Sorry for the excessive delay in getting new blog posts out, but between not having reliable internet service available, being in wilderness areas where internet is unheard of, and just being too darned busy making images, I just wasn’t able to pull off keeping up with my posts. But I am now back home, having experienced 5 weeks of incredible travels, sights and experiences. Starting immediately, I will be sharing some gorgeous scenery and wonderful wildlife images with you. But for this post, let me give you a short synopsis of where we were and what we did over the past 5 weeks.
On Sunday, August 14, with the SUV loaded with clothing, tent, sleeping bags/pillows/blankets, and my photographic equipment, we left our rural Missouri home and headed westward. Our first day was spent driving to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where we had reserved a motel room. The next morning, we got up early, had a quick motel breakfast … one of those that you can’t blink or you’ll miss the food … and then headed for our next destination, Missoula, Montana, where we would stay for 2 nights. Arriving there in the late afternoon, we unloaded what we would need for 2 days and I got my photo equipment ready for a day of shooting at Lee Metcalf NWR, one of my favorite shooting locations that is situated about 20 minutes outside Missoula. You may have seen my posting from Lee Metcalf, featuring some Sandhill Cranes or the fledging Osprey posting … I still have more to share from my day there.
Our next stop would take us through Idaho, westward through Washington state and then north, near Bellingham. Here we had 2 days for last-minute preparations before boarding the ferry (Alaska Marine Highway) for a 36-hour cruise to Ketchikan, Alaska. We arrived to a wet Ketchikan early on Sunday, August 21. Now Ketchikan is typically wet (located in a temperate rain forest), but this year has been extremely wet! We had 4 days to spend, hiking the area in search of wildlife, totems and, of course, some shopping. On Thursday, August 25, we again boarded a ferry and cruised northward, arriving at our destination (Petersburg, AK) at 10:00pm. After a short ride to our motel, we were met by my older daughter, who had flown to Petersburg earlier in the day to join us on the photography workshop I was leading, aboard a 50-foot boat. Friday and Saturday were spent hiking about town and photographing the area.
On Sunday, August 28, we boarded a small jet boat at the Petersburg harbor, as part of the Alaska photography workshop I was leading. We were joined by some wonderful friends (and photographer Tom) from Florida, another photographer/National Park employee acquaintance from the San Francisco area, and our boat’s owner/captain and his deckhand. We made the short trip to LeConte Glacier, where we witnessed quite an ice kingdom laid out in front of us … lots of blue icebergs floating about, hundreds of harbor seals taking refuge on the bergs, a wonderful glacier, lots and lots of thundering waterfalls working their way down the mountains, and even a momma Mountain Goat with 2 kids along the steep mountainside above the glacier! After spending a wonderful afternoon in LeConte Bay, we headed back to Petersburg, leaving this magical kingdom behind us … looking back, we were greeted with a beautiful rainbow smiling at us!
On Monday, August 29, the group again met at the Petersburg harbor and boarded our home for the next 9 days, the 50-foot Delphinus. These wonderful days were spent with lots of Humpback Whales, a pod of transient Orcas, brown bears, black bears, river otter, mink, bald eagles and many other birds. I’ll share our many boating experiences in upcoming posts. On Wednesday, September 07 we departed the Delphinus, again in Ketchikan, and made our way to the ferry terminal. In late afternoon, we boarded our ferry and started the 36-hour cruise back to Bellingham, where we would pick up our SUV and start our trip towards home.
We arrived in Bellingham early on September 09, loaded up our SUV, and drove to Coeur d’Arlene, Idaho, where we spent the evening. When we awoke the next morning, we traveled to Gardiner, Montana, where we spent 2 days exploring Yellowstone NP. On the second day, we traveled through the park and into Grand Teton NP. After a brief visit there, we headed on to Rock Springs, Wyoming where we spent the night. Early the next morning, we drove into Colorado and found our way to a reserved campground in the Maroon Bells area. After pitching our tent and getting everything in place, we spent 2 days photographing this beautiful area and the many wildflowers and wild inhabitants we could find.
On September 15, we packed up our tent and bedding (in between rain showers) and headed eastward to Georgetown, just a short way from Mount Evans, our next planned stop. However, the rain we had experienced in the Maroon Bells had equated to snow and ice on the Mount Evans roadway. With Mountain Goats and Big Horned Sheep now unavailable for shooting (the roadway to Mount Evans had been closed), we decided to head home the next morning. On September 16, we arose early, had another quick breakfast, and headed back to Missouri. We pulled into our drive in the evening … and are still trying to get back on the Central Time Zone schedule, as well as everything put away, laundry done, and of course, hundreds and hundreds of images needing to be backed up and edited!
So starting with the next post, I’ll share some of our wonderful 5 weeks on the road!