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Sunday 16 September 2012

In a Rut

Maligne Lake Historic Boathouse Jasper, AB
Maligne Lake Historic Boathouse Jasper, AB - Click for larger
Without a doubt, Jasper is one of the most spectacular places in Canada. We have returned to the national park during the height of the elk rut. These guys really are scary monsters. We found out just how scary one evening when we returned to our campsite to cook dinner. There were female elk all around us. We photographed them all the while looking out for the Bull. All of a sudden, there he was with bloody murder in his eye. Lori and I made a hasty retreat to the van. After a while they all wandered off and we continued with our dinner. We have had many good opportunities to photo these big guys. Bull Elk
Bull Elk - Click for larger
Bull Elk Bugling
Bull Elk Bugling- Click for larger
We have had a lot of sunshine and lots of different animals to work. The Maligne Lake Road was quite productive for us. We saw Pika, Coyotes, Bear and Moose. Pika
Pika - Click for larger
Black Bear
Black Bear - Click for larger
I had photographed the boathouse at the lake one evening. The light didn’t last long enough for me to get all the shots I wanted so we headed back the next night. I waited and waited for the sun to peak out from the clouds. Lori went back to the car to get us something to eat. While she was gone, the light finally was there. I shot my landscape after waiting an hour and a half. As soon as I was done, a cow and calf moose walked out of the woods and down to the lake right in front of me closely followed by a bull! Bull Moose
Bull Moose - Click for larger
The moose had walked by Lori in the parking lot. She grabbed my 70-200mm lens and brought it to me. She then went back and grabbed my 500mm lens so we had all of our options for shooting.

Jasper is difficult to leave! I think this will definitely be one of the many highlights of our trip this year. We are heading south tomorrow to Lake Louise and Banff. Then we will finally turn east toward home. The Colin Range, Jasper, AB

Pyramid Mountain, Jasper, AB
Pyramid Mountain, Jasper, AB - Click for larger
Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel
Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel - Click for larger

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Sunday 9 September 2012

Termination Dust

Kluane Mountain Range, Yukon
Kluane Mountain Range, Yukon - Click for larger
That's what the Whitehorse locals call the first snow on the mountains. They told me it marks the end of the tourist season. We were real excited to see the snow. It added a beautiful frosting. Lori and I worked the Alaska Highway north of Destruction Bay and tried to capture the reflections along the way. Kluane Mountain Range, Yukon
Kluane Mountain Range, Yukon - Click for larger
It truly is the end of the season up here. Many of the campgrounds, stores and restaurants are closed and many more will close soon. We were surprised to learn that Kathleen Lake Campground, and the two Visitors Centres in Kluane National Park would close Sept. 4th. This was due to the recent cuts in funding to our National Parks by the federal government. Sad is all I can say. Kluane Mountain Range, Yukon
Kluane Mountain Range, Yukon - Click for larger
We travelled back through Whitehorse and then south to Watson's Lake. There is a highway that runs south through Northern British Columbia called the Cassier Highway. In 2010 highway 37 south was closed due to forest fires. This time the road was open and in good condition. The first part of the road was through the previous fire area. The burn area was very large. It went on for miles. We camped and made our way to Stewart BC. Male Spruce Grouse
Male Spruce Grouse - Click for larger
We tried to photograph Bears in Hyder Alaska but didn’t have much luck. There is a viewing platform at Fish Creek where there are spawning salmon. The bears would wander by eat and wander on. There were far more people than bears. Not my cup of tea I guess. I had much more luck photographing bears at the side of the road around Watson’s lake than we did in Hyder. I’m sure Fish Creek is a wonderful place; we just didn’t hit it at the right time. Black Bear
Black Bear - Click for larger
The other attraction in the Stewart area is the Salmon Glacier. We drove a very rough road up high in the mountains passing from Alaska back into BC. We got up there expecting to see the 5th largest glacier in North America. It was completely covered by clouds. Lori and I climbed into the van and snoozed for a while. After a couple of hours of waiting for the glacier to appear through the clouds and fog, we gave up and made our way back down the road. Salmon River Valley, BC
Salmon River Valley, BC - Click for larger
I didn’t look forward to driving up the road again but I knew I had to before we could leave the area. We waited a couple of days and finally it cleared enough for us to try again. Even though it wasn’t clear skies, we did get a little light at the top. Salmon Glacier, BC
Salmon Glacier, BC - Click for larger
It was worth the wait. What a spectacular sight!

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Friday 7 September 2012


Matanuska Glacier, Alaska
Matanuska Glacier, Alaska - Click for larger
The people are friendly, the mountains and glaciers are beautiful and all of the road signs have bullet holes. Bullet Holes in Sign
Bullet Holes in Sign in Alaska - Click for larger
I didn’t have much light but we sure enjoyed seeing Alaska. Photography was pretty much a bust. Lori and I will definitely try to come back here. We did meet an interesting lady in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Nancy Lethcoe was using the guest cabin when we met her in a pull-out at the trailhead. She asked if we would like to see the cabin. Cabin in Wrangel-St. Elias
Cabin in Wrangel-St. Elias - Click for larger
Cabin Interior in Wrangel-St. Elias
Cabin Interior in Wrangel-St. Elias - Click for larger
We accepted her invitation and walked the short trail. We chatted for awhile and wandered around the cabin. I didn’t take her picture, as I didn’t want to intrude more than we already had. But I wish I had taken her portrait. It turns out she was a silver medalist in the 1956 Olympics, an activist involved with the EXXON Valdez oil spill clean-up, and a college teacher. Nancy and her late husband also operated a sailing and kayaking company and co-authored and published books on Prince William Sound.

Another couple came along the trail and Nancy invited them to see the cabin. After saying our goodbyes we moved on. We meet so many interesting people as we travel!

We cut our Alaska visit a bit short and will continue on our adventure back in the Yukon. Mountain Reflections

Chicken in Chicken, Alaska
Chicken in Chicken, Alaska - Click for larger
Alaska Sunset
Alaska Sunset - Click for larger