Alaska Outdoors

Eyewitness to the peregrine falcon’s recovery

YUKON RIVER — “She’s starting to wail,” Chris Florian says, referring to the worrisome shriek of a peregrine falcon across the river. Florian, her biologist… Continue reading

Sustainable Alaska: Earth Overshoot Day

Today as I write this article (on Aug. 1), I reflect on the significance of it being Earth Overshoot Day. That is, we humans have… Continue reading

Hiding in plain sight: disruptive coloration

Just above a stony beach on the way to Lena Point, a patch of yellow paintbrush caught my eye. Inspecting one of the blossoms, I… Continue reading

A male brown bear encountered on Admiralty Island on the day infamous day a bat landed on the author’s head. (Photo by Bjorn Dihle)

Weird wildlife encounters

Earlier this week, while I was walking into work around noon, a small brown bat landed on my head. For a moment I wondered if… Continue reading

A male brown bear encountered on Admiralty Island on the day infamous day a bat landed on the author’s head. (Photo by Bjorn Dihle)
Group gathers at mountain summit for a break and a view. (Photo by Gabriel Donohoe)

Finding Neverland on Jumbo

I hiked Mount Bradley (Jumbo) Sunday, July 22. By myself but not alone. There were many groups on the trail. It almost seemed like a… Continue reading

Group gathers at mountain summit for a break and a view. (Photo by Gabriel Donohoe)

July fun

Two Parks and Rec hiking friends share a landmark birthday this year and decided to celebrate with a summertime party on Juneau Ridge. Some of… Continue reading

Cora the dog and Ned Rozell float down the Yukon River just upstream from Circle. (Photo by Skip Ambrose)

Alaska’s big river never stops flowing

It’s midsummer, a good time to slip a canoe onto the Yukon River. I start at the river town of Eagle, population 85, and will… Continue reading

Cora the dog and Ned Rozell float down the Yukon River just upstream from Circle. (Photo by Skip Ambrose)
A caribou swims across the Fortymile River. (Courtesy Photo | Ned Rozell)

Parting a sea of Fortymile caribou

Floating down the Fortymile River, we heard the roar of a rapid just ahead. At the same time, we noticed the caribou, about 50 of… Continue reading

A caribou swims across the Fortymile River. (Courtesy Photo | Ned Rozell)
Melissa Garcia Johnson separates foraged wildflowers at a beach on North Douglas Highway. (Photo by Kevin Gullufsen/Juneau Empire)

Foraging a homemade bouquet

Homemade gifts hold a certain charm.

Melissa Garcia Johnson separates foraged wildflowers at a beach on North Douglas Highway. (Photo by Kevin Gullufsen/Juneau Empire)
Dave Osantowski fillets the only sockeye salmon a group of four charter boat Copper River dipnetters caught on July 9, 2018. (Mary Catharine Martin | SalmonState)

Low Copper River sockeye return effects ripple outward

It’s a summer tradition for many in Alaska: pack up the car, drive to Chitina and dipnet for Copper River red salmon.

Dave Osantowski fillets the only sockeye salmon a group of four charter boat Copper River dipnetters caught on July 9, 2018. (Mary Catharine Martin | SalmonState)

Rambles in Gustavus

I recently spent a couple of days roaming the trails in Gustavus, along with three other curious naturalists.

Mike Janes and the author getting ready to paddle Hasselborg Lake in Spring of 2018. (Photo by Bjorn Dihle)

A short trek on Admiralty Island

Late last winter my friend Abbey Janes called asking if I’d surprise her husband Mike with a mini-adventure to celebrate his 40th birthday.

Mike Janes and the author getting ready to paddle Hasselborg Lake in Spring of 2018. (Photo by Bjorn Dihle)
Fishermen mistook this humpback whale carcass near Juneau for a giant squid. A ball and socket from the pectoral joint sticks out from the “badly decomposed” carcass, giving the impression of a cephalopod’s eye. (Courtesy Photo | Johanna Vollenweider via NOAA Fisheries)

Fishermen spot giant squid, turns out to be a ‘badly-decomposed’ whale

What fishermen thought was a rarely-seen sea creature on Tuesday turned out to be a badly-decomposed cetacean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received reports… Continue reading

Fishermen mistook this humpback whale carcass near Juneau for a giant squid. A ball and socket from the pectoral joint sticks out from the “badly decomposed” carcass, giving the impression of a cephalopod’s eye. (Courtesy Photo | Johanna Vollenweider via NOAA Fisheries)
Almost all chocolate lily flowers are brown, but sometimes we find a rare yellow-flowered individual. (Denise Carroll | Courtesy Photo)

Nature potluck

An assortment of unrelated but potentially interesting observations and information.

Almost all chocolate lily flowers are brown, but sometimes we find a rare yellow-flowered individual. (Denise Carroll | Courtesy Photo)
Runoff streams create curves to follow the path of least resistance. (Gabe Donohoe)

The icy path of least resistance

This sport requires so much gear.

Runoff streams create curves to follow the path of least resistance. (Gabe Donohoe)
Larvae of the aspen leaf miner eat the leaf surface, leaving conspicuous trails. One larva is visible at the end of its trail on the leaf on the right. (Photo by Kerry Howard)

Arctic squirrels, ants and aspens: Nature abounds at excursion to Kluane Park

Past an intensive construction zone, where the Chilkat River had begun to threaten the highway, up over the Three Guardsmen pass, there it begins —… Continue reading

Larvae of the aspen leaf miner eat the leaf surface, leaving conspicuous trails. One larva is visible at the end of its trail on the leaf on the right. (Photo by Kerry Howard)
Abbey Whitcomb and her client, Naknek resident Bryon Singly, pose with a small rainbow on the Naknek River. (Courtesy Photo | Sarah Miller)

Casting for fish — and guides — in Bristol Bay

Triston Chaney, a 19-year-old college student raised in Dillingham, knew before this year that he loved fly fishing. What he didn’t know is that he’d… Continue reading

Abbey Whitcomb and her client, Naknek resident Bryon Singly, pose with a small rainbow on the Naknek River. (Courtesy Photo | Sarah Miller)
Fen high roaming Blackerby Ridge late winter of 2018. (Photo by Bjorn Dihle)

Walking my dog in wolf country

On a recent hike up a mountain on Douglas Island, I noticed a large rock rising from the alpine tundra. My dog Fen ran towards… Continue reading

Fen high roaming Blackerby Ridge late winter of 2018. (Photo by Bjorn Dihle)

Casting for fish — and guides — in Bristol Bay

Triston Chaney, a 19-year-old college student raised in Dillingham, knew before this year that he loved fly fishing. What he didn’t know is that he’d… Continue reading

Walking my dog in wolf country

On a recent hike up a mountain on Douglas Island, I noticed a large rock rising from the alpine tundra. My dog Fen ran towards… Continue reading