Posts Tagged ‘Denali National Park’

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 15

September 8th, 2011

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 14.”)

Part Fifteen: The Alaska Highway, Mile 1129 to Mile 1337, Alaska

Sunday, July 11, 1971: We awoke to an overcast sky and poor conditions for photographs. Philip wanted to make a Hasselblad picture of St. Elias Range, but decided on a close-up of the fireweed with the 4X5 Baby Deardorff instead. (Not the widely published and printed image, “Tundra, Fall Color, Willow, Dogwood, Fireweed, Denali National Park, Alaska.”) Then our route continued on uneventfully due to the poor and glary overcast lighting. The heat increased until we made a gas stop at Beaver Creek, Alaska Highway Mile 1202. At mile 1211 we stopped for pictures of a burned spruce forest carpeted with fireweed. The magenta tones of the fireweed, we could see from a distance. Up close the fireweed was quite beautiful accented with the black upright spruce snags. We stopped at the Alaska—Canada border to read signs. We stopped again not far away at the Border Station to mail some cards and letters. We made our lunch stop off the highway in a large cleared area, originally for an old mill. By then it was very warm and humid. Philip napped and I wrote more letters. We drove on without stopping as the sky continued grey and the photography possibilities were not good. We passed through a continuous dwarf spruce forest mixed with birch. We passed the Central Plateau of Alaska sign around Mile 1270. We stopped for pictures of roadside flowers, bladderwort in water and camus lily. I napped while Philip and David told me that they had jumped out at the scenic viewpoint at Mile 1272, but found the light too poor for photographs.

We had gained a total of two hours by crossing time zones. We crossed the Tanana River bridge and began looking for a dinner spot. We stopped short of the Tok River on a side road. We drove in and found a cemetery at the end of the road adjacent to a spruce and aspen forest teeming with mosquitos. Rain set in with a general sultriness. After dinner David opted for a ballet performance instead of a story. Earlier in the afternoon he and Philip had a long talk about the float plane they are going to build back at home. David was doing most of the talking. I napped in David’s “Studio” (above the cab). After dinner with David down for the night, we stopped at Tok Junction for water and high priced gas at 61.9 cents a gallon. We were glad to leave that tourist trap. Pressed on to the town of Tanacross, Alaska. We turned there at Mile 1324.5 and drove out on a rough gravel road to Tanana Ridge. The most interesting feature of the Indian settlement was one old log house with a sagging sod roof beside a pond with the Alaska Range in the background. Philip made photographs of the scene. We also noted some long narrow canoe like river craft that the Indians powered by outboard motor. We drove back out toward the road and looking more closely at the airport noticed that the numbers on the runway were 1324, matching the Alaska Highway mile markers. After one more stop for a photograph of Sanguisorba or Great Burnet Bloodwort, we turned into Moon Lake Campground, but left promptly as it was already too crowded. A short piece down the road we turned into a huge open area perhaps cleared in the past for road construction. We found a perfect camping spot behind a mound of gravel inhabited by nesting cliff swallows. It was all a clean openness around us. The woods was at a distance affording us a broad view of the nearby Alaska Range. The clouds were sometimes low on the mountains, sometimes rising above the peaks. The mosquitos were not a problem here. So with a total of 204 miles traveled for the day, we turned in at 9:30 pm while it was still 61 degrees Fahrenheit.

Continued in the next blog post in the series, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 16.”

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 14

July 28th, 2011

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 13.”)

Part Fourteen: Haines Highway, Yukon, Canada to The Alaska Highway, Mile 1129, Alaska

Tundra, Fall Color, Willow, Dogwood, Fireweed, Denali National Park, Alaska, copyright 1971 by Philip Hyde.

(See the photograph large, “Tundra, Fall Color, Willow, Dogwood, Fireweed, Denali National Park, Alaska.”

