Wildflowers at the Glaciers Edge
Group of American Black Oystercatchers
Flight of a Pigeon Guillemot
Sneak peak by Mustela erminea (Short-tailed Weasel)
Song Sparrow in the Brush
Beautiful call of a Common Loon
Fire of the Castilleja miniata (Indian Paintbrush)
Seagull grazes the Glacial Carved Slopes
Life at the Edge – Fireweed
Wilderness Duet – Common Loons
The Hubbard Glacier
In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.
– John Muir
Last light on the Ice
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.
– Rachel Carson
Follow the Crystal Clear Road
To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.
– John Muir
360* of Pure Wilderness
And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
– William Shakespeare
Color in the fog
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
– John Muir
Too much for Words
The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild, and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World.
– Henry David Thoreau
Movement of Time
This past week Adam, Jesse, and I ventured south of Sitka to the South Baranof Wilderness. Your destination “Red Bluff Bay” is known for its “red bluffs…obvi” but it is also an amazing place to see wildlife, huge fjords, and countless waterfalls. We headed out from Sitka early and ventured on a boat around the island. The sunrise silhouetted the mountains nicely to the east and I was able to grab this shot.
On our way to Red Bluff we stopped in the town of Baranof Warmsprings! After snacking on the wild berries near the docks we soaked in the warmsprings for a couple hours which are amazing! Soon after we were met by Ken Merrill and his dog Baranof (our previous captain on the West Chichagof Expedition).
The seas were smooth as we traveled south and we ran into a couple whales!
Two hours later we arrived in Red Bluff Bay where we were greeted by an enormous waterfall. Later Adam and I paddled up to the falls to experience its power in full force (aka we got soaked!).
Each day Ken spent time fishing and we threw out some shrimp pots which was a first time experience for me!
During the day I spent time paddling around the bay photographing wildlife and the amazing wilderness. The salmon were about to spawn and I spent a number of hours trying to get a photograph of them jumping (unsuccessfully…). They fill almost every freshwater stream you run into so it was pretty frustrating that I could not get a single sharp telephoto capture of a jump. This is the best I got!
My previous post expressed my amazement about the number of bears here and this trip only added to that! Here are some of my best captures of bears this past week.
On the third day of our trip we headed up the Red Bluffs to get a view of the bay and mountains but unfortunately we were thwarted once again by clouds and fog in the alpine!!!
Overall it was an amazing trip and even though the last two days were pretty filled with rain (and a canceled flight due to weather) it is hard to beat a week in the wild!
(Jesse Chilling 1970s style)
Most people think of Alaska when they think of the Great Brown Bear, but after this last trip I think of one place – GOULDING HARBOR.
Being one of the most beautiful harbors in West Chichagof, we made sure to stop there on our week long trip. Chuck and Alice had seen many a bear during there 15 years of trips to the area but even so we were all amazing at the amount we saw during our 1 day stay. The day began with a jolting wakeup call from my wonderful nap as Andrew said “Bear and two cubs…get your camera and jump in the Kayak!”. Still in a daze I put on my rain gear and jumped into my kayak and paddled with my telephoto lens in my lap over to a bend where I could sneak up to the bears. Unfortunately they had run into the woods before I turned the corner but soon they were back and I was photographing away!
As I continued taking shots, the wind picked up and began blowing me towards the shore they the bears were grazing near. As you can guess, when you are taking photos you can not paddle a kayak so I soon looked up to realized that I was way too close! As I threw my camera into my lap and paddled backward the bears glanced up but just continued to eat.
As exciting as it was, it soon seemed the bears could care less that we were there. Before we moved on I grabbed one more photo of the cub that makes the wild beast seem quite tame and cute.
After this little kayak adventure, Andrew and I headed to the end of the harbor to see if there were any bears in the estuary. Of course as were turned the corner we nearly walked up on this bear!
With such a spectacular view of the bear we began to sneak our way along the edge of the forest to get a better/safer view. As we came to the edge of the trees we spotted three more bears in the same estuary! I could not believe it and it was truly a blast to see these magnificent mammals in true wilderness.
I hope everyone enjoys these! It really pays to get out to the wild and see this stuff.
I just returned from an amazing trip back to the West Chichagof Wilderness. I am slowly making it through all of my video and photo materials from the trip but wanted to post some of my favorite panoramas from the journey. ENJOY…and more to come soon!!!
A view from the Myriad Islands
Grazing Bear in Goulding Harbor
Andrew Kayaking through Dry Pass
The Original Founders of SCS, Chuck and Alice Johnstone and Roger DuBrock
Kayaking through Goulding Harbor AKA “Bear World”
Roger and Elaine on an evening kayak on the outer coast.
Sunset over Greentop