Alaska Outdoors

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Sustainable Alaska: Crossing this pandemic’s finish line will take team work

We need to hold out just a little while longer.

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Koren Bosworth (Courtesy Photo / Brian Wallace for Juneau's Climate Change Solutionists)
Koren Bosworth (Courtesy Photo / Brian Wallace for Juneau's Climate Change Solutionists)
After weeks of nearly omnipresent rain, there have recently been blue skies in Juneau. This photo shows Auke Lake on a recent sunny day. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

On the Trails: January bricolage

Odds and ends from under clear skies.

After weeks of nearly omnipresent rain, there have recently been blue skies in Juneau. This photo shows Auke Lake on a recent sunny day. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Robert Fawcett familiarizes himself with a new wing alongside the Gastineau Channel at Wayside Park on Jan. 27, 2021. “When you’re up on the mountain, you get more variables, more winds and gusts,” Fawcett said in a brief interview. “The same controls you use in the air, you use on the ground. It’s always good to practice.” Fawcett said he’d taken the wing off a mountain on Monday. “I like the hike up,” Fawcett said. “I don’t like the hike down.” (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Photos: Catching air

Cold doesn’t stop paragliding.

Robert Fawcett familiarizes himself with a new wing alongside the Gastineau Channel at Wayside Park on Jan. 27, 2021. “When you’re up on the mountain, you get more variables, more winds and gusts,” Fawcett said in a brief interview. “The same controls you use in the air, you use on the ground. It’s always good to practice.” Fawcett said he’d taken the wing off a mountain on Monday. “I like the hike up,” Fawcett said. “I don’t like the hike down.” (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
The author went without meat for a week to gain perspective and put a greater value on what he normally eats with his catch. (Leff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went To The Woods: Living meat-free for a week

A week really is nothing. It’s the preamble to a habit.

The author went without meat for a week to gain perspective and put a greater value on what he normally eats with his catch. (Leff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
Single delight, also called shy maiden, is an evergreen member of the wintergreen family. Its white flower faces downward until it is pollinated. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Focusing on light and points of delight

By Mary F. Willson For the Juneau Empire As I sat here on yet another gray and drippy day in mid-January, grousing futilely and needing… Continue reading

Single delight, also called shy maiden, is an evergreen member of the wintergreen family. Its white flower faces downward until it is pollinated. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
The valleys of Jim River and Prospect Creek in northern Alaska, where an official thermometer registered Alaska’s all-time low of minus 80 degrees F on Jan. 23, 1971. Photo by Ned Rozell

Alaska Science Forum: Alaska’s all-time cold record turns 50

The camp was there to house workers building the trans-Alaska pipeline

The valleys of Jim River and Prospect Creek in northern Alaska, where an official thermometer registered Alaska’s all-time low of minus 80 degrees F on Jan. 23, 1971. Photo by Ned Rozell
Bjørn Olson gets creative in his route finding along Lake Iliamna. (Courtesy Photo / Bjørn Olson)

Fatbiking and Packrafting to Bristol Bay

A Conversation with Bjørn Olson.

Bjørn Olson gets creative in his route finding along Lake Iliamna. (Courtesy Photo / Bjørn Olson)
The author's fiancee Abby navigates their boat in the fading afternoon light. Shortly after returning to the dock, an otter took up residence aboard. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went To the Woods: Dealing with an otter squatter

I assume it’s an otter because of shell fragments in the runny excretions left in the forward stowage

The author's fiancee Abby navigates their boat in the fading afternoon light. Shortly after returning to the dock, an otter took up residence aboard. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
Cowee meadows are flanked by conifer forest. (Courtesy Photo / Mark Schwann)

On the Trails: Taking in the scenery on another level

All of it has to be there.

Cowee meadows are flanked by conifer forest. (Courtesy Photo / Mark Schwann)
This raft of sealions were playing escort to our local resident humpback whale, Flame, out near North Douglas. I was able to get just enough shutter speed at 1/1250th to stop the action and keep a balance with my ISO in these low light conditions being careful to keep in consideration the movement of the boat. Again, the more time you are out the better you get at it. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)

Focal Point: A total reset for 2021

The start of a new year lends us the opportunity to look back through our photo files.