Saturday, July 10, 1971: Up early to bake hot biscuits for breakfast. Philip also out photographing early. He saw moose tracks on the roadside and went in pursuit. The wet flats of the Chilkat River were the right habitat. This area was also a wildlife refuge, but we failed to see any moose. We did see numerous snowshoe hares with white hind feet before hitting the road at around 9:00 am. Soon we pulled off for pictures of a mother duck and eight ducklings. By the time Philip got out with his Hasselblad 2 ¼ camera the mother duck was hidden in the grasses. Back on the road we came into a beautiful open valley with a very flat and wet bottom. Soon we were into dense cottonwoods, willows and undergrowth again. Mixed in stunted spruce trees were growing high enough to cut out our view of the backside of Mount St. Elias. We drove into Kluskus Indian Village, situated on an attractive flat along a stream. In the stream, a spruce sapling trap was arranged to catch salmon. The Kluskus Indian Band had log cabins and log caches arranged around the flat. A friendly atmosphere prevailed with a tourist enterprise of hand made objects for sale. We bought a moose hide with beaded décor and a head band for my niece Kris for $3.00. Philip took some 2 ¼ pictures. Then we were on our way again with a stop for water at Dezadeash Lake Resort. We drove into Kathleen Lake Campground for lunch. The road allowed only private access further on, so no good for pictures. A bear appeared in the campground and David was quite excited to see it.

At Haines Junction we made a brief stop for milk at 60 cents a quart and bananas at 37 cents a pound. We were dismayed by roadside clearing all through this part of Canada, at least 50 feet each side of the road. We made a short detour into Sulphur Lake to look. The sky had become quite cloudy over intermittent light showers. After we joined the Alaska Highway, the traffic became heavier and the road surface much more uneven. We could not go over 30 m.p.h. as holes suddenly appeared. The next 4X5 view camera stop was a view of the Kluane Range over the spruce forest in the flat below. Everywhere the aspen trees are dense among the spruce trees. Fireweed is profuse and a lovely magenta under the green Alaska cottonwood trees. We drove what seemed like a long distance following the shore of Kluane Lake. The rain showers were heavier as we stopped for dinner at Burwash Flats Campground, mile 1105. David went to bed and we were on our way again. We gained an hour through the time zone change. We stopped at Mountain View Lodge , mile 1128 to look through their “giant telescope” at Mount Logan. We could not tell which mountain was Mount Logan, but we could see some very high white mountain peaks and glaciers. The land was elevated there over the flat valley through which the Donjek River flows in multiple channels. We drove a short way further and found a gravel pit again on up the hillside overlooking the same view we had just seen of Mount Logan. The mountains are too grey now, but perhaps in the morning they will be good for photographs. It stayed dry the last few hours of daylight, but the sky filled with clouds.

Continued in the next blog post in the series, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 15.

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 13

June 29th, 2011

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 12.”)

Part Thirteen: Juneau, Alaska To The Haines Highway, Canada

 

Mud Flats On Yukon River Near Beaver, Alaska, copyright 1972 by Philip Hyde.

