Looking back on last month's 4-day backpacking trip into the Talkeetna Range, I feel comfortable saying that it was a productive outing. It doesn't hurt that we had wonderful light every evening (some more 'rainbow-tacular' than others), and were blessed with decent morning light as well.
Then there was our surroundings. Hatcher Pass is literally in my backyard. It is just a short drive to a multitude of trail heads, and a short hike (some longer than others...) from many of these will put you on a mountain top with relatively minimal effort. From several of these, on a clear day, you can see the mighty Denali (Mt. McKinley, to some) looming over 100 miles away.
From here, it almost seems like you are level with the climbers atop its peak. Until you realize that you're not gasping for air (well, depending on your fitness level) and not dressed in expedition-weight clothes in July.
But these peaks, ridge lines, and spires are no less majestic to me. True, the tallest mountain here may only (?) be 8,849 feet tall (Sovereign Mountain) - but you can very quickly lose yourself in their grandeur after a short hike down one of the numerous valley trails. There are beautiful, glacier and snow melt fed streams - their clear waters a welcome water source during a strenuous hike (after purifying, to be safe, of course). Up higher, you will find small alpine lakes dotting the bowls beneath mountain peaks, their frigid waters a milky blue from the suspended glacial sediment.
Surprisingly, there is much life up here. Lush green moss grows near the water sources, tiny wild flowers abound, and patches of false hellebore can be seen. Small mammals thrive as well - marmot, pika, and arctic ground squirrel are frequent trail encounters. But there is also fox up here, the rare wolverine, moose below, and a healthy brown bear population further back in the range.
This all creates an incredible diverse region. Where some see only mountains, there are a multitude of subjects awaiting a photographer with a keen eye.
In today's New Image Release though, I return to a mountain scene. One of my favorite locations. It's not easy to get to, especially considering we both carried 40+ pound backpacks. The 'trail' to this place is non-existant. We found it 3 years ago by chance - perhaps I was delirious after the pain of snapping my ankle 2.5 miles before, but we just kept ascending. Much to the following day's chagrin.
It took us 3 years to return to this place. Neither of us were quite sure why it took so long to come back. Perhaps it was because we knew how difficult it was to reach. Maybe I was weary from the previous outing's accident. Regardless, when we arrived again, back at (what we call) Perseverance Base Camp, we both sat for a long time looking out over the water of this small lake.
Soaking in the view, and experiencing the feeling of returning to a special place.
A place few ever venture to.
If you stick to the trails and well marked paths your whole life, you will likely be treated to wonderful views.
The viewpoints on all the maps. Ones well defined in guide books and pamphlets.
You'll be able to tell stories that others can relate to, because they have seen it too.
Or you could step off the trail, and wander in your own direction.
Your path may not be well worn by previous traffic.
Your stories may not find solace in the comfort of similarity.
And that is a wonderful thing.
I'm titling this image 'Momentus'
I am setting the opening Rendition Print (#1) at 24″x36″. (read about our completely unique ‘Rendition’ prints in this blog post)
Open Editions prints are also available in 12″x18″, 16″x24″, and 20″x30″ sizes.
If you are a collector, and would like to own the very first Rendition Print of this image, please contact us at 907-315-0191. Likewise, if you would like to own an Open Edition print, we would love to help you.