Stories from the Field
Spotting Whales in Kayakers Cove
July 7, 2016
Today is our last day in Alaska, and this place gave us one final show when we paddled out into Resurrection Bay from our secluded overnight location in Kayakers Cove. Just after pushing out, one of our group members spotted a Humpback Whale that swam towards us. We followed the whale through the deep coves. Several times we could tell it was feeding on fish because it would roll on the surface and then quickly onto its side. Just as we were about to head back the whale breached and hurled its body out of the water and came back down with a thunderous crash right in front of us! Two other whales came into the cove from opposite directions and we followed one of the whales back to our camp in amazement.
Exploring Exit Glacier
July 9, 2016
Our arrival in Seward has been graced by sunshine and blue skies over Resurrection Bay and the surrounding mountains. This town on the Kenai Peninsula is the perfect home base for the second half of our adventure.
After a hike into Kenai Fjords National Park, we put on crampons and ice climbing boots and headed into the ice of the Exit Glacier. This Glacier is an offshoot of the immense Harding ice field, but continues to accelerate in its melt with changing climate, so we were grateful to experience the place, understanding how we interact and are impacting such landscapes.
With our guides, we climbed down and back out of a deep crevasse, experiencing the blue glacial ice, and trekked across the glacier. Truly an amazing experience to be in such a massive and dynamic landscape!
Afterward we headed to the harbor for a waterfront dinner and took some time to walk among many boats under the evening sun, taking photos of this maritime community and some wildlife (a sea otter was close by!). Our spirits are refreshed by the water, sun, mountains, and the awesome experience of being on the Exit Glacier!
Expert Drew Rush on the Magic of Denali and Photography
July 3, 2016
Working in photography, I don’t get a chance to photograph in groups very often. It has been so refreshing to join this National Geographic Student Expedition in Denali over the last few days and see the excitement of all the students in the group, whether it be the photography-focused students or the wildlife-focused group. We all were excited to get to Denali, and it sure didn’t disappoint. We hadn’t even made it into the park when we were greeted by two baby moose. You could sense the excitement – everyone’s shutters worked furiously as we talked about ways of interpreting scenes and making successful photographs.
Last Days in Alaska
July 15, 2015
In high spirits from the glacier trek and ice climbing we did yesterday in Seward, we made our way by ferry to Kayakers Cove. The setting is incredible, and we bid both technology and electricity farewell for a few days. We spent the morning and afternoon kayaking around the area, appreciating the coastal landscapes and tidepools. We’ve also spent time whale watching, and caught sight of humpback whales, Dall Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, and puffins. In the evening we shared a home-cooked meal and the company of friends, and enjoyed the warmth of the fire pit, sauna, and wood burning stove of our cabin in between invigorating dips in the water. It was a wonderful culmination to an incredible trip — connecting with newfound friends we’ve shared wonderful experiences with in a truly unique place. This quote by Thoreau, posted on one cabin wall, puts it so well: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life…”
Denali’s Big Four
July 5, 2015
After a great few days in Anchorage, we headed North toward Denali National Park. Once there, we hopped on a shuttle bound for the Eielson Visitor Center for a four-hour journey that took us some 67 miles inside the park. Each year, people flock here from all over the world to see Denali’s Big Four: moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and grizzly bears. We’re happy to report that chance was in our favor and we got to see all of the above!
Red, White and Glacial Blue in Alaska
July 8, 2014
Over the past few days we hiked through Denali National Park and Preserve (much of the time in a cool summer rain), had an amazing experience sighting and photographing caribou on a hillside, hiked to a glacier, posed for pictures in front of the bus used in the film “Into the Wild,” trekked up a peak, and met the working sled dogs of Denali National Park. Toss in copious amounts of laughter, learning, and even a bit of ukulele strumming, and you can begin to get an idea of the fun we’ve been having over the past few days up here in the 49th state.