Thursday, July 8, 1971: We woke up at 5:45 am, dressed and looked out to another clear, sunny day with the water of the Inland Passage glassy and smooth again. We drove back over the bridge to Juneau and out the south road as far as we could go. We stopped once to watch eagles: two adult, three immature and two crows around a fresh kill on the tidewater flat. David stayed asleep until we parked in the Alaska Ferry lot, checking in about 6:45 am. I cooked and we ate breakfast while waiting to leave. Philip took photographs of the Alaska Ferry “Taku” coming in at 8:00 am. Taku made a late departure at 10:00 am because there were many semi trailers to load and numerous cars on standby. This leg of the Inland Passage was the most beautiful so far with high, snowy peaks close on both sides of the Inland Passage and glaciers along the West. At last we saw a whale, a humpback whale, flapping his flukes and blowing as a continuous repeated exercise for about 5 minutes. We could clearly see the humpback whale without binoculars. Later a school of porpoises cavorted in sight of Taku. Most of the six hour passage we spent reading the Slickrock proofs. Philip took pictures from the deck with his Hasselblad 2 ¼. We ate a bag lunch while sitting in the quieter aft lounge. As we came into Haines, Alaska, a layer of mill smoke hung over town. Each sunny day, this being the warmest so far at 74 degrees Fahrenheit, seemed to bring more haziness in the towns. Our first objective on arriving in Haines was to find a garage that could lube the GMC Truck. We found Haines Automotive and left our Camper there at 5:00 pm to walk down to the port and back by 6:00 pm when we picked the finished truck up. Haines was a small town with the atmosphere of one out in the bush. Haines lies in a gorgeous setting in a valley sloping to the sea with high snow covered peaks ringing the valley. The town of Haines was ugly and seemingly oblivious to the surrounding beauty. Most of the streets of Haines were gravel, on which cars went too fast producing lots of dust. Temperatures were even warmer in the sun with no breeze. We were delighted to find a cleaner, fresher wooded place to go for our dinner and the night at Portage Cove Campground. We arrived in beautiful light. The black rock strewn beach provided a good foreground. One huge fan of rock thrust upright, veined with white quartz. Philip included this rock in several 4X5 photographs. He did the same with an ancient overturned snag complete with spreading roots. Earlier this snag had been David’s airplane. After a dinner of beans cooked earlier in Juneau, cabbage salad and a root beer float for dessert, we watched the sun set behind the mountains earlier than usual at 10:00 pm. We were at the end of the road, along which even as we were trying to go to sleep more campers and autos came in looking for a place to camp for the night. Soon the whole Portage Cove Campground was jammed. We missed the Chilkat Dancers as it was not their night to dance. We had the camper windows open all night. Lovely clouds frothed over Portage Cove.

Friday, July 9, 1971:  Clouds filled the sky, but not across the sun. Rain showers darkened some areas while the sun illuminated others. The day began warm while we spent another hour in town getting gas, headlight protectors, propane and groceries. David still ruminated over death presumably reflecting on Grandmother Oliver’s passing. “I’ll bury you when you die mommy,” He said in his most solicitous voice. “I’ll bury you when you die too, Daddy. ‘Cause I was born after you.” Meanwhile, Philip had his 4X5 Baby Deardorff view camera ready for action while the stops for pictures started soon out of Haines. The Chilkat River ran broad and flat here. At mile 13, we made stops for lily blooms in a pond with mountains as a backdrop. We made it to Kluckwan, Alaska by about noon. We took the bypass road through the small Indian village and stopped as we entered town where we saw a cemetery. We looked in vain for carved tomb markers such as we heard talked about in the Haines grocery store. As we came into Kluckwan proper we stopped again for Philip to get architectural details of an old frame house on film. Then on through the village to another cemetery where we again looked for carved tomb markers with similar results. We ate lunch situated on a gravel flat of the Chilkat River that was overgrown with cottonwoods, wild rose, Queen Anne’s lace and some spruce. It was 76 degrees outside and 85 in the camper. We drove out to the main road the way we came in, admiring the grandeur of the scenery all the way. The high mountain peaks were heavy with snow making them extra impressive. We stopped at the Canadian border to put on our headlight guards. The gravel road, from here on called the Haines Highway, began and proved more even than the beat up paved road on the US side in Alaska on which we could not exceed 30 mph. Soon we were climbing out of the Chilkat Valley. Near Guardsman Summit at Mile 55 we stopped for pictures of flowers. Here we were out of the forest and rolling across a low cover of alder across Chilkat Pass, Philip making view camera photographs on the north side. We made a dinner stop on a little further. Rain slid down the sky to the north while the wind blew hard. The rain swept across, over us, past quickly and it cleared again. David found a rusty chain outside and pretended he was mountain climbing on a low bank formed by a bulldozer blade. Later Philip found the other side of the low ridge was a very steep slope straight down to Nadahini Creek. After dinner and another blow and rain squall we pulled back onto the road for a little more driving. We continued to about mile 108 where we found a borrow pit to park in for the night. I baked bread. Though it was unleavened I let it sit overnight and it did rise a little.

