As I prepare for my next great adventure to pick up my R-pod from a rural farm in Three Forks, Montana I thought perhaps I should finish clearing out some of more memorable images from my Alaskan life and visits. Included in this collage is an image taken on The Alaska Highway in British Columbia during my relocation trip from SE Michigan to Talkeetna. I mention it only because technically it isn’t Alaskan weather or Alaskan skies but it was tied to moving up here. I hope to be able to share some amazing images from the majestic provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and The Yukon Territories as well as from Montana and, of course, Alaska. Here’s to the wonder and majesty of Nature regardless of its location!
A number of readers of this blog have commented on the images I sometimes include with a posting and quite a number of folks have expressed real amazement at some of the collages I’ve blogged. A recent reader shared some thoughts with me; from these grew the idea of creating this piece which is really a blog regarding Alaskan skies and weather scenes. This was very difficult to create simply because I have so many beautiful images of The Last Frontier’s skies and unusual/extreme weather. I believe my initial perusal left me with almost sixty images; from these I managed to winnow it down to ‘just’ thirty six and from there down to the following 18 images. I will most likely do another such posting down the road and include the remainder of the final 36 images which just failed to make the cut. So, for your enjoyment, I offer you eighteen images of ‘Alaskan Skies & Weather’…
One of the events I cherish in my new home is viewing true ‘alpenglow’ up here in ‘The Last Frontier’ and to this point I’ve seen some marvelous examples of the effect. To those unsure true ‘alpenglow’ is caused when the sun is just below the horizon – this can occur just before sunrise or just after sunset – such that the more energetic (i.e. higher frequency) portion of the visible light segment of the electromagnetic spectrum isn’t bent enough by the earth’s atmosphere and radiates into space while the less energetic (i.e lower frequency) portion – in this case the reds – are bent just enough to strike taller objects like mountains. The phenomena is always very short duration and requires a clear atmosphere. There are other instances of a pink to red light striking mountains which technically do not meet the above definition but are also referred to to as ‘alpenglow’. While I prefer the images of true alpenglow I have included a number of examples of both effects in the following pictures. This effect is just one more demonstration of the incredible natural beauty that truly makes ‘The Great Land’ unique and so memorable!
Mt Foraker, a 17,000 foot high mountain, shows true alpenglow on its western face
Denali and Mt Hunter awash in early morning alpenglow
Early morning alpenglow on The Alaska Range
Just the peak of Denali showing evening alpenglow
This is a shot of the Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords NP with its run-off in the foreground; the glacier is just a bit north of Seward in the Kenai Peninsula. It is an alpine style glacier and sadly has been retreating very quickly across the past few decades
Here is the Portage Glacier which is located in the northern Kenai Peninsula; it is a classic Alpine Glacier
The Alaska Range is full of glaciers and there’s an unnamed glacier sweeping down from The Alaska Range foothills in this image taken from the Paxson end of the Denali Highway (AK 8). This image was taken in early September of 2002 and although it was snowy and cold in the immediate vicinity of the mountains just getting a few tens of miles to the north or south saw sunshine and air temps in the fifties.
The toe of the mighty Matanuska Glacier as seen from a school driveway off the Glenn Highway. This glacier cut the Matanuska Valley which runs for over 100 miles east-west and separates the Chugach Mountains to the south from the Talkeetna Mountains to the north
Just beyond the fall color tundra lies a portion of the Muldrow Glacier in Denali NP&P; it is the dark colored undulations that fade back towards The Alaska Range. This glacier originates from Denali and is the landing field for the bush planes transporting mountain climbers for an attempt to summit Denali. At one time this portion of the glacier was snowy and white but over time the winds in the Park have blown considerable soil onto the glacier and then local fauna has taken root and is actually growing on the soil covering the ice and snow.
Departing Anchorage in the late evening of June 10th I had a wonderful view of the impressive Kenai Mountains showing long shadows in the westering sunlight
An amazingly red sunset caught from the front porch of a magical little cabin named ‘Timbers’ which is nestled along Halibut Cove on a small piece of private land amid the magnificent scenery of Kachemak Bay State Park. This cabin and park are accessible only by water or air and are located across Kachemak Bay from the little town of Homer.
In early June of 2000 I spent four days packing and camping in Kachemak Bay SP which is across Kachemak Bay from Homer and is accessible only by water or air. Black bears were frequently seen which required me to store my supplies in a BRFC (Bear Resistant Food Container) which I chose to hang from some trees (see orange cylinder in roughly center screen). I set up my tent to give some scale to the image; once I finished I moved it about 60 yards away as under these circumstances it would not be wise to camp so close to one’s food!
Close up of the toe of the Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords NP&P. This glacier is located just north of Seward and is sadly rapidly disappearing due to warming.
I’ll never forget this image as it was the first real look I had at Lake Mendenhall, the Mendenhall Glacier and the Mendenhall Towers from my first campsite on my first trip to Alaska. Although the visit took place in very early September which is almost always cloudy and rainy we had 3.5 days of clear, warm weather out of our 4 day stay; it was almost as if Alaska was smiling on us! Once we left the panhandle we moved on to south central Alaska and I was soon to see my future home…