Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The Last Frontier
Grizzly bears, old-growth rain forest and state-sized glaciers are just a few of the photo opportunities in Alaska‚’s Chugach Mountains
The Chugach Mountains, named after the Inuit people who lived in this area, stretch 300 miles from the St. Elias Mountains in the east to the head of Cook Inlet near Anchorage. Bordering the Gulf of Alaska, these jagged peaks get more snow than anywhere else in the world, more than 600 inches a year. This snowfall contributes to some 8,200 square miles of glacial ice, a quarter of Alaska’s total. Wildlife is abundant. Wolves, grizzly and black bears, moose and Dall sheep are regularly seen. Take a coastal trip on Prince William Sound bordering the Chugach Mountains and add humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, otters and more bald eagles than you can count to the list.
Photography in the 49th state can be a little tougher than in the "Outside" what Alaskans call the Lower 48. Summer temperatures are normally in the 60s during the day and 40s at night, and in winter, temps range from zero to the 20s. A huge bonus to photographing in Alaska during the summer is 20 hours of daylight, with hours of beautiful, warm twilight. Rain is always possible, so bring good rain gear and sturdy hiking shoes. Despite being famous for its mosquitoes, bugs are similar in quantity to many other areas outside of Alaska, although having bug repellent is a good idea. All of Alaska is bear country, so be alert when hiking, and make noise when traveling in low-visibility areas (yell "Hello, bear!"). You want to see the bears, but you don’t want to count their molar teeth. Surprising a bear, especially a sow and cubs, is dangerous.
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