Catch and Cook a Dolly Varden





Fishing on the Kenai Peninsula, a lot was learned about the local bait and angle. Summer is salmon season and as king, sockeye, dog and silver make their way up river from late June until early September (kings are first, then the rest proceed respectively), Dolly Varden are a prized catch, while they trail behind the spawning salmon looking for fresh and tasty eggs.

Exploring both the Quartz and Crescent creeks near Cooper Landing for a few days straight, we cherished every sunny minute of bait, cast and hook. The salmon paid little attention to the lines and each evening one plump catch hit the frying pan. (And starting off the day with blueberry oatmeal crisp can't be beat.)
















Presently, a rainy Denali National Park has delivered calm days, cool nights and countless animal sightings. Autumn seems to be approaching quickly as the surrounding wilderness prepares for the quieter and chillier of seasons. Some amazing photos and more notes on the area soon.

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The Haul Road

Haul Road in Brooks Range



Hello, Alaska. So we've been here for a little over a week now and we've driven north to south. Four hundred plus miles up the Dalton Highway, also known as the Haul Road, past the Arctic Circle, through the unearthly, spectacular Brooks Range, and to the Arctic Ocean. Decked out with extra gas tanks and two spare tires, we took the infamous Dalton Highway on and achieved our goal. After adjusting to endless daylight, we seem to be missing it already.

Now, over 800 miles south of the Arctic, we're on the Kenai Peninsula, searching for silver salmon. Fly fishing. Check. Delicious arctic grayling. Check. Salmon and Alaska Range, here we come.

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along the Haul Road

The pipeline

The perfect day

Arctic Grayling

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Grayling dinner

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Camp.

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1:01am light @ Galbraith Lake. Well north of the Arctic Circle.

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Plain of Six Glaciers




We haven't found the words to describe the beauty that surrounded us while visiting Canada's Banff and Jasper National Parks on the Icefield Parkway. So for now, a few photos of our hike to Plain of Six Glaciers last week. The nine mile trek took us up above Lake Louise and alongside Victoria Glacier.

We've seen so many places in the last two and a half weeks. Between glacier hikes and mountain vistas, four time-zones and international border crossings, we're just trying to take it all in. Lucky us, the sun stays up late here.

By the time you read this, we should be somewhere on Alaska's Dalton Highway and to the Arctic Ocean in another day. For more photos find some mostly chronological shots of our journey on Flickr.










Bear Country




When we started off on this trip we anticipated seeing a lot of wildlife. And we have. So far, we've seen bison, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mule deer, whitetail, elk, moose, feral horses and an array of bird species. But the animal we've spotted on the most occasions has, undoubtedly, been the continuously celebrated, and feared, bear.

Since entering Glacier National Park 10 days ago, and driving north to Canada, through Banff and Jasper National Parks and into British Columbia, we've seen 20 bears - 16 black bears and four grizzlies. Three of the grizzlies were eating in the bushes just off the highway northwest of Grande Cache, a sow and two cubs. Earlier that day we saw another sow, a black bear, and her three cubs crossing the road, near Maligne Lake in Jasper.

While we were hiking in Many Glacier at Glacier National Park, in the states, we were watching a cow moose grazing in a shallow lake. Wading in the clear blue waters of the lake's edge, we were looking for the bull moose that we had just heard was in the area. Suddenly two our right, about 200 yards away, we noticed some movement. It was a black bear, running our way. An adolescent, maybe two years old, he quickly noticed two humans standing between him and whatever he was eager to run towards and stopped in his tracks. Curiously, he looked at us for a second or two, then ran away from shore, up into the trees. As we continued on our hike to the second lake on the trail, we saw him again, up the hill and in the trees. He seemed to know were were around and wasn't too shy, but wasn't too interested in saying, "hello" either. (Which pleased us.) After another minute or two he eventually scrambled over fallen logs and up the hill out of sight.

Now in the Yukon Territory, we should be in Alaska in a day or two. Surely we'll stay alert, and always safe, for more encounters with the bold and beautiful bear.















Photo Notes: The first five photos are of a black bear we spotted on the side of the road just after crossing the USA-Canada border. He paid no attention to us as he rummaged through bushes for buffaloberries. The next photo is of our first grizzly sighting in Waterton National Park. Then, the third set of photos is of a mama black bear and her three cubs in Jasper. We didn't snap any shots of the sow grizzly and her two cubs later that day. It was a quick sighting and we were busy staying alert as she was 200 or so yards from us, even though we had the safety of our vehicle between.

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Campfire Nostalgia