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alaska, travel, photography, skiing, and what not

Posts from the adventure Category

Last week I had to drive from Fairbanks back to Anchorage for work. Beautiful weather and what better way to break up the drive – stop and fish Troublesome Creek. The fall colors were starting to come out as well. I met a friend at the pullout and we walked down to the mouth for some fly fishing for coho and rainbows. A few days prior I stopped to fish here and it was raining like crazy and I was harassed by a black bear – this time the sun was out and didn’t see any bears. Denali was out and I caught a handful of rainbows and two silver salmon. No bad days!

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A few weeks back we headed to Clam Gulch, AK to see if we could rummage up some razor clams. We knew the clamming was not going to be that good because you need a negative tide and the low tides that day were a +2 and +4. The weather was good and we had the beach to ourselves. We pulled our campers out on the beach and enjoyed the sunset, campfire and had great views of both the volcanos across Cook Inlet – Mount Redoubt and Mount Illiamna. In the end the group snagged 18 clams and it was well worth the trip.

Last weekend we had the pleasure of floating the Nelchina and Tazlina rivers in South-Central Alaska. The rivers are located just on the northern side of the Chugach Mountain Range. We had 8 people, 1 dog, too much gear, and 4 different boats – two 16′ rafts, a packraft, and a whitewater canoe. The Little Nelchina was pretty small for a big raft, the Nelchina was a calm and smooth glacial river, Tazlina Lake was a great booze cruise with a 5 h.p. outboard, and the Tazlina River we had some good waves and a quick pace. Overall a 78 mile high quality float and good times had by all (possibly too good of a time). Some images from the trip…

So here are the rest of the photos from last weekend. I love President’s Day Weekend… always nice to have a long weekend in the middle of February. We decided to make the most of the weird winter we have been experiencing out west and went backcountry skiing all 3 days. We hit Galena Summit Saturday and Sunday and then decided to try something a little closer to town on Monday and hit the slopes above Cathedral Pines Campground. All the snow skied well everyday – very surprising given the crazy temperature swings and mixed sun and snow cycles.

To finish off my trip to Vietnam, I had a day layover in Seoul, Korea. While it was a pain in the butt extending the trip home for another day, it was definitely great to be able to spend a day in Seoul. I almost decided not to go into the city because the Seoul/Incheon airport was by far the nicest airport I have ever been in. Instead, I opted to try not to sleep and head into the city. I was able to visit a palace, eat lunch and hit a shopping district before I had to head back to the airport to take off back to America. Overall, being in Korea was like being in Manhattan after spending a few weeks in Vietnam. This is my last blog entry from my trip to Vietnam.

Here are some photos I captured during my short stay in Korea:

Following a brief stay in Hanoi after our adventure in Halong Bay, we headed to the Hanoi International Airport for a short flight south to the historic Danang Airport. I definitely saw the influence from the war with old airplane hangers from the 1970s that were military in style. The second thing I noticed was the rain. Lots of rain. The weather did not look too good for the rest of the week, but we opted to head to the beach instead north to the mountains and would deal with the rain. We stayed at a very nice resort located right on the historic China Beach. Each day we went to Hoi An and took in the scenery, people and food. One thing I have not mentioned thus far was how good the coffee was there. We stopped multiple coffee shops and they were great besides the constant barrage of people trying to sell useless trinkets to tourists.

Here are some photos from our time in Da Nang and Hoi An:

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After a very disappointing start to this ski season, Old Man Winter finally made up for himself and decided to bring solid winter conditions to Idaho. This past weekend I met some buddies up on Banner Summit outside of Stanley, ID. Last winter we all read a bunch about the great skiing right off Copper Mountain, so we decided to give it a whirl. I drove in from Ketchum and when I dropped into the Salmon River headwaters, the temperature dropped to -20° F and it made for a bitterly cold start to the day. I stopped to snap some photos on the way.

A car drove by as I was doing a 13 second exposure. Turned out kind of cool:

Once we got under way, we all warmed up and enjoyed the mid-winter Sun. It took about two hours to make it to the summit and then we looked for some places to ski. All of the southern aspects were pretty sun baked so we hit a western aspect tree run that was surprisingly good (tree run center-right on the photo below). About 12 inches of fresh snow on a supportable base. Here are some photos from the rest of the day.

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This past weekend, my wife and I went backcountry skiing at Galena Summit, Idaho – which is located about 30 miles north of Sun Valley, Idaho. The day prior was bitterly cold down in the valleys and we expected that weather all weekend. I think the temperature was about -5° F when we woke up. However, when we got up to the pass, the sun was out and the temperature was a balmy +25° F and it almost felt like a spring day in the mountains. We had a fantastic day skiing fresh powder runs on low angle slopes in an area called “Wishbone.” We avoided any slopes above 30° given the weak layers in the snow from cold, dry spells earlier in the season and the persistent avalanche danger. We’ll definitely be back up there for more!

Some photos from the day:

My second stop in Vietnam was Halong Bay. Everyone I spoke to about about the must-see places in Vietnam mentioned that Halong Bay was  not to be missed. They were right – it truly was a unique experience. First, the drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay is long and bumpy – the roads were in good condition for the most part, but there were definitely areas where I was questioning the wellbeing of our van’s suspension. We actually did not go into Halong City, and instead departed from Tuan Chau Island. It was under a lot of development and only partially finished. I am sure that within 5 years it will be a bustling tourist destination. We then spent two days on a junk (that is what they call the boats) out in the bay seeing floating fishing villages, pester farms, massive caves, sea kayaking and just taking the scenery. It was a very beautiful place and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I sure hope the amount of tourism there does not impact it any further – it was busy now and I cannot imagine it when it gets busier.

Here are some of the images I captured while in Halong Bay: