Alaska Outdoors

A man walks a Fairbanks street during an ice-fog episode in January 2012. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Ice fog not often a part of northern life

An old friend — a character not seen in these parts for a few years — showed up last week in Fairbanks. Ice fog. Ice… Continue reading

 

While the weather forecast plays a big role in ocean adventures, the gut often has final say. (Photo by Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: Math meets guts

I found myself emotionally involved Sunday and felt the pending demise of the Detroit Lions with every dropped pass. I liked the story of the… Continue reading

 

From left, Cole Richards, Lynn Kaluzienski and Carl Tape prepare to stick seismometers in frozen ground during a February 2019 mission to deploy instruments along the Denali seismic fault. The instruments helped scientists recently find the presence of a body of molten rock seven miles deep. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Magma found beneath volcano-less country

For years, scientists have wondered why North America’s highest mountain is not a volcano. All the ingredients for volcanic activity lurk deep beneath Denali, which… Continue reading

 

UAF Ph.D. student Audrey Rowe trowels loess soil at an archeological site in the uplands of Interior Alaska. (Photo by Mat Wooller)

Alaska Science Forum: On the ancient trail of a woolly mammoth

The female woolly mammoth was 20 years old when she stumbled amid the grasslands. She fell in a cloud of dust, then gasped her last… Continue reading

UAF Ph.D. student Audrey Rowe trowels loess soil at an archeological site in the uplands of Interior Alaska. (Photo by Mat Wooller)
Areas like Denali National Park allow nature to be preserved which is great, so long as there are also areas that allow for the maximum benefit of Alaskans as stated in the state’s constitution. (Photo by Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: The problem with caricatures

While people are usually up for a good fight, things seem to get particularly heated this time of year. It’s cold, it’s dark, our team’s… Continue reading

Areas like Denali National Park allow nature to be preserved which is great, so long as there are also areas that allow for the maximum benefit of Alaskans as stated in the state’s constitution. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
A family of trumpeter swans on Auke Lake on Jan. 6. (Photo by Jos Bakker)

On the Trails: Winter sightings

On a slightly drippy day in late December, I wandered out to Point Louisa, right at a big high tide. Most of the folks I… Continue reading

A family of trumpeter swans on Auke Lake on Jan. 6. (Photo by Jos Bakker)
An adult female snakeworm gnat that scientists recently described as a new species found, as yet, only in Alaska. (Photo by Derek Sikes)

Alaska Science Forum: ‘Snakeworm’ mystery yields species new to science

Add another species to the list of organisms oozing over Alaska. A tiny gnat — one that in its larval stage sometimes crawls over its… Continue reading

An adult female snakeworm gnat that scientists recently described as a new species found, as yet, only in Alaska. (Photo by Derek Sikes)
American coots gathered at Kingfisher Pond this winter. (Photo by Helen Unruh)

On the Trails: Wintering birds

Shortly before the winter solstice, I walked with a friend on the Boy Scout Camp Trail. There was a stiff, chilly breeze but — wonder… Continue reading

American coots gathered at Kingfisher Pond this winter. (Photo by Helen Unruh)
Travelling with a pack other than his hunting pack gave the author a false sense of security. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: A holiday surprise from TSA

“There a knife in here?” “Shouldn’t be.” As a TSA agent, how many times has he heard that? Of course there shouldn’t be, but if… Continue reading

Travelling with a pack other than his hunting pack gave the author a false sense of security. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Lund)
Three birch trees stand in a field at the University of Alaska Fairbanks during a recent celebration for three scientists killed in a helicopter crash in July. From left, the trees honor Tori Moore, Ronnie Daanen and Justin Germann. (Photo by Alyssa Enriquez)

Alaska Science Forum: Memories of souls in a winter birch forest

On a recent afternoon, middle Alaska slipped into darkness. But a few hours after the 3:17 p.m. sunset, a golden light appeared in a field… Continue reading

Three birch trees stand in a field at the University of Alaska Fairbanks during a recent celebration for three scientists killed in a helicopter crash in July. From left, the trees honor Tori Moore, Ronnie Daanen and Justin Germann. (Photo by Alyssa Enriquez)
A flying squirrel launches a glide, with patagium spread wide. (Photo by Richard A. Wood)

