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Denali Highway, day 2

By Troutnut on September 15th, 2013
We slept in Sunday morning and biked up to get the remaining meat around noon. The weather and ride were as nice as the previous day's, as was the rest of the beautiful but uneventful drive back across the Denali Highway to Paxson. We saw no other caribou and many dozen hunters, underscoring just how lucky I'd been to find a bull, even such a small one.

We reached the eastern side of the highway as the sun set and the moon rose over Mount Sanford, a majestic shield volcano 90 miles to the southeast in the Wrangells. That range is occasionally visible from high points on the eastern Denali Highway, but I'd never seen it so clearly before. Just another one-of-a-kind treat from the most scenic highway on Earth.

Photos by Troutnut from Denali Highway, Clearwater Mountains, and Miscellaneous Alaska in Alaska

The four tallest peaks (on the horizon, from this perspective), from left to right, I think, are Mt Hayes, 10,065-foot Aurora Peak, and a "double" peak that is actuall Mt Shand (left/foreground) with the peak of Mt Moffit sticking up in the background to the right of it From Denali Highway in Alaska.
The four tallest peaks (on the horizon, from this perspective), from left to right, I think, are Mt Hayes, 10,065-foot Aurora Peak, and a "double" peak that is actuall Mt Shand (left/foreground) with the peak of Mt Moffit sticking up in the background to the right of it
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Looking back at the Clearwater Mountains from the east From Denali Highway in Alaska.
Looking back at the Clearwater Mountains from the east
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Aurora Peak. You can also see a bit of the Maclaren Glacier on the very left hand side of the image From Denali Highway in Alaska.
Aurora Peak. You can also see a bit of the Maclaren Glacier on the very left hand side of the image
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Moonrise over Mt Sanford. An unusually clear view of this mountain from 90 miles away on the Denali Highway From Denali Highway in Alaska.
Moonrise over Mt Sanford. An unusually clear view of this mountain from 90 miles away on the Denali Highway
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Glacier Gap. This notch in the mountains two miles north of the highway holds a sizable lake. From Denali Highway in Alaska.
Glacier Gap. This notch in the mountains two miles north of the highway holds a sizable lake.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Alaska Range from Mile 52 Denali Highway. The left-most double peak is 12,510-foot Mt Shand (left) and 13,020-foot Mt Moffit (right). The other two tall peaks, middle and right, are unnamed (at least on Google Earth). The peak on the horizon about 2/3 of the way from Mt Moffit to the unnamed middle peak is 11,400-foot McGinnis Peak. From Denali Highway in Alaska.
Alaska Range from Mile 52 Denali Highway. The left-most double peak is 12,510-foot Mt Shand (left) and 13,020-foot Mt Moffit (right). The other two tall peaks, middle and right, are unnamed (at least on Google Earth). The peak on the horizon about 2/3 of the way from Mt Moffit to the unnamed middle peak is 11,400-foot McGinnis Peak.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Retrieving the last load of meat. Multiple groups of hunters had seen a pack of at least three wolves in this area the previous day, and a few days earlier. So I was a little bit nervous about leaving part of the meat overnight, and relieved when we found it untouched. It may have helped that a group of hunters had camped on the road not far away. From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Retrieving the last load of meat. Multiple groups of hunters had seen a pack of at least three wolves in this area the previous day, and a few days earlier. So I was a little bit nervous about leaving part of the meat overnight, and relieved when we found it untouched. It may have helped that a group of hunters had camped on the road not far away.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon PowerShot D10
Riding out From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Riding out
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Lena and Taiga on the Maclaren River Trail. This trail heads north toward the Maclaren Glacier and West Fork of the Maclaren River, uphill on the west side of the Maclaren River. From the Maclaren River Trail in Alaska.
Lena and Taiga on the Maclaren River Trail. This trail heads north toward the Maclaren Glacier and West Fork of the Maclaren River, uphill on the west side of the Maclaren River.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
View west across the Maclaren River valley from Maclaren Summit. The Clearwater Mountains make up the highest part of the horizon near the sun. From Denali Highway in Alaska.
View west across the Maclaren River valley from Maclaren Summit. The Clearwater Mountains make up the highest part of the horizon near the sun.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
First haul of meat. After getting the meat back to the road, I stashed the hind quarters and burger/rib meat bag in an alder thicket. I took these two front quarters and tenderloins/backstraps out with me on an after-dark bike ride 3 miles downhill to the car. My awesome 172-lumen ZebraLight H51W headlamp lit up the trail almost like a car headlight for me and Lena to make the ride. From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
First haul of meat. After getting the meat back to the road, I stashed the hind quarters and burger/rib meat bag in an alder thicket. I took these two front quarters and tenderloins/backstraps out with me on an after-dark bike ride 3 miles downhill to the car. My awesome 172-lumen ZebraLight H51W headlamp lit up the trail almost like a car headlight for me and Lena to make the ride.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Windy Creek Road From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Windy Creek Road
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Final load packed up. I strapped the hind quarters off either side of my bike's rear tire rack, loaded the burger/rib bag and antlers in my pack, and had an easy ride out to the car without Lena having to carry anything or get messy caribou on her gear. From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Final load packed up. I strapped the hind quarters off either side of my bike's rear tire rack, loaded the burger/rib bag and antlers in my pack, and had an easy ride out to the car without Lena having to carry anything or get messy caribou on her gear.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Riding out 2 From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Riding out 2
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Packed up and ready to go. This was a great way to transport the meat. It stayed cool, didn't stink up the car, and didn't even get dusty at all from the dry road. From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Packed up and ready to go. This was a great way to transport the meat. It stayed cool, didn't stink up the car, and didn't even get dusty at all from the dry road.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Beautiful yellow valley From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Beautiful yellow valley
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Panorama from the Maclaren River trail From the Maclaren River Trail in Alaska.
Panorama from the Maclaren River trail
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
 From Denali Highway in Alaska.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Kettle lakes From Denali Highway in Alaska.
Kettle lakes
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Kettle lakes and the Alaska Range From Denali Highway in Alaska.
Kettle lakes and the Alaska Range
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Denali Highway From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Denali Highway
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Fireweed. This is what Alaska's iconic purple flowers look like once they've gone to seed From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Fireweed. This is what Alaska's iconic purple flowers look like once they've gone to seed
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Taiga fetching From the Maclaren River Trail in Alaska.
Taiga fetching
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
 From Denali Highway in Alaska.
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Tundra colors From Clearwater Mountains in Alaska.
Tundra colors
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut
Beaver dam and beaver lodge overgrown with willows From the Maclaren River Trail in Alaska.
Beaver dam and beaver lodge overgrown with willows
StateAlaska
Date TakenSep 15, 2013
Date AddedSep 20, 2013
AuthorTroutnut

