Monday, April 24, 2017

Denali & Aurora

I'm not sure I should advertise this, but spring is clearly one of the best times to visit Denali. Corrie and I spent a mosquito free weekend in a nearly empty park under clear Aurora filled skies. Spring camping couldn't get much better, but I might need to find Corrie a zero degree sleeping bag of her own.

This post is mostly photos Corrie took.

Denali from the South viewpoint on the Parks Highway

The NPS was advertising "find your park" for national parks week. It only took a little shoveling to find the tent site. 

It doesn't really get dark until after midnight now (The darkest point is about 2 am thanks to daylight savings time and Alaska's giant time zone). It was well worth staying up for the Aurora this weekend. We started seeing some while the sky was still a bit light and they were so bright we could see by their light once it finally got dark. 

The first three photos are from the visitor center parking lot.  

During a low phase we drove about 15 miles into the park to watch them from above the trees. 

On Saturday we joined a group bike ride into the park from the end of the car accessible road. The trip was cut short by a bear who wasn't up to sharing the road with cyclists. 

a traffic jam in Denali... I think most of the people in the park were on this bike ride waiting for the bear.
Not a bad place to wait out a bear.
It really is spring here...
Our view for lunch after the ride.
Saturday night's Aurora from about 12 miles into the park.

Purple Aurora streaking through the Big Dipper!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Five Years

I realized this week that it has been half a decade since I started the blog and today marks the fifth anniversary of my first "retirement". This has been a good run with lots of adventure and changes. Although blogging has seen a dry spell lately adventures continue. For example, I celebrated this afternoon by running up a mountain valley with a friend of more than 20 years. The weather was perfect, the scenery fantastic, and I neglected to take a single photo...

This was taken just above today's run on a hike two weeks ago. It was about the same with slightly less snow. 

This was on another hike a couple miles North of today's run.

My brother's puppy is a good hiking companion. It's been great to live near the mountains again.

Year six looks likely to be at least as full of adventure as the last five. Alternate Solutions became my sole employment last summer which has allowed me to match Corrie's schedule. The work has been sufficient and last week Alternate Solutions launched an independent design project when I couldn't find a minimalist camper that met my expectations. The design is coming along nicely and I expect to start welding the prototype together within a week or two. Environmental testing will be conducted over the course of 6 weeks and 10,000 miles this summer as Corrie and I visit friends and National Parks around the western US and Canada. Hopefully I'll have more details on both the project and the trip to share soon. First, we are headed to Denali for sunny spring skies and snow camping.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Fall always gives me a sense of urgency, especially since moving back to Alaska. Winter is nice and I still enjoy snow but life, particularly working outside, is much easier without it. I expected we'd return from our summer in Europe to another month of summer in AK, but I felt the urgency of fall set in the day we got off the plane. Winter clearly wasn't imminent since last Friday was our first snow, but it was a busy 10 weeks that went by quickly. 

First Snow on the porch Friday. I'm glad we got the yard cleaned up the week before.

Corrie bought a fat tire bike to commute with this winter. She was in Soldotna, so I snow tested it for her. It was a lot of fun and rides great even over roots through 4" of new snow. Now I want to get one...  

Saturday morning heading out to hike in the snow I found the road blocked and went for a three mile run along Campbell Creek while I wait for them to clear the road. 

Snow sparkling in the sun.

For a moment I thought that stump was a bear which stopped me mid stride. It could have made a cooler photo if it had been, but I probably wouldn't have stuck around to take it... 

Heading up Wolverine Trail. We see these mountains from the porch view above when it's clear. 

There are quite a few small creeks crossing the trail that haven't frozen yet. The are pretty easy to cross and look awesome as the ice builds up on all the rocks and plants.  

I couldn't make the top with the late start but I did make it above tree line. I'm planning to do more winter hiking this year and this was great first day.

Looking back up at the peak from about 1/2 way down.

This morning's sunrise over the mountains. The sun doesn't clear the mountains until about 10 AM now.