were already starting to green; the weather was perfect for camping.

Moose in Denali National Park

A moose at the traffic circle in the Denali National Park entrance.

Denali from the Park Road

Taking a drive out to the Teklanika River, Denali was out! Taken near the Meadow View Trailhead.

Alpenglow on mountains - Denali National Park & Preserve

A touch of alpenglow on the peaks near the Teklanika River.

The next day I set out to hike Mt. Healy via the Healy Overlook Trail. The trail is steep, yet comfortable up to the overlook. Mt. Healy was in the clouds, so there was nothing to see from the overlook. Continuing on, the snow became more frequent and deeper. The air was warm and the snow was melting fast. Without snowshoes, I was postholing past my knees with every step, so I decided to bail. It was still a gorgeous day and an awesome hike!

Arctic Ground Squirrel

Arctic ground squirrels pop up everywhere up here.

The Alaska Range - Denali National Park & Preserve

Great views of the Alaska Range within Denali National Park from here.

Trail beyond Healy Overlook

The last bit of snow-free trail beyond the overlook. Misery awaits on this warm day. I finally turned back from postholing in the soft and wet snow.

Backpacking on the Canwell Glacier

Later in May, Phil and I ventured out to the Canwell Glacier via Miller Creek in the Eastern Alaska Range. We spent one night out on the ice, hiking up to the snowline before turning back (because I passionately hate postholing). This was my first time approaching the glacier directly from the Richardson Highway. I usually drive a few miles up Red Rock Canyon Road to approach the southern moraine from above.

Backpacking up Miller Creek in the Alaska Range

Phil in the Miller Creek bed on the way to the Canwell Glacier.

Lenticular clouds form over the Delta River Valley

Lenticular clouds form over the Delta River Valley.

Institute Peak from the Canwell Glacier

Institute Peak from the Canwell Glacier.

Supraglacial stream on the Canwell Glacier

A stream on the edge of the southern lateral moraine of the Canwell Glacier.

More Photos From May 22, 2016

May snow on the Canwell Glacier

Waking up to snow on the MSR Fury.

Hiking on the Canwell Glacier in snow.

Hiking off the Canwell Glacier in some prime conditions.

Fresh snow on a glacier stream in the Alaska Range

Cool contrast of the glacial stream and the fresh dusting of snow.

Miller Creek in the Alaska Range

Down in the valley it was an entirely different climate. Looking west over Miller Creek.

Looking up the Canwell Glacier Valley From Miller Creek

Looking back up the Canwell glacier valley.

More Photos From May 23, 2016

Camping at Mt. Prindle Campground

Kate and I took a weekend to take the dog camping in the White Mountain National Recreation Area. First we drove down to the Ophir Creek Campground, since neither of us had been there before. The mosquitoes told us that we needed to leave the area immediately or face dire consequences of blood-loss. After retreating we took a short walk on the Table Top mountain trail. A couple of people that worked for the BLM took video of us hiking on the trail, but I’ve never seen what came of it. We set up camp at one of the Prindle campsites that was ever-so-less buggy, made some dinner, and hunkered down for the evening. The next day we slept in a bit before taking a hike along Nome Creek. Another great spring weekend in Alaska!

Nome and Ophir Creeks in the White Mountain National Recreation Area

At the confluence of Nome and Ophir Creek is a put-in for Beaver Creek.

Table Top Mountain - White Mountain National Recreation Area

Table Top Mountain

Campsite in the Mt. Prindle Campground

Our impatient dog is waiting to go for his walk.

Dog eating snow

We found a little snowfield. Moose played like a madman in it. There’s nothing more fun than eating snow when it’s hot out!

Nome Creek Valley in late spring

The Nome Creek Valley. It almost feels like summer.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

Alignment of Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Moon with Aurora Borealis
Posted by lwpetersen | May 28, 2016
I woke up early to photograph a cool planetary alignment of Venus, Mars, and Jupiter with a quarter moon. I lucked out because the aurora was still going strong at...
Posted by lwpetersen | May 25, 2016
Ridges and tors over red and yellow valleys to the east of Nome Creek I took a little 12 mile ridge hike at Nome Creek in the White Mountains in...
Posted by lwpetersen | December 6, 2015
The first impressive aurora borealis display I witnessed this season was shortly after midnight on September 11. It broke up fairly quickly, becoming diffuse, but it was brilliant for about...