Closeup insects by Entoman from Mystery Creek #178 in Idaho

Female Psychoglypha alascensis (Snow Sedge) Caddisfly AdultFemale Psychoglypha alascensis (Snow Sedge) Caddisfly Adult View 3 PicturesThis specimen was 22 mm.
Collected September 15, 2013 from Mystery Creek #178 in Idaho
Added to Troutnut.com by Entoman on September 23, 2013
Female Timpanoga hecuba (Great Red Quill) Mayfly DunFemale Timpanoga hecuba (Great Red Quill) Mayfly Dun View 3 PicturesThis specimen is 14 mm. Technically this is the subspecies (Subspecies: Entomologists sometimes further divide a species into distinct groups called subspecies, which have two lower-case words on the end of their scientific name instead of one. The latter is the sub-species name. For example, Maccaffertium mexicanum mexicanum and Maccaffertium mexicanum integrum are two different subspecies of Maccaffertium mexicanum.) T. h. hecuba. The Cascades, Sierras and further West is where the other subspecies (Subspecies: Entomologists sometimes further divide a species into distinct groups called subspecies, which have two lower-case words on the end of their scientific name instead of one. The latter is the sub-species name. For example, Maccaffertium mexicanum mexicanum and Maccaffertium mexicanum integrum are two different subspecies of Maccaffertium mexicanum.), T. h. pacifica is found. The Great Basin seems to have formed a barrier preventing any overlap in their distribution.
Collected September 15, 2013 from Mystery Creek #178 in Idaho
Added to Troutnut.com by Entoman on September 23, 2013

Most recent comments on this post (latest on top)

MartinlfSeptember 23rd, 2013, 7:23 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2658
Great photos. In addition to the moon shot, my favorites were the tundra colors and fireweed photos.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
TroutnutSeptember 23rd, 2013, 2:57 pm
Administrator
Fairbanks, AK

Posts: 2375
Once he parks the bike and gets a 4 wheeler


Never!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
OldredbarnSeptember 23rd, 2013, 1:43 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2537
OK Now you're just showing off! ;)


I agree Eric...He hasn't gone completely native though...Once he parks the bike and gets a 4 wheeler we will never see him in the Lower 48 ever again! ;) That's a sure sign he's done.

Wonderful stuff Jason.

Spence

Riding in Valdez Creek road. We weren't the only ones with this idea. The Department of Fish & Game hotline mentioned that there were some caribou in an an area reachable from this road (several miles in), but it's in a non-motorized area. So people were accessing it via foot, bicycle, and even pack horse. Taiga found the horses very interesting.


I should of read this before I posted!
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
TroutnutSeptember 20th, 2013, 5:18 pm
Administrator
Fairbanks, AK

Posts: 2375
Yes, this is what the colors look like to the naked eye. If anything, they're more vivid in person. They look fantastic in my editing software (Lightroom) but unfortunately the way jpegs and color spaces in web browsers work I can't get them to faithfully reproduce what I see on my screen. Everything on the site is a bit flatter and more muted than the real deal.

I do use a polarizing filter, which brings out deep blue skies and reduces glare in some of the pictures. So a few of them are more like what you'd see while wearing polarized sunglasses. But in general that filter usually just compensates a bit for the camera's shortcomings. No camera really does justice to these scenes.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Jmd123September 20th, 2013, 4:03 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2010
Jason, those colors are just mindblowing. Do they look just like that to the naked eye as well? Your photography is superb at bring them out. Wow, words just can't describe this...Thanks so much for sharing your adventures up there!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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