Update and lots of pics

Sep 2, 2012 | 0 comments

This week was relatively uneventful, so I’m taking it as an opportunity to post a backlog of random photos that don’t really fit anywhere else. 
As you may have guessed, the rest of my trip into the field totally fell through and I ended up staying in Nome. My trip for next week has been postponed too — I was supposed to go out to Serpentine again on Monday for the week, but yesterday we found out that we’re not allowed to go because it would mean working on Labor Day! Yay government. 

So now the tentative plan is to just go up Fri-Sun next weekend. I’m super glad that I at least get to go, but I was really looking forward to another week there to get some of the shots I was unable to get last time. 
At any rate, here are a few more pictures from Kuzitrin (photos taken by my supervisor):
Way too excited to be in a helicopter
Photographing the archaeological site

Freezing cold and soaking wet — but still smiling 🙂

Sweet rainbow over camp

So of course after I got back from Kuzitrin, the weather was terrible for about the next 4 days. However, it made for some pretty cool wave action out at sea. Here are some shots of it:

In black and white
By the end of the week, we finally got a break in the weather — which was a good thing, because we were scheduled for our last ranger hike of the season, to a place called Copper Canyon, about 40 miles up the road from Nome.

The Grand Central River

I was absolutely thrilled to find that, seemingly overnight, the landscape had exploded into brilliant fall colors. The camera couldn’t even capture the warm hues of red, gold, orange, and yellow. “Termination dust,” or the first snow of the season, capped even the lower mountains, marking the end of summer.

River crossing

As the name suggests, Copper Canyon is the site of an old copper mine. To get to it, we had to cross a fast-flowing river that was just deep enough to top my rubber boots (brrr!) and strong enough to sweep away the heedless hiker. Nonetheless, we made it across and spent the afternoon ascending the gentle slope tundra along the drainage that makes up the canyon.

Although stunningly beautiful, the hike itself wasn’t incredibly exciting, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

Fall colors and termination dust

Late season blueberries
Alaska has the brightest rainbows I’ve ever seen!
Double rainbow, all the way across the sky!!!

A Tolkien-worthy scene

Top of the waterfall

Bottom of the waterfall

One of the mine shafts

Looking through the rocks

To top off the day, on our way back we saw several cars pulled over on the side of the road and someone pointed out towards the hills to our right. Lo and behold, a dark brown grizzly bear was foraging not even a quarter mile up the hill! It was the closest one I’ve seen yet, and I was fortunate enough to have the camera and the right lens this time. Even though it was a little to far to get fantastic pictures, it was super exciting to see.

Grizzly bear, about 1/4 mile away

Grizzly running

Grizzly leaving

This weekend I came to the realization that I really, really love Alaska. As hard as it is to be away from friends and family, and even though there are good days and bad days, ultimately I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.


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