Alaskan summer: backpacking Kesugi Ridge

Summertime. This seems like a foreign concept. It’s been in the single digits for a couple weeks now here in southcentral Alaska. The snow has that crispness that, when treaded upon in the denseness of frigid air, becomes a significant part of the audible landscape. The crackle of the snow under my ski boots, for example, has been booming through the air for weeks. Life slows down in the winter, stays indoors, goes underground–so the available sounds are fewer, more distinct (mainly outside of town) so they become more noticeable, individual. They break the silence of winter. The crackling of snow underfoot, the guttural, melodious communication among ravens, the roar of a car through a distant mountain roadway piercing giant snow banks. Man! Writing this makes me want to go outside right now and take a walk. I’m not sure why I’m writing about sounds.

All of this is a great contrast to a lovely hike I took last August with some visiting friends. It was the Kesugi Ridge trail that we took north to south, paralleling the Alaska Range as we went (with views of North America’s highest peak–Denali–the entire time!) Sunshine followed us the entire few days down the trail. We also met with ripening blueberry patches, howling wolves, icy lake swims, and 5am heavenly light on Denali after an early morning hike up to a vantage point. I love the winter, but I quite enjoyed looking back over these photos that I hadn’t really sifted through and thinking about the promise of a freedom that the inhospitable nature of winter could never match.

Scroll over a photo to see information about it.

work for Reuters in Yahoo!News, New York Times

Last night, as what is expected to be the largest storm to hit northwest Alaska since 1974 bore down, and forecasters predicted gusts to 100mph in some places with “hurricane strength” Reuters News Pictures sent me out to get some imagery.

But being in Anchorage (which isn’t expected to receive the storm at all), on a clear, cold evening meant that I had to improvise to get any story-telling imagery. Below are 3 of the images I came up with. They’ve showed up now in Yahoo!News and the Jakarta Globe among others.

In doing a search, I also found an old image of Sarah Palin I shot for Reuters in 2009 that showed up in a New York Times article this past June. So I guess that’s my first photograph ever published in the New York Times!