Great adventures in Alaskalatest issue of AWAYN magazine
Jasper Guy Denali National Park and Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve encompasses 6 million acres of Alaska’s interior wilderness. Its centerpiece is 20,310-ft.-high Denali (fka Mount McKinley), North America’s tallest peak. With terrain of tundra, spruce forest and glaciers, the park is home to wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou and Dall sheep. Popular activities in summer include biking, backpacking, hiking and mountaineering.
In the summer, most visitors come to Denali, which runs every year from May 20 to the second weekend after Labor Day (so, mid-September). Summer is the only time of year in which the park's buses operate.
However, a spring or fall visit may be rewarding, although there are limited services and activities. Mountains are often snow-capped and dramatic, emphasizing the beautiful and strong wilderness of Denali. Wildlife is either shaking off winter's deep-freeze or cramming in October's last bit of life before the return of winter.
We aim to keep the alerts on our website up-to-date about the park's road conditions; but bear in mind that driving from Anchorage to Denali takes nearly five hours, during which time the weather may turn icy or snowy. Even if the road is closed when you arrive, the park's front-country offers many opportunities to recreate.
The Denali Chamber of Commerce provides information about accommodation in nearby communities throughout the year. Outside the summer season, there is no public transport in the Denali area, so most visitors rent a vehicle in the spring & fall before traveling to the park. During the spring and fall, there are no bus services within the park and no ranger-driven activities.
Sled Dog Adventures is just amazing! Highly recommend booking here for dog sledding. Called Kathy early in the morning and asked if anything was available for sledding later on that day and she said there was! $95 for 1 hr. She gave me the location of where to meet and also recommended taxi driver named Steve who took us there.
Was riding with someone else so I was standing up at first during the trip but then we switched and I was able to lay in the sled. Amazing ride & views. Very very well trained dogs! Listened and obeyed every command instantly. Very glad we went with this company for our dog sledding, highly recommend and plan on using the next time I visit!
In case you aren't dressed well, they let you borrow gear to put so you can stay warm!
My Packing List:
It's cold so use a very warm coat. I have used Tommy Hilfiger Men's Ultra Loft Insulated Arctic Cloth.It's a very good jacket for winter. Provides protection from cold W/O being too heavy. The jacket fits as expected. So far no issues with it. The product is as described. I'm only 5'3" and the jacket is just the right size. Highly recommended.
My boots are Crocs AllCast.The boots are great, but the left one has a couple issues that I'm worried will lessen the integrity of the boot over time. I can see a space where there is glue instead of an over-lap of leather, and there are some loose stitches at the top where the soft fabric is.. both these issues are noticeably more in tact on the right boot :-( I'm thinking about exchanging, but bummed about needing to go through that process.
I have also my MSR Talus TR3 Trekking Pole. just used my new MSR Talus TR# trekking poles for the first time today on an 11 mile hike through rocky terrain in Pennsylvania and they handled the terrain extremely well. These are simply solid as a rock and built for a lifetime. The workmanship and tolerances used to make these is top notch. I have held many different brands of trekking poles in my hands throughout the years and throughout the country and I prefer these hands down to anything else. They telescope easily enough with MSR's trigger system they use. The tips are tough as nails, even on PA's terrain like the Appalachian Trail. I have an ultra lite backpacking tent and I use these as the 2 main support poles. I swear my tent could withstand a tornado with these. The grips are very comfortable even though they are not cork like some prefer. There are shiny logos and bells and whistles throughout. A few people have already commented on them in a positive light. I will definitely buy these again for my fiance. Buy the best!
At only 21-years old Scott Crady is already making waves with his breathtaking photography. The self-taught photographer seeks adventures in wild, and beautiful landscapes where he snaps one incredible photo after another. Scotts photos spark an undeniable desire to travel, and explore. Awayn’s had the pleasure of catching up with Scott to talk about his work.
Scott, What first drew you to action photography and what keeps you there?
I started shooting photography as a way to make myself happy. It was during a transitional period in high school and I needed something I could do on my own that would let me focus my energy on something productive. I would shoot anything and everything I could, sometimes I would go on little solo day hikes to places I’d never been before. Something about going to a place completely new to me and figuring out how to capture it really drew me in. I first started shooting action photography when I went to Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. I fell into an amazing group of talented highly adventurous friends so it was only a matter of time before I started incorporating people into wild landscapes. From there it was networking that led me to even wilder locations and professional athletes.
As a professional photographer how do you find your subjects?
Honestly networking and social media have been the key players in finding subjects and making great friends! Its super easy to find like-minded people on sites like Instagram and Facebook. I’ve met people online from all the way across the country that I’ve been able to meet up with and shoot together just from a friendship that started online. I try to focus on a visually compelling composition as well as a story when I make images. When I first started I got into the unhealthy habit of shooting a “one shot story” type of image, the one photo that I deemed Instagram-able but ultimately left out a lot of details about the subject. I do my best to capture realistic images as well, I try to do little post production work most of it being color-correction. All sorts of variables go into shooting adventure photography but the key ones are location and lighting both of which are very unpredictable create challenges of their own.