On the Trails: Gliding in air

An eagle soars overhead, wings spread, making only minute steering adjustments of wing and tail feathers. It’s gliding on air currents and may travel considerable… Continue reading

A flying squirrel launches a glide, with patagium spread wide. (Photo by Richard A. Wood)
The Yukon River, seen here as a wide white band, is freezing later in fall and breaking up earlier in spring than it was a few decades ago. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Long-term views of a changed Alaska

As an instructor for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, I have stood before a group of Alaskans every Tuesday night this November. During the most recent… Continue reading

The Yukon River, seen here as a wide white band, is freezing later in fall and breaking up earlier in spring than it was a few decades ago. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Kristen Rozell skate skis in Valdez in January 2023. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Surfing in winter on cross-country skis

With mild temperatures and ample snow, much of Alaska is now primed for cross-country skiing. It’s a sport for all ages, made possible by friction.… Continue reading

Kristen Rozell skate skis in Valdez in January 2023. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
The author guides his skiff in the direction of muskegs free from digital connectivity, but there is no escaping thoughts of contemporary life. (Photo by Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: Freedom of gratitude

I have fumbled for years attempting to put into words what the outdoor world means to me and succeed only in doing it well enough… Continue reading

The author guides his skiff in the direction of muskegs free from digital connectivity, but there is no escaping thoughts of contemporary life. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
Scientist/explorer Ernest Leffingwell spent nine winters on Flaxman Island off Alaska’s northern coast. (Photo from the book “Conquering the Arctic ice,” by Ejnar Mikkelsen)

Alaska Science Forum: Ernest Leffingwell, fan of the far north

One hundred years ago, a group of men sailed to the northern coast of Alaska to find a land mass rumored to protrude from the… Continue reading

Scientist/explorer Ernest Leffingwell spent nine winters on Flaxman Island off Alaska’s northern coast. (Photo from the book “Conquering the Arctic ice,” by Ejnar Mikkelsen)
From left, Martin Truffer and Adam Bucki walk along the gravel moraine of Kennicott Glacier on an 11-hour hike to reach Fireweed rock glacier. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Long-pondered return to a pile of rocks

FIREWEED ROCK GLACIER — “I’ve been thinking of this stuff for the last 20 years,” says Adam Bucki. My friend, soon to be 50, was… Continue reading

From left, Martin Truffer and Adam Bucki walk along the gravel moraine of Kennicott Glacier on an 11-hour hike to reach Fireweed rock glacier. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
A young black bear carries away a chum salmon at Salt Chuck near the Amalga boat ramp on July 20. (Courtesy Photo / Kenneth Gill, gillfoto)

Wild shots

To showcase our readers’ work to the widest possible audience, Wild Shots have been moved in front of the Juneau Empire’s paywall. Don’t have a… Continue reading

A young black bear carries away a chum salmon at Salt Chuck near the Amalga boat ramp on July 20. (Courtesy Photo / Kenneth Gill, gillfoto)
An Exobasidium fungus grows on a rusty menziesia leaf. (Photo by Michael Melampy)

On the Trails: Scrapbook of summer observations

Summer came, with the colorful blooming of tall fireweed. Hermit thrushes were still singing and, on two different trails, juvenile hermits lingered on the open… Continue reading

An Exobasidium fungus grows on a rusty menziesia leaf. (Photo by Michael Melampy)
Fireweed rock glacier flows within the massif near McCarthy in 2023. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Glaciers made of rock, ice and bear scat

The grizzly hadn’t seen my dog or me, so I yelled and waved my arms. The bear stood, looked in our direction for three unforgettable… Continue reading

Fireweed rock glacier flows within the massif near McCarthy in 2023. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
The author’s wife hikes along a 15-mile alpine trail. The two split the trek into two days. (Photo by Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: A stirring experience

There is a point in a long, steep or heavy-pack hike when you look at your feet and accept the speed at which they are… Continue reading

The author’s wife hikes along a 15-mile alpine trail. The two split the trek into two days. (Photo by Jeff Lund)