Alaska Outdoors

Tucker Cooper, a member of the ski patrol at Eaglecrest Ski Area, measures an area where snow has broken off in an avalanche on Feb. 21, 2021. All of Juneau is at a high risk of avalanches due to a unique set of circumstances on the weekend of Feb. 27, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Calder Otsea)

Juneau area at high risk for ‘historic’ avalanches

A month of weird weather has created a uniquely loaded set of dice.

Tucker Cooper, a member of the ski patrol at Eaglecrest Ski Area, measures an area where snow has broken off in an avalanche on Feb. 21, 2021. All of Juneau is at a high risk of avalanches due to a unique set of circumstances on the weekend of Feb. 27, 2021. (Courtesy photo / Calder Otsea)
Taking up as much space as Rhode Island, Malaspina Glacier spills onto flats near the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo Martin Truffer)

Alaska Science Forum: Malaspina Glacier gets up and goes

It’s pancake-shaped and the size of Rhode Island.

Taking up as much space as Rhode Island, Malaspina Glacier spills onto flats near the Gulf of Alaska. (Courtesy Photo Martin Truffer)
Mountain goats are revered for their majestic qualities, terrain in which they live and their taste. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went To The Woods: No luck of the draw

My willingness to suffer and willingness to save are the key ingredients, not my luck in a draw.

Mountain goats are revered for their majestic qualities, terrain in which they live and their taste. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
Left side: Mosses and ferns: alternation of sporophyte (2N) and gametophyte (1N) generations. Sperm swim to reach eggs on gametophytes. Right side: Seed plants: female gametophyte and its egg (1N) not independent, but enclosed in developing seed (2N, after pollination) on parent plant (2N). (Courtesy Image / Kathy Hocker)

On The Trails: From spores to seeds

No phyte-ing progress.

Left side: Mosses and ferns: alternation of sporophyte (2N) and gametophyte (1N) generations. Sperm swim to reach eggs on gametophytes. Right side: Seed plants: female gametophyte and its egg (1N) not independent, but enclosed in developing seed (2N, after pollination) on parent plant (2N). (Courtesy Image / Kathy Hocker)
A “ghost forest” exposed as La Perouse Glacier in Southeast Alaska retreated. In the past, the glacier ran over the rainforest trees. Two people are also in the photo. (Courtesy Photo / Ben Gaglioti)

Alaska Science Forum: ‘Ghost forest’ got run over by a glacier

By Ned Rozell As a few scientists hiked a path between the ice towers of a Southeast Alaska glacier and crashing ocean waves in 2016,… Continue reading

A “ghost forest” exposed as La Perouse Glacier in Southeast Alaska retreated. In the past, the glacier ran over the rainforest trees. Two people are also in the photo. (Courtesy Photo / Ben Gaglioti)
Red-breasted nuthatches can walk head-first down a tree trunk and even walk upside down underneath a branch. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)

On The Trails: February scrapbook

Nutty weather and red-breasted nuthatches.

Red-breasted nuthatches can walk head-first down a tree trunk and even walk upside down underneath a branch. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
Jeff Lund / For Juneau Empire 
While February in Alaska isn’t “desirable” by the standards of many, it is a month in which optimism is high for the author.

I Went To The Woods: Until March does arrive, it’s just you and your attitude

Until this week, I probably would have ranked February was one of my most optimistic months.

Jeff Lund / For Juneau Empire 
While February in Alaska isn’t “desirable” by the standards of many, it is a month in which optimism is high for the author.
A northern shrike poses on a stump-garden of moss and lichen in the wetlands. Sometimes called "butcher birds," northern shrikes are sizable songbirds that can catch prey larger than themselves (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)

On The Trails: Looking for owls and shrikes on the wetland

Looking for two types of seldom-seen birds.

A northern shrike poses on a stump-garden of moss and lichen in the wetlands. Sometimes called "butcher birds," northern shrikes are sizable songbirds that can catch prey larger than themselves (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Howard)
This photo shows snow- and sun-drenched mountains on Kupreanof Island in early morning, and a tree covered point on Mitkof Island at a cove by Marker 49 along the Inside Passage on Jan. 26. (Courtesy Photo / Cindi Lagoudakis)

Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Reader-submitted photos of Southeast Alaska.

This photo shows snow- and sun-drenched mountains on Kupreanof Island in early morning, and a tree covered point on Mitkof Island at a cove by Marker 49 along the Inside Passage on Jan. 26. (Courtesy Photo / Cindi Lagoudakis)
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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)
Cowee meadows are flanked by conifer forest. (Courtesy Photo / Mark Schwann)