Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Luke casting for rainbows at the base of a waterfall leading into Upper Falls Lake. The countryside surrounding Swan Lake is littered with waterfalls shooting off of cliffs and spilling out of glaciers but this falls was absolutely spectacular.
We had plenty of boulders and different terrain to negotiate just to get into Mountain Goat habitat.
Brian on a snowfield next to the site of Luke's goat harvest.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Halibut fishing with Captain Al and the gang-
Thursday, May 6, 2010
In 1952 Princess Kathleen went aground on Point Lena, approximately 15 miles north of Juneau Alaska. Not long after grounding she flooded with the incoming tide and slid back into 120 feet of water. The vessel has been stationary for almost 60 years but there had been increased reports of tar balls on shore and sheen in the water off of Point Lena so the US Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation implemented a plan to extract the fuel oil from the cruise ship and mitigate the potential for a major release.
Global Diving and Salvage are the contracted diving company tasked with the underwater operations. They are a well travelled group with a ton of talent and a pretty interesting job.
This is the work platform that we are using to dive off of and house the oil that is being extracted from Princess Kathleen.
I had not done any work on marine responses before so everything was fairly new to me. The barge on the right will ultimately accept the old oil and haul it down to Seattle. When I left we had recovered over 10,000 gallons of oil and it looks like there could be as much as 50,000 more gallons to go.
This is one of the divers getting prepped to do some work on Kathleen.
This is one of the divers coming out of the water after working inside of the vessel.
We had deployed harbor boom and absorbent boom around the work platform in an attempt to catch the majority of the oil that escaped with the divers or from the fuel tanks.
The "Neka Bay" was one of the response vessels that was always on site prepared to assist if there was a major release while constantly assisting with booming operations.
Deploying boom away from the work site. This was a secondary layer of protection and picked up the remaining oil that escaped the first line.
After a long day of setting boom in the rain and wind we were treated to a rainbow pointing out our last anchor point. Overall this is a fairly technical operation that I was not exactly trained up on, but I certainly learned a lot about maritime operations and I think the Feds and the State are doing a real service to Alaskan waters by removing a large threat to the area.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic is, by most standards, a significant physical and mental challenge. Since I first became aware of the Wilderness Classic it has challenged me more than anything else to attain the skill set needed to successfully complete this race. My Midwestern agricultural background educated me about how to read a soil sample and how to calibrate a corn planter but I never knew what a climbing skin was and had never touched a crampon.
Two years ago Ed and I competed in our first Classic in the Wrangell Mountains. Prior to that the only real information I had came from Daily News Miner articles and from a few conversations with friends that had competed in the event. The 2008 Classic in the Wrangell Mountains was a great experience and afforded us the experience to prepare more adequately for the 2010 Classic. This year’s race started and ended at the same point that the race did four years ago but this traverse was longer and allowed the competitors more route choices. There was a checkpoint about 80 miles into the race at the Native Village of Aniktuvik Pass. This year I was fortunate to be a part of a four man team of friends. We have all skied and trained together for a handful of years and have the unique luxury of knowing that we all travel at a similar pace and really like spending a lot of time together in the backcountry. This race was much different than the route through the Wrangell’s but the challenge was just as significant. The unbelievable Glaciers and huge mountains that created an awe inspiring traverse in the Wrangell/St. Elias National Park were replaced by night skies filled with dancing northern lights while wolves howled in the naked mountain valley. We had spectacular views of the actual Gates of the Artic that Bob Marshall named during his early travels into the arctic on the Koyukuk River. In a nut shell this race was filled with challenges and fun, but most importantly it was filled with a week of enjoying the freedom of the hills and the spirit of the Classic!
Many of these images were taken by Ed Plumb or John Shook.
This is a series of pictures taken while we climbed Peregrine Pass. It proved to be the most difficult part of the race for me, but we enjoyed the short time we spent up high.
John skis down into the Valley of the Precipices. We had a blast ripping though the 3% grade and the twisting icy creek.
We saw thousands of ptarmigan throughout the race. It was pretty awesome to see the huge coveys moving across the south slopes enjoying the open tundra after the long winter.
Four happy campers just skied into Wiseman after a tough twenty hour push; we covered about fifty miles to reach the finish and grabbed a quick self portrait to put an end the 2010 Classic. 5:30 A.M.
A member of the winning team, Luc Mehl created a fun video that gives a great feel for the Classic. That video can be viewed through the link below: