"North to Alaska"
by Brenda Driscoll & Skip Hoyt, MNEC
Monday, December 8, 7:30 PM
Alaska, the last frontier. Our journey began in mid May and lasted three months, as we traveled in our Roadtrek camper van across the US & Canada into Alaska where we spent the next three months traveling the highways, byways and back roads of Alaska. Our first travels took us to the majestic Wrangell St Elias National Park, our nation’s largest National Park, over Thompson Pass with its spectacular mountain views, waterfalls and glaciers, with a hike to Worthington Glacier, then on to Valdez where we cruised through Prince William Sound, and the Columbia glacier.
Then it was off to the Mat-Su valley, over Hatcher Pass and Independence Gold mine, with beautiful valleys, and a hike to alpine lakes. The next stop was the Kenai Peninsula, traveling down to Seward, with a cruise to Seldovia and the Aleutians seeing eagles, puffins, whales and sea otters before heading to Exit Glacier where we hiked right up to the glacier. We spent several weeks on the Kenai visiting Soldotna, Anchor Point and Homer as well as many small towns, villages, and Old Russian Churches. The salmon were running so we spent a great deal of time following and photographing brown bears fishing along the Russian River, right next to the fishermen. We had a few close calls with the bears, but thankfully they were only interested in the fish.
Back to Anchorage where we took a flight to King Salmon then a float plane to Katmai National Park. After 20 minute ‘bear etiquette’ class and we were on our way to the campground to set up our tent before hiking the two miles to Brooks Falls to photograph the brown bears fishing for salmon. After four days we were back in Anchorage and heading to the Mat Su Glacier where Skip took a private guided tour of the glacier and ice caves. The next morning it was a spectacular sunrise on the glacier. We then drove back over Hatcher Pass to Willow, Talketna, and Denali National Park, for a quick three days before heading to the Fairbanks area for three weeks.
Traveling 20 miles north we had the chance to see the Aurora borealis over a period of four nights. Our next adventure took us on the Dalton Highway, the ‘Ice Road Trucker road’, which is 500 miles of gravel road all the way to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean, passing through the Brooks Range and Gates of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge where we saw grizzly bears, caribou, musk ox, ptarmigan, moose and arctic ground squirrels. We spent seven glorious days in Denali National Park in early September, camping, hiking and photographing many grizzly bears, cubs, moose in the rut, caribou, and mountain goats. The beautiful fall colors bathed the mountains in reds and oranges making for stunning landscapes. Mt. McKinley in all its glory showed itself briefly from behind the clouds. Our final stop in Alaska was Haines, part of the inside passage, home of the Chilkat Bald Eagle preserve and 300 resident eagles until the last salmon run in late fall. The annual eagle festival is in November. We photographed many brown bears and cubs, but only a few sightings of eagles.
Our nights were spent camping alongside rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, mountain streams, and the beautiful tundra of the North Slope. We traveled 20,000 miles in five months.
See Alaska through their eyes with stunning photographs and music of one of the last frontiers on this earth.
Our presenters, Brenda Driscoll and Skip Hoyt, MNEC of Reading, MA, are both members of the Greater Lynn Photographic Association. Well known and accomplished photographers, they are active competitors, presenters and judges. They have a photographic studio in their home and are well known for their excellence in portrait photography and wedding photography. They have both been involved with the Model sessions both at GLPA and the NECCC conference for many years.