Continued in the next blog post in the series, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 14.”

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 12

May 24th, 2011

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 11.”)

Part Twelve: Layover Juneau, Alaska At the Mendenhall Campground

Mt. Brooks, Cotton Grass, Shore Of Wonder Lake, Alaska Range, Denali National Park, Alaska, copyright 1971 by Philip Hyde.

Tuesday, July 6, 1971: We showered and cleaned up our gear after breakfast. The Slickrock text proofs arrived in the mail when we picked it up at the Juneau post office. Philip packaged film for mailing. Later he unloaded and reloaded film in the afternoon while David and I explored the Alaska State Museum again. Docent Bonnie Koenig, an Eskimo and Athabaskan Native American explained the displays. We also saw the flower slide shows. Then we walked up town to buy the Heller Alaska flower book. We stopped in at Skip Wallen’s Kayak Gallery to admire his lithographs. Painter Rie Munoz was also there. He’s an artist who works for the museum as well as making bright yarn belts and water color paintings of Eskimo scenes. Next we rejoined Philip in the camper where he had finished his film loading chore. We walked over to the dock area for dinner. Afterward Philip emptied the septic tank. We drove out to Glacier Village and the laundromat for a big wash while Philip put David to bed. We finished other errands and correspondence. Then we drove out to the same Mendenhall Glacier campground for the night.

Wednesday, July 7, 1971:  We visited Sandy Beach on Douglas Island after breakfast. We traveled directly north on the Mendenhall Loop Road and then on to the main road to the end at mile 33. It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day—the second in a row. Philip made frequent stops for photographs. We also stopped at the Auke Bay post office to get more mail out.  We drove around the Lena Loop Road and were impressed with the lovely view from the Lena Beach picnic area overlooking Lena Cove. What a spot to have spent the night if we had known. We turned out at various viewpoints as the Chilkat Mountains were showing up impressively in a long snow façade. We drove down to St. Terese road, walked out across the causeway to the connected island Church hardly visible amongst trees. We became absorbed in the beautiful tilted rock base of the island, much exposed at low tide and surrounded by bird life: gulls, harlequin ducks and the noisiest crows. The din from them continued constantly as the parents were still feeding many of the young. Philip made many 2 ¼ photographs of the rocks and lichen. David had the old kaput Hasselblad body that Philip gave him. He also had his defunct reflex camera turned with the viewer out so it looked like a long lens. He was very busy “taking pictures” of the birds, us, wildflower gardens and so on.  Heading back out the road looking for a lunch spot, we came to some boggy areas that were covered with carpets of Alaska Cotton Grass. We pulled into a side dirt track and parked. Interspersed on the carpet of Alaska Cotton Grass were Rein Orchis, various small blue flowers and lupine. Also growing out of the Cotton Grass carpet, were young spruce trees heavily festooned with moss. While Philip unpacked the 4X5 view camera for this occasion, we all put on our rubber boots to walk around in the wet bog. I cut a bouquet of the Cotton Grass to take home. After lunch we forged on to the road end. Queen Anne’s Lace and Goat’s Beard beautified the roadsides. On the way back we stopped briefly for photographs of fireweed growing on a rock ledge and a short look at the Eagle Beach picnic area. Philip photographed gulls with his 35 mm camera. We didn’t make it to the prettier part of the area, but continued on to Fritz Cove Road completing the loop around it. We hurried into Juneau to send mail from the post office for the last time. We parked where we could walk up to the little Russian church and shops on Seward Street after closing time. We tried to have the GMC lubed, but the hoist was not big enough to raise the truck along with the camper. We rambled on out to the Sandy Beach Recreation Area for the night. Philip tried to send a wire to John Mitchell in New York, but found there was a five week old Western Union strike under way. We learned yesterday that Grandmother Oliver died in her sleep. I told David today. His first reaction was to say sadly, “She gave me some candy.” Later he said, “I’m sure glad I got to see great grandmother Oliver.” Still later he asked, “Are they going to burn her?”

