November 24, 2010

Photography of Ice is so fun, and challenging!

Mendenhall with a frozen lake
Well now that the snow has come, the temps are warming up and the next stage is the freeze. This means time for me to catch up on the blog again. Last weekend was a spectacular couple days of sun and very cold temps, night lows around 15 and days at about 25-30 depending on your location. Standing in front of the glacier on Friday, a 10-15 mile an hour wind blowing in my face it felt closer to zero, but the view was amazing. People were wandering out on the ice and climbing on icebergs, but that seems not so smart to me. One little calving from the glacier and it all could turn to mush! I did spend a fair amount of time throwing rocks on the frozen ice and listening to the echo underneath between it and the water, very cool sound. Also its like bowling if you aim for other rocks, or maybe curling. Ha ha ha. Anyways for those that know the area, Nugget creek falls is just out of frame on the right and the large rock on the left is the peninsula that was covered in ice when I was a child. The visitors center is roughly a mile behind me and I am standing on a new terminus left from the face of the late 70's and early 80's. It is absolutely amazing how much it has receded and how the lake bathymetry has evolved. Here are some other pics from that day, hope you enjoy them!
Panorama showing how far the glacier has moved from the falls, amazing!
Mt. MiGinnis across the lake, just before snow level dropped to sea level
Nugget falls is starting to freeze up, crazy ice formations, also the iceberg looks like a cow, ha ha ha
There had been a great wind storm a day before and blew all the ice up on the beach, very cool
Its amazing the different types of ice from one glacier
A little abstract, but I like the lines, notice the frozen bubbles that tried to escape, they are to perpendicular lines in the ice?

 Different angle to see the bubbles

Light through ice, notice the chip that looks kinda like a clam? A favorite past time for the locals is to throw ice and break it, also throwing rocks on the ice as mentioned earlier.
With the final rays, a block lights up and glows
like gems, diamonds, so very cool
And with the final rays of the sun, I head for the truck and the heater that awaits me.

November 20, 2010

Hunting deer in Sitka Alaska

This is the river valley on Chichagof that we hunted

Hello everyone, sorry haven't posted lately. Life has been very busy with work, school, and a recent hunting trip. Also for a while there the weather was terrible and there were no pretty pictures to post. So to catch everyone up on things...a couple weeks ago I flew over to Sitka and went on a 5 day hunting trip with my dear friend Jon and several of his buddies. As I said the weather was terrible and I was lucky to get in on my flight during one of a few breaks in the weather. Then, once in Sitka we got pinned down by 60 mile an hour winds that bashed the coast, 15 foot seas breaking in Salisbury Sound, so none the less we didn't get out for a full 24 hours. The following day we made a run for it between squalls to Hoonah Sound. We met up with two other boats on a mooring buoy in a small cove on Moesser Island.
There is a cabin in there, where half the crew slept.

The wind was calm so we decided to go for a short afternoon hunt. One of the boats dropped us off on Chichagof Island on the other side of the bay. We scrambled along the shore line at high tide and headed back into the river valley. There were multiple groups so we decided to fan out and hunt different zones of the valley. We hiked, sat, called and repeated a few times when suddenly a buck and doe ran into the clearing in front of us. At first Jon didn't see them because they were on my side, I waited for them to enter the clearing a bit more and get a better shot, this was my first mistake. When Jon saw the doe, he took his shot. I was using his gun and hadn't had a chance to shoot it yet, so while making my checks and lining up on the buck, he got the doe. This was my second mistake, because at that point the buck took off across the clearing and I pulled off a shot, of course missing the deer. So while getting another round in the chamber, Jon shot the buck. He was a bit confused at first because he hadn't seen the buck and couldn't believe he missed the doe. We went over to the buck and then I told him what I had seen and so we search for the other deer. Sure enough, two deer in less than an hour!! The buck ended up being the largest anyone had seen in that valley. We then took took turns dragging the two deer out the 1/4 mile or so to the beach and got picked up. Pretty dang good for the first day!! When hanging next to other bucks that weekend, it was a full 8 inches longer and considerably more robust. The next morning was sad news for us, we needed to run the boat to charge the batteries, but she wouldn't start. We decided that this was more important than deer and spent the day working on it. It was breezy and raining a lot so it was nicer to be on the boat. By the way, his boat is a really nice Sea Sport, fairly new, and this was the first time he had a problem. We finally figured out that a fuel filter was fouled and had caused a large air lock in the line. When we finally got it running and felt it was good and batteries charged, it was 2 in the afternoon. With the sun going down at 4 or so, this doesn't leave much time to hunt. So we hung out drank beer, took naps and relaxed.
Captain Jon on his Sea Sport, lamenting the lost day of hunting

Later when the other parties returned we found out that no one even saw a deer that day, made us feel a bit better. The following day we decided to hunt a different valley due to the amount of people around, we had at least 10-12 guys up there, and also how much tramping around in their area had gone on. Unfortunately for us we were hunting in 40 mile an hour winds at our backs blowing right up the valley we wanted to hunt. Jon and I found what looked like a buck highway, sign everywhere and very fresh, but we didn't see a thing. Two friends were hunting the low valley while we hunted the hillside, two shots rang out. We did a radio check but something was wrong with theirs, turns out the battery had died. We looped around and returned to the rendezvous spot, a few moments later the other two showed up. They had been walking along the tree line when they spooked a doe that had been bedded down. After the got her, they waited and sure enough a buck came in to investigate. They had dragged them half way back, but wanted to make the rendezvous time and Alan had recently dislocated his shoulder on a goat hunting trip, so he wasn't doing well with his buck. We went back with them and helped him haul it out. It was a beautiful 3 point with the most perfectly balanced rack. This was Alan's first Alaskan buck!!! We called it a day because the weather was getting worse and headed back to our cove. The next morning was calm and beautiful, but alas also the day of my flight. So, I hauled and helped with a lot of deer, 7 hanging by time we left, but none where mine. I did have a great time, I learned a lot, drank much beer and ate like a king, lived on a boat in the wilderness for 4 days, so all told, well worth it!! Not mention a new group of friends in Sitka! There are many more stories to be told, but what happens on a hunting trip, stays on the hunting trip...LOL. My main goal now is to find myself a rifle and go out again. Unfortunately the rut is now over for the season, but there is always next time. There is some deer pictures, but they haven't been sent to me yet, will post when received.