One Man's Paradise

A Day in the Life of an Artist

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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.

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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.

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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.

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One Man's Paradise

The Arctic

“A land of enormous geometry etched by the cutting edge of light. Implacable, raw, elemental, beautiful and threatened.”

T. H. Watkins

A picture-perfect day at the North Slope. 140 miles of undulating hills covered with wet tundra until the Arctic Ocean. This is the place that unimaginable herds of caribou crossed in the spring to give birth to their young, to escape from the mosquitoes and to find summer feeding grounds. Come fall the migration pattern reverses.

Musk ox and arctic foxes roam this place that looks so innocent on a warm and sunny day. It will turn into a frigid, wind-blown freezer that only a few species can tolerate and even thrive in.

This place needs to be experienced with all senses. A photograph does not do it justice. It will serve me as a reminder of  a summer north of the Arctic Circle.

 

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One Man's Paradise

The Brooks Range

“As I walked for hours beneath the stupendous grandeur of the mountains, I felt humble and insignificant.”

Bob Marshall

Bob Marshall explored the Brooks Range in the 30s. It was his life-long goal to find true wilderness. Only natives and a few miners had ventured into the Brooks Range before that. He described his adventures in Arctic Travels. Between his matter of fact observations he sprinkled a few remarks like the one above.

I was able to hike a day here and there into this remote mountain range that comes as close to true wilderness as it gets.  There are two native villages to speak of Anaktuvuk Pass and Arctic Village, and a few hamlets like Bettles, Coldfoot, and Wiseman. All in all less than 1000 folks living along the 700 mile long stretch of mountains that is crossed by just one road, the Dalton Highway.

The remoteness and ruggedness of these mountains has helped to maintain its wild character. Gates of the Arctic National Park covers the central part of the Brooks Range. In most years it is the least visited national park in the US. Isn’t that interesting?

The picture above was taken from the top of Sukakpak, with Mt. Dillon in the foreground.

 

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One Man's Paradise

Where Days and Nights Unite

It’s been a while.

Life above the Arctic Circle has been amazing and exhausting at the same time. There has been an abundance of daylight since I arrived in the Brooks Range in June. The days have blended into one long period filled with constant change. After a long winter the reemergence of life seems overwhelming. I almost feel like there is no time to rest. Every week a new set of wildflowers appeared, wilted and went to seeds,. Berries are beginning to ripen, and the end of summer is approaching fast.

I have seen musk ox, caribou, fox, and lynx.

I have climbed mountains, crossed the tundra, and waded through rivers.

Today, is the first time I find the time to post a picture and collect some thoughts.

The picture was taken near Galbraith Lake at one o’clock in the morning.

More to come.

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One Man's Paradise

Another Day in Paradise

“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.”

Edward Abbey


Ed had an uncanny ability to express fundamental truth in words that anybody could understand, if they were only willing to listen. He has written more than just “Desert Solitaire” and “The Monkey Wrench Gang”…

When am I going to find the time to read all these books?

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One Man's Paradise

Into the Wild

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)


An amazing book and movie, in my opinion, although the life of Chris McCandless, a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp, has been commented to death.

I have visited this place called Round Prairie now many times during this winter and it shows in a different light every time. On this day I was hoping for sun, but I got snowed on instead. Moose and bison like to hang out in this corner of Yellowstone. Only a handful of trees have managed to grow in this meadow that is surrounded by sheer cliffs and towering mountain tops.

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