Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Some July fishing photos

Trying to get up some pics from the summer.  These are from a July fishing excursion on the Yellowstone River in the Park near Gardiner.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

alaska part I

Last month, we seized an opportunity to visit our friend, Sarah, and traveled north. Way north. To Alaska.

We landed in Anchorage and spent our first night there. We had great views of the bay from our hotel room.

The next morning, I somehow convinced Steve to go for a short run with me along the coastal trail. Although it was drizzling, it felt great to run at sea level again. Steve did get a little tired of me saying "wow, I run fast here!" over and over again.

Sadly, despite the warning, we did not spot any moose along the trail.

Perhaps it was because they saw my neon orange jacket coming from a mile away.

After we cleaned up from the run, we hopped in our rental car and headed north to Talkeetna. I had read a little bit about Talkeetna, I'm so glad we decided to ditch Anchorage and head there. I love Talkeetna, and would move there if Steve would join me.

After checking in to our B&B, we hit "downtown" Talkeetna in the rain. First stop: Denali Brewing Company for some local beer.

Then we wandered the main drag, which may have only been a couple of blocks but was full of character.

Then it was time to eat. We had a few options, and we had a hard time choosing. 

Something we noticed: Man vs. Food has somehow managed to eat his way around the entire state. Being fans, we decided to take him on his dining recommendation, though we feasted on caribou and crab legs and not a five pound burger like he did.

The next day, we woke up to another rainy morning and made our way north.


We met the bus bound for Camp Denali and departed around 1 p.m.  Camp Denali sits at the end of the 95-mile park road, and the road isn't open to public vehicles. You either take one of the NPS buses, or if you're like us, a bus that operates from one of the wilderness lodges inside the park.

We timed our visit, based on Sarah's recommendations, for the fall colors, and they did not disappoint.

Through the rain, which quickly switched to snow, we spotted two grizzlies, caribou, and dall sheep.  About halfway to camp, we stopped for a picnic dinner. A very wet and snowy picnic dinner.

It snowed almost the entire way in to camp. But it just made the scenery all the more dramatic.

If you are afraid of heights, this drive might bother you a wee bit.

As we approached camp, we caught a fleeting glimpse of a wolf as he ran right past our bus. And then we had a nice, up-close view of two caribou as we drove the final few miles to Camp Denali.

To be continued...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

lamar to pelican

And...we're back. The past month has been a blur. August and September are always the busiest months around here. They are the two months that we actually have summer, and as such, we cram as much into them as we can. We were in Alaska, Chicago, and also made two trips into Yellowstone's backcountry. We'll start there...


Last month, we hit the trail and completed a backpacking trip that's been on my list for a long time: Lamar to Pelican.  The trail starts at the Lamar River Trailhead, in the Northeast corner of the park, and ends 34+ miles later in the Southeast corner of the park, in Pelican Valley. And oh yeah, Pelican Valley has the highest concentration of grizzly bears in the park, so going in a group is recommended.

Five us took off on a Friday morning and hit the trail.  The trail follows the Lamar River, and part of the group peeled off to fish their way to our first campsite.

After 7.9 miles, we reached the Calfee Creek Patrol Cabin.

Sunny skies, beautiful river views. 

We finally reached Miller Creek, which was a nice destination to reach for us mentally, as it (finally!) signaled that we were making some progress.  We rested our feet and filled up our water bottles here. 

After 10.5 miles, we reached our first campsite, backcountry site 3L7. It started to rain when we reached the campsite, so we quickly set up our tents and waited it out.  When the rain subsided to a drizzle, we were able to start a fire and make dinner. 

After dinner, we noticed movement in the meadow across from our campsite, and spotted a cow moose feeding in the tall grass. We watched her for about 30 minutes before she ran off into the trees.

Mileage for day 1: 10.5

Day 2 dawned clear and bright, and we continued to follow the river, while the boys broke off again and fished their way along the trail. 

The views were spectacular and we stopped often for photos.

I got excited whenever we stumbled across signs, as it seemed like we're getting somewhere.  At this divide, we were only 6 miles from the park boundary and had come 16.7 miles since we started. 

Wolf tracks going one way, grizzly tracks headed the other.

Because of the concentration of grizzlies, the only camping in the area is over Mist Creek Pass. There's no camping in Pelican Valley itself, so you really need to get one of the two campsites just over the pass or you're looking at a really long day.

Backcountry campsite 3T3, our home for night 2. Steve and Angie reached the site first, and spotted a grizzly meandering in the area. Luckily, he went on his way and didn't return.

After two days of heavy mileage, it was time to adjust the blisters.

Day 2: 12.9 miles

The whole gang at the campsite on day 3, getting ready to make the final push out to the trailhead.

We left the campsite, and began the climb up Mist Creek Past.

Group photo, minus camera-shy Steve, at the Mist Creek Pass sign.

And then it was time for the final descent. Angie makes it look easy.

Pelican Valley patrol cabin, which means we're getting closer...

The last trail sign we'll see before we reach the car.

Pelican Valley, the final miles.

Pelican Valley is beautiful. But by nature of being a valley, it is wide open and it was hot. HOT. After walking for what seemed like hours, we finally heard traffic and new we were close.

Day 3 miles: 10.8

Grand total for the trip: 34.2 miles

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

the birds are back in town

After disappearing for a couple days, both bald eagles returned today. Don't know if it was because the golden eagle was hanging out at their usual spot, but they were both in trees closer to the river today.

While they were hanging out, some other bird was squawking incessantly. It sounded like an osprey but I never got a glimpse of it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

big bird

I mentioned seeing a big bird bothering the bald eagles but not knowing what it was. It is, I believe, a golden eagle (immature bald eagles and golden eagles look a lot a like). He or she has taken up residence right where the balds had been hanging out.

In fact, the other day one of the balds was sitting on the snag when the golden swooped down and basically pushed the bald right off the perch and alit in the exact spot where the eagles had been roosting.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

our new neighbors

These two eagles have been hanging out across the river from our place for the last three weeks or so. Yesterday, (while on a conference call) I saw one of them grab a fish - first time I've ever seen that - and then fly into the trees. Another big bird, I think it might have been a golden eagle or a very big immature bald or maybe a very dark osprey, followed it into the trees hoping to steal the meal, but I didn't see what happened.

The local ospreys haven't taken to the eagles and routinely harass and shriek at them, but so far the eagles haven't been bothered.