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 13.”

Monday Blog Blog: Lumiere Gallery Virtual Photography Fair

April 11th, 2011

Lumiere Gallery Of Atlanta, Georgia Features The Pioneer Western Photography Of Philip Hyde In A Virtual Photography Fair

 

Mt. McKinley/Mt. Denali, Reflection Pond, Denali National Park, Alaska, 1971 by Philip Hyde.

Lumiere Gallery began representing Philip Hyde just this year. Besides prominently displaying Philip Hyde’s images in online galleries and special shows, posting Philip Hyde’s biography online and showing original vintage black and white prints in the gallery, as well as offering color archival fine art digital prints, Lumiere Gallery also advocates for photography and helps to educate the photography collecting community through lecture sponsorship and other educational venues both online and off. To its further credit, Lumiere is already selling a significant number of Philip Hyde prints. Lumiere offers Philip Hyde’s original vintage black and white prints and color archival fine art digital prints as a special feature of the gallery’s Virtual Photography Fair.

See a selection of Philip Hyde photographs in Lumiere’s Virtual Photography Fair or visit Lumiere’s online lectures for collectors.

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 11

March 28th, 2011

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 10.”)

Part Eleven: Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay National Monument to Juneau, Alaska

Party Ashore, Boats Moored, Teacup Harbor, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, 1971 by Philip Hyde.

Monday, July 5, 1971: Sunny today. We will take a cruise to Plateau Glacier. We are up at 7 am and in a mad hurry to get packed and to the tour boat by 8:15 am. The tour boat had 29 aboard including crew of three plus National Park Service personnel of two. The surface of Glacier Bay is glassy and smooth. The Fairweather Range was out of the clouds. There was some low fog in the southern bay burning away fast. First point of interest was the marble islands, small rounded glaciated domes mid channel with low shrubby growth. Heavy concentration of nesting birds, gulls, pigeons, guillamats, Pelagic Cormorants, Tufted Puffin, Common Murre, Murrelets, Arctic Terns. We could see the cormorant nests in the rock crevice. We proceed into Muir Inlet but were turned back by the density of ice floating. We turned up Wachusetts Inlet. Wachusetts Inlet had much ice in it too but we proceeded thru with ice bergs bumping against the side occasionally.

The day continued dazzlingly clear and bright. The ice bergs were beautiful pastel shades of blue against the sparkling milky blue water. We saw some Eiderducks, showy black and white. We made it all the way to Plateau Glacier by lunch time. We ate the lunch provided by the cruise company for $3.00 plus the $25.00 cruise fare for each of us. Ice bergs as big as houses appear to be grounded underwater somewhere. The sunny side of the house sized ice bergs is pitted revealing the clear blue ice base. Arctic Terns are abundant, flying and feeding along the base of the glacier. I looked over the rail of the boat and saw the water teeming with tiny shrimp (krill?) Arctic Terns were also riding on small ice bergs around Wachusetts Inlet.

The cruise captain cut the motor and we floated in front of the glacier and up to the Arctic Terns. With the sunny and warm day, it was noticeably colder in proximity to the glacier. On our way out of Wachusetts Inlet we passed a patch of larger house sized ice bergs. One huge ice berg had a Golden Eagle perched on top. The cruise boat pulled near shore opposite Goose Cove to let Chuck Cox and his wife off in a rowboat. They would row ashore to be picked up by their Park Ranger friend who would take them to their tent raft in Goose Cove. Nearby we saw a cluster of Harlequin Ducks. More breeze on return trip but still a very mild day. David napped and was totally absorbed sitting in the pilot house across from the captain. He had a wooden microphone, wore the binoculars and made announcements to all. We passed close to an Eagle’s Nest in a cottonwood. An Adult Golden Eagle was visible on the nest.