What are some of the challenges of photographing an action sport ?
Location and gear are some of the most challenging things you have to deal with when photographing action/adventure sports. The majority of photos I take are in locations that have incredibly harsh conditions, everything from blazing heat to frigid temps. When you’re dealing with locations that have that level of unpredictability having the right gear for the job is absolutely crucial. Everything from your camera to your socks has the ability to change the way you work in a specific environment. Canon cameras hold a charge in the cold better than any other camera system I’ve used, and they take a beating like a champ. There’s nothing like grabbing a few shots while belaying an ice climber and having to deflect the falling ice chunks from your face with your camera. Having the proper clothing system is also extremely important without being prepared your day can go from bad to worse really quickly.
What is the most memorable trip you have had in recent memory? What kind of hidden places did you get to explore?
I recently had the chance to explore Yosemite really briefly on a solo road trip out to California. If there’s any sort of heaven on earth is got to be Yosemite Valley. I honestly started to tear up seeing something with that much pure beauty. When I originally drove in the valley it was really foggy and you couldn’t see anything but as soon as I got beyond the cloud cover it was like looking into a different world. You don’t know a what a big cliff is until your standing at the base of El Cap looking straight up into the abyss. I was fortunate enough to take a swim in the river that runs through the middle of the valley as well. Some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen, and I’m from the great lakes area so that’s saying something.
What equipment do you use to captures your footage? What are some of the challenges of using them?
I’m kind of a die-hard Canon fan. There cameras are so tough and have gotten me through some crazy situations. I currently shoot on the canon 7d mark 2 with what I call the holy trinity of lenses. Canons L series lenses that cover all focal lengths from 11mm to 400mm. I also weirdly enough purchase used gear, I found that the majority of it works almost exactly like new and is a fraction of the cost enabling me to save cash for trips. I shoot on a crop sensor camera which (the 7d mark 2) I’ve found it does a great job for everything that I need it for. I’ve shot everything from billboard images to Instagram moments on that thing and it delivers every time.
What advice would you give to someone embarking on their first adventure?
Don’t be afraid to take on your adventure solo. You won’t learn more about yourself than during a solo adventure. Whether it be a solo kayak around your local lake or a spontaneous trip across the country finding how you handle being alone in difficult situations is incredibly valuable.
People are different everywhere you go. The basic thing everyone has to offer is a smile, it brings down the wall between someone you don’t know and it could be the beginning to an awesome friendship. Don’t be afraid to meet people online, and swallow your pride and ask for help when you need it.
@scottcrady – Instagram
Scott Crady Photo – FacebooK
More ADVENTURES highlights
Marcus Schuler Yukon River Chilling Time
The Yukon has all the beauty and majesty to match any other part of Canada but has the added feature of being uncrowded by tourists and in most areas natural and untouched as when explorers did the journey over 100 years ago.
After a short trip on a river in Whistler, we took our first ever Canoe trip on the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Lake Laberge and loved it. I'm sure we would have seen more with a guide but we saw at least 6 eagles and quickly taught ourselves how to navigate the Canoe on the River's moderately fast but technically unchallenging waters. There were a few Mosquitos but nothing like some of the reported horror stories. We only saw one other Canoe and one motorboat during the 5 hours on the water.
Based on our day on the River, I'd love to come back and do a much longer trip on the River.
Like any self-guided trips away from populated areas, you need to be self dependent but this trip is as good an introduction as you can get.
The Kodiak Island Borough is situated in the Gulf of Alaska, in the archipelago of Kodiak Island, an area consisting of seventeen major islands parallel to the Katmai Coast along the Alaska Peninsula for 177 miles. Kodiak Island is the second largest island in the United States at 3,588 square miles, second only to Hawaii Island. Kodiak City is the seventh largest city in the state, 250 air miles southwest of Anchorage. The total population of the island, including the six villages of Port Lions, Ouzinkie, Larsen Bay, Karluk, Old Harbor and Akhiok, is about 13,000 with the majority of those residents living in and around Kodiak and its road system.
The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge is the best-known park on the island. The 2,812 square-mile refuge covers two-thirds of Kodiak Island and includes a variety of habitat ranging from rough mountains and alpine meadows to wetlands, spruce forest and grassland. The refuge has excellent fishing, but bear viewing is the most popular activity. The refuge is home to 3,500 male bears that normally weigh in at over 800 pounds but are known to exceed 1,500 pounds and are over 10 feet tall. The refuge has no roads, so bear viewing is done as a day tour with an air charter operator or as an excursion from one of the island's many remote lodges in the wilderness.