Caribou stampede in McCall Valley (28 June 08 21:51)
We noticed a herd of about 100 caribou gathering on the ridge above us, as we were lying in our bug-net tent. They came down from the ridge, right past our tent, crossed the river below us and headed out of view. You can still see them here across the river, heading down the valley.
Caribou make the trails seen in the foreground.
On our last hike out of McCall Glacier for the 2008 season, we stopped here to camp and have some din...
Turner seems unimpressed, but changing a diaper in mosquito country is no easy feat. Here we ar...
The biggest city in Alaska is Anchorage, sitting in Cook Inlet on the coast of the north pacific. Suburban expansion in Anchorage means houses are being built up into the mountains behind the city.
People in these new developments complain about "the wildlife" sometimes but you know what? You're gonna get moose in your yard when you build houses on their terrain. They will eat your flowers and sleep in your driveway, and stare at you over the top of a parked full-size pickup truck. They're like cows on stilts. I'm just trying to give you an idea of the scale of things up in Alaska, where there are more small planes per capita than anywhere else in the US. Many small villages get their fuel supply flown in by large aircraft, and that's it for the year.
North of Anchorage there are six hundred miles of mountains with very few roads or people, and then up at the top of that expanse is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It's about nineteen million acres of space, or seventy-seven thousand square kilometers.
If you put a map of the state of Alaska on top of a map of the United States, Alaska would cover half of the country. Alaska by itself is the size of half of the United States. That's an easy idea to miss because most maps shrink Alaska when they show it next to the continental U.S.
Back to the pictures: locals in Kavtovik make use of the natural environment. Whale bones on the beach are an example of the subsistence lifestyle which has been going on here for long before airplanes and panoramic pictures.
This is a really interesting set of pictures. Scientists get the award for "most thorough documentation" of a spot.
Okay, I haven't personally been up as far as AWNR, but I can tell you just from hiking Girdwood that it's a very very amazing feeling to walk for a while, turn around, and see absolutely nothing man-made anywhere in your field of vision, except your boots.
Text by Steve Smith.