Tuesday, April 12, 2011

pictures from past trips...

occasionally i grab a handful of cd's from my old film days and load them on the computer. then i can share them and load them on my shutterfly account page. i'm not very organized about any of my photography. i realize that is terrible. it's the gemini in me, that is if i'm even still a gemini. i get distracted and it's easier to grab a variety of cd's rather than cd's from one trip. as i'm planning this years trips it's fun to remember past trips and how much fun they were. the most important thing to remember when inviting people on trips is to make sure they are about as excited as you are. if they are, i find overall they make good companions. excitement and enthusiasm make good adventures. i also love that each trip has it's own blend and uniqueness. it's fun to travel with a variety of people. it's worked for me so far i think. the first pictures are from st george island. it's part of the pribilof islands, located over 300 miles off the western coast of alaska. st george is the less populated island and the less known one as well. we went to both st george and st paul island. st george was by far the most picturesque of the two. as tourists there i think we were an anomoly.
this is the most prominent building there in the village of about 100 people and several biologists. this is the russian orthodox church. beautiful. we stayed in an inn. it had a modern kitchen downstairs and shared baths. very quaint. getting in/out of these islands can be a bit sketchy at times. getting off the island and over to st paul was a bit of a glitch for us, but we worked our way around it eventually. i had originally hired a fishing boat to take us across. the weather turned sour, as happens there. besides, it seems there were other things preventing that from happening. the main guy in town seemed surprised of our plan and soon our plan was no more. the fisherman's wife did make us a lovely halibut pie. i never thought i'd like halibut pie, but it was really great. i think that was the peace offering. we never met the guy.
there were just the 4 of us on st george island. scott, sue, tanya and i. another friend, maria, joined us over on st paul. of course, we tortured her with how much better st george had been. not that st paul is terrible, just that the landscape pales in comparison, and the accomadations were not impressive either.

this was the first trip i'd ever been introduced to "birders". we got off the little plane in st paul and were greeted by people from the hotel, they asked if we were birders and then upon finding out we weren't, they became snobs. we hiked all over and enjoyed the birds and the fur seals.
this building was used in the past to prep the fur seals coats for sales. we got a private tour from the resident biologist. the natives were not actually native to these islands, but were forced there by others to club seals as they were the only ones permitted to kill them at the time. some seals are still killed by locals for use for food and such. subsistence is a huge part of life in these remote villages. there was also a herd of caribou out there. we did take a walk across the island and saw that herd.
this was the only eating establishment on the island that we found. remember they were very kind and fed us well the few times we came by when they were open. there are some vehicles there on the island, but 4 wheelers are the main source of transportation.
st george.
the waves were calm the first day we were there and very rough the next day. the first day the biologists took kayaks out for a little trek, we were all terribly jealous. the next day when the winds picked up and the waves blew in, the biologists got out their dry suits and surf boards.

i loved the tidepooling that first day. there were tons of these huge sea urchin shells,totally intact. i carefully squirred a bunch away, found a box and hoped they'd survive the rest of the journey. many are still in my coffee table. (it's got a sunk in top and it's my shell display case).
the shoreline is spectacular. these are just a few pictures from one walk. we walked all over that island.
in the past i always took a few rolls of black and white film to play with. haven't really played with the black and white since i went digital. do love the mystery of black and white and film. to save batteries on this years kayak trip i was telling everyone you can't look back at any pictures. it's a waste of battery. really no way to charge them out there. we were looking at solar chargers. may still look and see if i can find any that fit any of the stuff i need charged. seems a bit hit and miss.
every village needs a cemetary. you can see the cross's are those of the russian orthodox church. very distinct.
loved the old truck with wildlife growing on /in it.
of course, there are tons of birds. huge birders paradise. we didn't really know what all we were looking at and keep no lists to check off. i imagine our lists would make many birders jealous if we actually had them. we've been to some amazing birding spots.
this guy just had a cool call.
this is an old native fishing boat. probably seal skin. suspect they have mostly modernized they boats though i believe some do still fish in seal skin boats.
black and white lupine. probably prettier with colour.
back to colour.
i was under the impression that only st paul had the fur seals. guess that is what advertising will do to you. there is a large population of fur seals on st george island as well. we walked all over and saw several large groups of them. often we had the benefit of running into the biologists in the field and we got free education. the biologists were super nice out there. we had sunday bruch with them. we'd filled a cooler with various fruits/veggies figuring they probably don't get those and if they do it's pricey. they enjoyed these treats.
fur seals hauled out.
this guy just looked totally relaxed out there in teh sunshine.