As Mount Fairweather came into view again it was still absolutely clear, no cirrus that day, a few cumulous clouds over the Chilkat Range was all. Turned out to be the most perfect day possible for the cruise. As we approached the Marble Islands again a small rock was sticking out of the water because of low tide. The rock, covered with rock weed, also hosted at least eight seals basking in the sun. As we approached, they slid into the water. A whale had been sighted earlier but I didn’t get to see it. We all did see several porpoises however. On Marble Island we saw numerous birds. If only we could stick around…

I couldn’t identify bird species quickly enough. So I took the word of the Park Ranger, which was sometimes incomplete. A few of the bird species we saw for sure were:

+ Pelagic Cormorant

+ Canada Goose

+ Tufted Puffin

+ Common Murre

+ Murrelets

+ Arctic Terns

+ Harlequin Ducks

+ Glaucous Gulls

While chasing a whale that we never found, the choppy water and wind combined to make us late getting back to Bartlett Cove. Before we landed we found there were five others who wanted to have dinner at The Gustavus Inn. One of them was a friend of Sally and Jack Lesh who run Gustavus Inn. Sally Lesh said she would call for all of us from the Glacier Bay Lodge. This she did. Sally arranged everything including transportation to Gustavus Inn.  Jack Lesh appeared in a short while with his Volkswagen Bus. We all piled in leaving Bartlett Cove. The Gustavus Inn more than lived up to its advance recommendations. The Leshs were very hospitable and their table was bountiful in a truly home cooked family style dinner with Roast Beef, Halibut, potatoes, white radishes, spinach and lettuce salad from their garden, plus string beans and hollandaise, homemade bread, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. For dessert they served berry Danish , grasshopper pie and Governor Miller Pie. I had a small piece of each pie. Delish! The atmosphere of a country ranch house and friendliness of the Leshes all added up to a delightful experience, more than just a dinner for $6.00 a piece.

The only flaw in our trip to Gustavus Inn was our need to hurry to catch the plane, which we did. This time we traveled on a Grumman Goose. Though it is a sea plane, we took off and landed on wheels. This made our third type of plane we had traveled in during our visit to Glacier Bay. Philip, David and I returned to Juneau feeling we had a wonderful experience. We were glad we did it regardless of cost, which was plenty. Our return flight to Juneau was over a land route more than over water as had been the Twin Otter. We flew very close to the mountains. Close enough to see goats and the three glaciers to the north of Juneau. We landed about 8:20 pm and drove right to the Mendenhall Glacier campground. We sorted all of our stuff and tidied up before going to bed. Philip took a shower. It was a nice campground with private parking slots in dense foliage.

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 12.”

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 10

February 10th, 2011

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 9.”)

Part Ten: Layover at Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay National Monument

Fairweather Range From Elfin Cove, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, 1971 by Philip Hyde.

Sunday, July 4, 1971: Sure enough the sun was out when we arose, our first sunshine since the day we traveled from Ketchikan to Wrangle. See the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 4.” This side of the shore was shady and the dirt still cool, though the beach was in the sun. We ate breakfast at our beach kitchen with fire, shivering, but warmed up as we moved around and exercised. It was glorious to look across at Mt. Fairweather and see it all, with snow white summits left and right. We had a leisurely morning with Philip photographing in the Spruce Forest and around Black Pond. David and I puttered around the beach and the forest trail. We napped after lunch. All of us walked up the beach in the late afternoon. Lots of old beach lines were marked by dry blackened rockweed, caches of mussel shells and assorted flotsam. We found a perfect small crab skeleton for David’s “museum collection.” By then the sun was shining fully on our beach kitchen and we didn’t need to revive the fire. I cooked on the Svea stove.

