On the Road

White Sands

“Solitude is fine

but you need someone

to tell that solitude is fine.”

Honoré de Balzac


After spending a few days in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico I needed to share this picture with you. What a fine place to experience solitude…

Or detonate the first atomic bomb, or drop training missiles…

The approaching storm certainly looked threatening, however no significant precipitation resulted from this warm front. It’s a desert in the end. 10 inches of rain may fall in a year. The mountains in the distance even receive a couple inches of snow.

The dunes of White Sands are mostly composed of gypsum, a white hydrous mineral, very different from other sand dunes of the West. The dunes are white as snow, and have a strange wet feel to it. The sand is deposited by wind from a nearby Lake Lucero.

The Park Service allows camping and hiking in this amazing playground.

Where did you find solitude?

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Life

Shine Your Light…

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Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

“Shine your light
and make a positive impact on the world;
there is nothing so honorable as
helping improve the lives of others.”

Roy T. Bennett


I wish at the end of my days somebody tells me, I had a positive impact on the world. There are many ways to help out others in need. What will you do to make the world a better place?

Black Friday 2018, not a dime spent…

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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.

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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.

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Note to self

Almost unbearable

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A Kirlian cloud.

There is no such thing as a Kirlian cloud, but in the days of alternative facts…

Seriously, out of the blue, after a long dark winter there  is more light than darkness. Almost too much. Gone are the days, when it was easy to catch a sunrise, or there was plenty of night time to watch the Northern lights. More light than darkness. Now comes the time of filling the tank. No more frantic reading, excessive cooking and baking. Winter is over. Well, there is still snow coming down, ice on the road, strong winds, but I can feel it, that sun light. It’s going to put an end to another winter.

Aren’t you glad?

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One Man's Paradise

Escape from Lucania

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Kluane Icefield, Yukon

In 1937, Mount Lucania was the highest unclimbed peak in North America (17,150 ft). The mountain had seen only one attempt, that required a 100 plus mile approach with pack horses, crossing rivers and glaciers, uncharted terrain.  The leader of that failed expedition deemed the mountain “impregnable.” Nevertheless, he brought back photographs, which only motivated Brad Washburn to attempt he mountain, although in a different style.

Washburn had found three other young climbers. It was his idea to approach the mountain from Valdez, with the help of a bold bush pilot. That expedition turned into one of the greatest epics of mountaineering in Alaska. When Bates and Washburn landed on the Walsh Glacier the landing gear of the plane got stuck in the slushy surface of the glacier. Only after several heroic efforts, which involved ditching all non-essential gear, was the pilot able to take off, and there was no question, he would not come back with the other two climbers or pickup Washburn and Bates.

What would they do? Attempt the mountain, or find the quickest way back to civilization, which was at least 100 miles away?

David Roberts meet with Washburn and Bates, when they were in their nineties and wrote a pretty gripping tale about their adventure, which has everything from 3 left boots and only one right one, to grizzlies, and most of all a close friendship between two young men in dire straits.

They say there is no more terra incognita on this planet. Everything has been mapped. That may be true. But there are still forbidden places on Earth that have seen few or no human foot prints. The Saint Elias range is one of those places: vast, cold, and almost inaccessible. Today, you can take scenic flights across the Kluane Icefield and see endless glaciers and mountains, assuming the weather is cooperating, which is not all that often. Sometimes the glaciers feed raging rivers, sometimes they calf right into the Gulf of Alaska. That was the place, where Washburn and Bates found themselves after being stranded on the Walsh Glacier.
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