Slaughter Ridge, Alaska

As if it it had been invisible before, a trail appeared out of the woods. I followed footsteps through the rotten snow that slurped into my hiking shoes and soaked the legs of my pants. No matter; the fresh air and sunshine filtering through the ratty needles of the taiga made the day irresistible. I’ll…

Skyline Trail, Alaska

The tops of the mountains in Alaska sometimes remind me of stories people have told me about Scotland. It’s virtually the same latitude as Scotland here, I think; sometimes the jags of the mountains here remind me of bones, like skeletal protrusions of a living being settled down to earth at last. Caught up in…

Kenai, Alaska

Ravens take off into a headlong wind in a snowbound Kenai. Now that the snow is going out, the winter doesn’t seem so long; the grasses are showing and the birds are returning. But in the grip of it, I thought it would never end.

Phoenix, Arizona

I have always hated Phoenix. Growing up in the steppe, at about 5,200 feet on the upper plateau above the Mogollon Rim in Arizona, you look down on the Valley residents in their air conditioned homes and their sinuous highways and 115+ degree heat in the summer and you wonder, “Why would you live there?…

Kenai, Alaska

A moose visited our parking lot Thursday afternoon. She clearly wasn’t shy (I guess all my coworkers thronged around her and took pictures for awhile when someone first noticed her) and so by the time I got there, she was fairly quiet and just munching on the available browse. I decided to try out my…

Kamishak Bay, Alaska

Far from town, across the water and deep in a cove, the Paint River overflows into Kamishak Bay on Cook Inlet. Unlike many of the stream systems flowing into the inlet, it is clear, the sands and boulders in the bay glassy near the shore. Sedimentary rocks arch high above the beach, bearing the pocks and…

Homer, Alaska

Mt. Iliamna in the dying light near Homer, Alaska on Sept. 2. Taken with an 28-55 mm lens on a Nikon D300.

Ninilchik, Alaska

The aurora borealis isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it’s just ghostly sheets of green. Coastal Alaska is often so cloudy you can’t see it, even when it’s out. Sometimes it doesn’t quite dance, more like sliding across the sky. In the summer, when it’s warm, it never gets dark, so you…

Hope, Alaska

People call the Kenai Peninsula “Alaska in miniature.” The peninsula, the shape of a palm with the fingers all extended downward, is surrounded by the Pacific but for a windswept, mountainous wrist in the northeast. A ridge of mountains runs down the east side toward the southwest; a broad river, the Kenai, runs down the…

Soldotna, Alaska

The conversation I had on the riverbank boiled down to “do it early, do it often.” He was, of course, referring to getting kids out fishing. Some of his own earliest memories involved fishing the fresh waters of the Midwest with his father, he said fondly as he watched the boisterous children pull up to the bank…

Moose River Meadows, Alaska

If you’re interested in more of my coverage on the Ninilchik Tribe’s gillnet and the Cook Inlet fish wars, read here at the Peninsula Clarion.

Kenai, Alaska

Moose are essentially the deer of the far north, but significantly more dangerous- earlier this summer, Anchorage police found a man they thought had either been mauled by a bear or attacked with a knife, but it turns out he had been the victim of a moose stomping (that’s still under investigation). They regularly kill…