One Man's Paradise

Where the buffalo roam

Isn’t it a bit early for snow?

I am sure the buffalo would have preferred a few more weeks of Indian summer…

Or maybe not. They seem to be well equipped to withstand wind and weather, although it takes extra effort to find that dry grass. Let’s hope fall and winter play a little more tug of war, before winter wins.

Advertisements
Standard
One Man's Paradise

Fall Colors – September 5, 2018

“I don’t like autumn. Yes of course, the colors are nice, but they’re the colors of necrosis.”

Hendrik Groen

What a grump. Actually, the secret diary of diary of Hendrik Groen is apparently an enjoyable book. The name is a pseudonym, so we really can’t ask what Hendrik really thinks about fall.

I see a shark.

What do you see?

Standard
One Man's Paradise

Fall Colors

blog

Fall Colors at the Koyukuk, Brooks Range, Alaska

“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair.”

J.R.R. Tolkien


I am not sitting next to the fire thinking of what was. Not yet.

The hillsides just exploded in colors. There are moments, when the sun breaks through. It’s pure magic. In other places the wind has already blown the leaves to the ground. Every morning I wake up to a different scenery.

That’s why I am sitting next to the fire, only to warm up my creaky bones.

 

Standard
One Man's Paradise

Sukakpak Mountain

blog

What was once an ancient seabed is now visible as one of the most recognizable mountains of the Brooks Range. Just 4,459 ft but close to the Dalton Hwy., so it can be climbed in a day. The limestone deposit was subjected to intense heat and pressure, which caused it to metamorphose into marble. Slowly crumbling away. Apparently ice forms in the winter, attracting hardy ice climbers. The East slopes just beg for some back country skiing.

Like a hunter and gatherer I collected this image on a rare calm day with interesting clouds swirling around the mountain. On June 13 I stood alone on top of the mountain. IT Is hard to express the awe, peace, and humility I felt.

“Over the years I have discovered that each minute spent in the Arctic – whether in a tent in foul weather, on top of a breath-taking mountain, or in the midst of ten thousand caribou – carries the fullness of a rare wilderness experience.”

Debbie Miller

Standard
One Man's Paradise

Brooks Range: Horizons

“I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Summer 2018 seems to go into the record books as a relatively cool and wet one, quite in contrast to the rest of the nation. Nevertheless, there were clear, warm, breezy, and calm days sprinkled into the mix. The constantly changing weather patterns made for great photo opportunities, I think. Rainy days were used for sorting through my images, making pastry, doing laundry, roughly in that order.

blog-22 On my blueberry and mushroom expeditions, I ended frequently on ridge tops, which offered the best views of the immensity of the Brooks Range, short of being in a bush plane. Haven’t seen a single paraglider, although these hills are just calling for it. Gentle slopes in all directions, no powerlines, no fences… Once in a while a golden eagle or a pair of ravens are cruising along the ridge lines, showing me where the upwinds are. The same hills should make for amazing backcountry skiing, sans the cold… Maybe I will come back in March or April, when the winter temperatures may be bearable, and come to think of it, when there is also sufficient daylight for this activity. At night, I could watch the northern lights.

blog-21

Endicott Mountains, Brooks Range, Alaska

The oldtimers say September brings cooler, clear days. We shall see. The North Slope has already been blanketed several times with a couple inches of snow.

Standard
One Man's Paradise

Life in the Arctic

“What shocked me the most about the polar regions was neither the cold nor the remoteness, but a bewildering confrontation with my own lack of understanding.”

Galen Rowell

When Galen Rowell visited the Brooks Range for the first time, he was not prepared for the loss of daily rhythms, such as sunrise and sunset. He describes the time as “flowing without punctuation “and “days merging into undark nights”.

Especially after a long winter this period of continuous daylight becomes a challenge to all visitors of the polar regions. Life seems abundant, with constant change. No time to sleep, no time to rest.

Well, it’s the end of August. The midnight sun has come and gone. For a few hours the sky turns dark at night. For the first time in several months I have seen stars. Last night the Northern Lights were dancing above the mountains. The tundra colors have changed from lush green to red, orange, yellow, and brown in some places. Quite a display.

About 2 more weeks for me in the Arctic. I will savor every day, rain or shine.

 

 

Standard
One Man's Paradise

A Day in the Life of an Artist

blog-2

I was fortunate enough to be designated driver for an artist in residence, who came to visit the Arctic for a week. The Bureau of Land Management in Fairbanks sponsored for the first time this year an artist to visit and work for a week in the Coldfoot area. Kelly Ann Sheridan from Idaho Falls was chosen as the inaugural artist.

blog-3

Kelly used a variety of paints to create impressions of the Brooks Range. It was amazing to see how she created subtle hues of green and blue from a limited palette of base colors. Painting in the outdoors in the Arctic had its own challenges. The mosquitoes were merciless. The light and mood of the scenery would change rapidly. In the end it was all good.

blog

The finished results of her short visit to the Arctic may be for sale at the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot, AK or on her website.

Standard