This raft of sealions were playing escort to our local resident humpback whale, Flame, out near North Douglas. I was able to get just enough shutter speed at 1/1250th to stop the action and keep a balance with my ISO in these low light conditions being careful to keep in consideration the movement of the boat. Again, the more time you are out the better you get at it. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
Trail Mix crew members Justine Webb, Sarah Wallace and Allison Mickleson move bridge approach timbers into place. (Courtesy photo / Ryan O’Shaughnessy)

Fundraising goal met for Treadwell Ditch Trail improvements

Trail Mix raised more than $230,000 from more than 300 donors, enabling completion by 2023.

Trail Mix crew members Justine Webb, Sarah Wallace and Allison Mickleson move bridge approach timbers into place. (Courtesy photo / Ryan O’Shaughnessy)
Winter sports enthusiasts set up for a run at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Eaglecrest Ski Area)

Maybe it’s raining at sea level, but Eaglecrest is chillin’

Get up there. Good weekday conditions precede a rough forecast for the weekend.

Winter sports enthusiasts set up for a run at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Eaglecrest Ski Area)
A dipper has captured two small fish. (Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Even at solstice time, wildlife is everywhere

Sometimes you don’t need to even leave the house to see something interesting.

A dipper has captured two small fish. (Bob Armstrong)
Howard Pass
Howard Pass
Female golden-crowned kinglets have showy crowns too, but without the extra color contrast of the males (Courtesy Photo / Mark Schwann)

On The Trails: In the court of the golden-crowned kinglet

These birds have appeared in “On The Trails” several times, but never as the main feature.

Female golden-crowned kinglets have showy crowns too, but without the extra color contrast of the males (Courtesy Photo / Mark Schwann)
"I hope that we will move toward greater disaster preparedness and mitigation," writes  Sonia Nagorski. "That way, the next time a remote Aleutian volcano erupts or a landslide drops into a fjord, our community and others around the world will not be caught off guard and can jump into action to respond effectively and cooperatively to persevere on this beautiful and mighty planet that is our home." (Courtesy Photo / Unsplash)

Sustainable Alaska: Building resilience on a restless Earth

To avoid compounding natural disasters, we need to aggressively tackle climate change.

"I hope that we will move toward greater disaster preparedness and mitigation," writes  Sonia Nagorski. "That way, the next time a remote Aleutian volcano erupts or a landslide drops into a fjord, our community and others around the world will not be caught off guard and can jump into action to respond effectively and cooperatively to persevere on this beautiful and mighty planet that is our home." (Courtesy Photo / Unsplash)
Springtails are non-insect arthropod. Most springtails can hop about using a forked appendage on the abdomen. They are among several arthropods that are active in the snow. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On The Trails: Wandering woodpeckers and active arthropods

By Mary F. Willson For the Juneau Empire A female hairy woodpecker visits my suet feeder regularly, and I’d bet any money that she is… Continue reading

Springtails are non-insect arthropod. Most springtails can hop about using a forked appendage on the abdomen. They are among several arthropods that are active in the snow. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
In low light, it is important to get close. On another overcast day in Juneau, I sighted a young black bear cub up a tree taking a nap while mom grazed. I was able to pull over, turn off my car, get out and take a show with my Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200, 1/250, F2.8 and ISO 800. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)

Focal Point: How to nail low-light photos

In Southeast Alaska, you have to learn to shoot when the skies are gray.

In low light, it is important to get close. On another overcast day in Juneau, I sighted a young black bear cub up a tree taking a nap while mom grazed. I was able to pull over, turn off my car, get out and take a show with my Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200, 1/250, F2.8 and ISO 800. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
A winter caddisfly, sometimes called a snow sedge, walks down an icy ridge on the shore of Mendenhall Lake. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On The Trails: Early winter walks

By Mary F. Willson A visit to the lower reaches of the Herbert and Eagle rivers usually turns up something of interest. A recent warm… Continue reading

A winter caddisfly, sometimes called a snow sedge, walks down an icy ridge on the shore of Mendenhall Lake. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)