the fur seal babies were being born as we were there. this one above is just born. the seals are not overly helpful to one another. lots of squabbling in the harems. a noisy bunch.
we were there in july i believe. that is when the babies show up.
an amazing place and i recommend it to anyone.
these next few are from a trip i took out to mcneil river. it's a bear viewing place. actually, it's a sanctuary. there are just a few sanctuary's in alaska. to come here one must send in for the lottery. preference is to locals. they only take up to 10 people per 4 day period. i went late in the summer, august, and just signed up as a single. that increased my chances and i got in my first try at it. because it was later and not prime only 4 people were out there on the lottery permits. the nice part for me is since it was late in the season and there were so few of us, we wandered around finding the bears. the biologist that ran it for like 30 years retired after this summer. larry aumiller. was happy that we got a chance to get to be out there with him and his bears. guess i was the first person to have my picture taken over a bear dump acting like i was doing the dumping. i figured a thing like that would have been common. guess all the biologists got a kick out of it, including aumiller. i'm a freak, what can i say.
not as many bears as peak, but i had no complaints at all.
we had a steady stream of sightings. we had some incredibly close encounters...within a few feet at times.
the bears were much more interested in the fish than us.
mamma bear teaches her young charges the art of fishing. different mothers seemed to have different methods and taught their cubs thier way. was interesting to watch all the bears.
we camped out in tents and then crossed this section at the low tide and back again at the next low tide. in the middle we wandered around bear sighting. great trip, again highly recommended. you have to apply for the lottery by the end of february i believe.
we also spotted this cool red fox out there. i think he surprised us and vice versa. i may have been the only one who got the pictures of him.
i love the red foxes. the colours are cool. they live out on round island as well.
in this we were at the falls of mcneil river looking back towards where our camp is, this mama bear with her 3 cubs did the crossing as we sat there.
we called this guy charley. we got lots of picturs of him. he was hanging out while we were there.
now onto a kayaking trip. i was the old lady of hte trip. i think i impressed the youngsters. we got alot of rain on this one. my tent leaked and i had to curl up around the puddles. we got dropped in dangerous passage, explored a few bays. we didn't make it to nausau or icy bay on this trip. i returned the next year with other friends and we had perfect weather.
honestly can't believe we got any pictures on this trip. it rained alot. the creatures in the sea were out to greet us and seemed to look at us like we were nuts.
the last day as we headed to pt newell for our pick up the sun came out. great timing. oh well. sometimes that is how kayaking and camping is.
attitude is everything. we had some nice folks out there and everyone was chill. did take several hours to get a fire going that first camp site.
a young bald eagle perched and drying out no doubt.
lots of ice choked the way to nausau and icy bay. i think that was what hindered us more than the rain. it was funny though as several of these guys hadn't paddled through the ice bergs. i just rammed on in, impressing them again. love the sound of ice bergs on the kayak. of course, one must stay clear of the larger bergs. they say anything that looks bigger than a fridge should be avoided. they are 2-3x that under the water and can flip, taking you with them. i always try to avoid flippage.
rain, rain and more rain. our first night we camped out of jackpot. it's a great camp site.
you can find beauty in any weather though.
i did give away that tent after this trip. i had another perfectly good tent sitting at home. i hadn't brought it not wanting it to get ruined. brilliant, i know.
the boys work endlessly trying to keep the fire going so we can warm up and eat.
ice abounds out there. the waether must have been great before we arrived as the glaciers had obviously calved alot recently.
this summer we won't be dodging ice bergs, just humpback whales. we are all a bit nervous about this. excited, but nervous.
each trip brings new excitement and adventure.
the reflections were great out there. i suspect since there was a great deal of grey skies i was looking at what was right in front of me.
like i said, lots of seals watched our adventures. the next year we saw tons of seals out there as well. they are generally pretty shy and will dip under the water pretty fast.
a kayak sits in the water. we tie them for obvious reasons.
our second night camp was pretty damp as well. actually, this is the third night. i think i got the second night fire going really fast. just had to show up the youth again. i had brought dryer lint and other quick starters. we never really dried out this trip.
did strip down and enjoy this sunshine.
rain does bring rainbows so that's always cool.
love the rain forest. all the mosses are just cool.
waterfalls abound.
birds of course, not sure what they are. of course. loved the picture below of them taking off though.
todays monday walk was just me and tanya. sandra joined us at the coffee shop, we chatted about the trip, looked at maps.
looks like some cool islands to explore, the inian islands. also hopefully, we'll see elfin cove and maybe pelican. we'll have to check with our guides and see what distances we have to work with and time factors. must make it to point adolphus to see the whales.
we didn't see any whales on this trip. we did the next year out there. i believe i predicted a whale sighting while we all sat on the beach by the campfire. in my inebriated state i announced that there would be a whale sighting at 8pm. at 8:15 a humpback popped up. quite the sight. who could tire of those. i still miss life in ketchikan for the beaches there. perhaps one day i'll return to southeast to explore again.
more reflections
love to toss a kayak in pictures. they really make a nice accent to a photo.
no pictures today, break up. always a good time to add in old pictures to the mix.
these last are from a cd from about this time of year a few years back. i drove up to denali national park. the road is open for more than normal so i drove out for little overnighter.
ptamigan changing to summer colours.
more ptarmigan i believe. (not a birder though)
several caribou sightings out there that weekend. only one moose.
soon the tourists will come.
they'll be hoping to spot caribou, bear and moose for sure. big ticket items. of course, most of them will be riding the bus.
well, that is the end of the pictures for hte days. i loaded many more, but won't put them all here. will have to post them to the shutterfly account.
guess i should head to bed with my book. enough laziness for one day.

1 comment:

  1. Loved to see your McNeil river pictures. I have posted a few blogs about our trip last year which must have been just before yours. See http://mcneilriverbears.blogspot.com/ if you are interested.
    Regards, Maureen.