Thursday, November 15th, 2012
Tongass National Forest

During times of heavy precipitation and high winds, the Tongass National Forest, a temperate rainforest and the largest national forest in the United States at 17 million acres, becomes a green refuge and a peaceful sanctuary for my senses.

 

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Sunday, December 4th, 2011
Eastern Chichagof Island

Fog lingers over Seal Bay and the Moore Mountains, which are part of Eastern Chichagof Island in the Tongass National Forest, in this view from Tenakee Inlet.

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Thursday, November 10th, 2011
Mendenhall Lake Freeze Up

We were treated to glorious day yesterday. Unlike up in Western Alaska it was clear and calm in Juneau and most of Southeast Alaska. Went for a quick visit to Mendenhall Lake to see if the lake was still navigable, but almost the entire lake was covered by a thin film of ice, and it’s unlikely that it will thaw again, with temperatures expected to drop into the teens by next week. So I put the sea kayak away – it will have to wait until next spring for another spin around the lake.

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Saturday, September 24th, 2011
Trail Of Time

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Little Ice Age, a period of global cooling, began 3,000 years ago and ended in the mid-1700s. It left behind the Juneau Icefield and its adjoining glaciers – including the Mendenhall – as reminders of a colder time. As the ice slowly relinquishes its hold on the land, it leaves behind barren land in its wake. This land is slowly coming back to life, as plants and animals move in to fill the void left behind by the ice. Hiking along the ‘Trail of Time’ offers a glimpse on how the land is changing as it recovers from its recent glaciation. Step by step, vegetation covers barren areas, and plants systematically replace each other to build a climax forest, which will dominate the landscape until the next ice age starts the process again.

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Friday, August 26th, 2011
Face to Face: Black Bear – Human Interactions

One of the great things about living in Juneau is the ability to see wildlife. At this time of the year, it’s bear-watching season at Steep Creek near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, where Black bears can been seen daily feasting on sockeye and coho salmon at Steep Creek. According to Larry Aumiller, Alaska’s foremost bear biologist, bears become habituated to humans when they view people as a neutral part of the environment. Bears normally flee when they see people. But in some of Alaska’s most popular bear-viewing areas like at Steep Creek, bears have learned humans aren’t a problem, so they come back year after year. And cubs take cues from their parents, which means that if humans behave responsibly, generations of bears will return to the same spots for years of bear-viewing opportunities.Considering that there are hundreds of visitor at Steep Creek daily, U.S. Forest Service rangers and volunteers assist with crowd control to keep Black bears and humans safe from each other, with great success so far. May it stay that way.

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Thursday, August 25th, 2011
It's Tough To Be A Black Bear Cub…

A Black bear cub that was booted out by its mother this spring rests in a cottonwood tree near Mendenhall Lake in the Tongass National Forest earlier this week. Living now on its own among older aggressive bears, I watched it pick up and starting to devour a large sockeye salmon carcass that an older bear had left behind, when yet another large bear chased it off its meal and up the tree. Needless to say it’s not easy to be at the bottom of the pecking order among the almost thirty Black bears at Steep Creek.

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Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Black Bear Feeding Frenzy On Sockeye Salmon At Steep Creek

The annual gathering of Black bears at Steep Creek near Mendenhall Lake in the Tongass National Forest is an annual salmon derby of a different kind. For a few weeks in August through September, around 20-30 bears frequent the area to feast on sockeye and coho salmon who return to Steep Creek to spawn. A network of elevated boardwalks allows for close-up views of the bears fishing for and devouring salmon. It’s a truly an amazing sight to watch.

PS: My apologies for not updating the site during the past couple of days as the site had to undergo a complete cleaning. I will resume posting images starting tomorrow Thursday, August 25, 2011. Thanks for your patience.

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Sunday, August 21st, 2011
Black Bear Cub At Steep Creek

It’s been a very wet weekend here in Juneau, and even this black bear cub looking for sockeye salmon along Steep Creek seems to long for some dry shelter.

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