We walked back along the nature trail to Glacier Bay Lodge for an 8:45 pm Park Ranger program of slides on Glacier Bay in general by Park Ranger Tim Setlicka. After the program we made reservations to go on a boat tour to Muir Inlet the next day. We talked with the Park Ranger again on our way back to camp. We then found new neighbors on both sides of us, with three parties total camped in our area. The newest neighbors were wetsuit divers and had already been in the water.

Landscape Photography Blogger Notes:

Why was Philip Hyde in Alaska? The Short Introduction

(More on the role of the photography of Philip Hyde in Alaskan conservation efforts in future blog posts.)

In his book, “Your Land and Mine: Evolution of a Conservationist,” Edgar Wayburn, president of the Sierra Club off and on in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, wrote of his experiences on his first travels in Alaska in 1967:

We soon found ourselves engrossed by conservation issues. Of most obvious concern was the damage caused by mining. About three miles northwest of Camp Denali, (just outside Denali National Park) hydraulic mining at Moose Creek had devastated the landscape. Huge areas of earth had been blasted away and piled high in waste mounds; rain had washed away the tailings onto land downstream. Mining had churned up so much soil that the river, once free running and clear, ran thick with brown mud… (Hydraulic mining) had been outlawed in California, but in Alaska it was allowed to continue full force. Even more pressing than the mines at Kantishna was the National Park Service plan to build a new hotel above Wonder Lake, just inside (Denali National Park’s) northern boundary. And at the eastern entrance to the park, the National Park Service was surveying sites to expand the existing hotel there…. At the time of Alaska’s statehood in 1959, fewer than a million of the state’s 375 million acres were in private hands…. Of the remaining lands, 290 million acres were considered unappropriated, falling under the administration of the Bureau of Land Management. The fate of the vast majority of Alaska had yet to be decided.

In 1967, there were 99 Sierra Club members in Alaska. The only other notable conservation organization in Alaska at the time was the Alaska Conservation Society. Edgar Wayburn and his wife Peggy Wayburn, who also held various leadership roles with the Sierra Club, began to rally people to the cause of wilderness conservation. They proposed an alternative site for the hotel that would not be destructive to the landscape, Mt. Denali views or wildlife ranges. Staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service arranged for Peggy and Edgar Wayburn to fly over the Kenai Moose Range, now the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge:

Oil had been discovered on the Kenai Peninsula a decade earlier, and we witnessed evidence of seismic research conducted by oil companies—large stretches of denuded land where the trees had been shaved so the companies could put in their seismic lines and test underground for oil reserves. Cook Inlet, which separates the Kenai Peninsula from the main bulk of Alaska, was dotted with oil rigs and derricks.

In Juneau, Alaska, the U.S. Forest Service had a different perspective. The U.S. Forest Service controlled all the land in Southeast Alaska, a coastal region of rain forests, fjords, islands and peaks as you have read about in previous blog posts in this series: see also, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 6.” Included in this domain, the Tongass National Forest, contained almost 17 million acres, the largest unit of the national forest system, and the Chugach National Forest consisted of over 5 million acres. The Forest Service was not intent on conserving forests, Forest Service leaders in Alaska, as often elsewhere, were committed to stimulating the economy, bringing in business and creating jobs through the pulping and milling of the old growth rain forests they managed. Edgar Wayburn began to research studies that had been done on potential wilderness areas. To his surprise, even after the Wilderness Act of 1964 mandated wilderness studies and they were ongoing throughout the lower forty-eight states, the Forest Service in Alaska had made no wilderness studies, even though they were sitting on by far the largest holdings of wilderness.

On their first trip to Alaska, Peggy and Edgar Wayburn’s last stop was Glacier Bay. Proclamation declared Glacier Bay a national monument in 1925, but its protections were limited and some of Glacier Bay’s most striking features were not included in the national monument. The many fronts of conservation battle in Alaska were developed and valiantly assailed with the help of Philip Hyde and other photographers. However, even with these efforts, Glacier Bay did not become a national park until 1980.

After Executive Director David Brower was forced into resigning from the Sierra Club, the Sierra Club no longer called their books the Exhibit Format Series. They adopted a new look to the books and a different size format. One of the first flagship books of the Sierra Club just after the Exhibit Format Series ended, was called “Alaska: The Great Land” by Mike Miller and Peggy Wayburn with a number of photographers including Philip Hyde as the primary illustrator. Sierra Club members and leaders used this book in the various campaigns to defend Alaska. In 1971, Philip Hyde’s summer photography trip with his family to Alaska, was an opportunity to make photographs of the areas sensitive to each environmental campaign. Philip Hyde also returned to Alaska the following summer in 1972 and also in 1973 and many years off and on afterward. Some of the photographs published in “Alaska: The Great Land” were made on the summer 1971 Denali National Park trip.

(More on the role of the photography of Philip Hyde in Alaskan conservation efforts in future blog posts.)

Continued in the next blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 11.”

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 9

January 12th, 2011

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 8.”)

Part Nine: Layover at Reid Inlet, Glacier Bay National Monument

 

Rocky Promontory, Early Morning, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, 1971 by Philip Hyde.

Friday, July 2, 1971: We heard the patter of rain all night and it was still raining when we left the tent late, Philip at 8:00 am and David and I at 9:00 am. Philip and I built a fire in the cabin, which heated up fast. We sat at the tiny table by the window for breakfast. Then with all of our rain suits over warm undergarments we started out for Reid Glacier at the upper end of Reid Inlet, following the water’s edge.

The going was very slow and painful to rubber booted feet over loose rocks and through runoff streams. At each crossing, David wanted to step in the deepest water. We went back to our system of ferrying him across to prevent him doing this and getting his feet soaked. The rock weed showed up brilliant orange as the tide receded. Stranded icebergs made good photographic subjects. Philip had his 4X5 view camera, I carried his 35 mm. It took 2 ½ hours to from 11 am to 1:30 pm to reach the high domed point of land near the glacier where we stopped for lunch. We saw a National Geographic Society marker here with a note that Reid Glacier is under study. Diane and Dave Bohne’s names were in the register. Looking toward the mouth of Reid Inlet, we saw a small craft in Glacier Bay nearing the inlet. We guessed it to be a National Park Service patrol boat. They didn’t land or pay any attention to our waving or signals. After just entering Reid Inlet, they headed back out again.

After lunch we walked right up to the glacier face and above it on a snow slope. It rained off and on all day. The cloud ceiling was very low and we never heard a single airplane go over. We turned back for the long walk home. We had to eat dinner inside the cabin tonight, as the rain was too frequent to eat outside. After dinner David went right to bed. I walked around bird watching. I made my way out to the water where I could identify Harlequin ducks. On my way back the gulls swooped on my. It is an intimidating experience. They give a fierce war cry as they dive very close. Suddenly I was being sprayed with a thin water jet from behind. To my surprise it was a gull shooting the water stream at me and hitting a bullseye. While Philip wiped off the water, I spotted the perpetrating female gull on her nest not too far from where I had been. David had talked about this happening to him the first day we were here, but we thought he was making it up. The rain increased again and we retreated to bed. It rained off and on during the night.

Saturday, July 3, 1971: There was no rain in the morning. So we got up earlier. We had breakfast in the cabin and finished by 9 am. It was time for me to write in the travel log. David played nearby and Philip took off with his 4X5 view camera up the side hill of the inlet after the views. Before Philip set off, we all watched the Mariposa steam past Reid Inlet toward Johns Hopkins Inlet. The Mariposa looked unusually large out on the water from water level. Two hours and 40 minutes later we watched it return. By then we had climbed above the side wall above and the ship looked much smaller from there. Philip went on about an hour ahead of David and I, to photograph with his 4X5 view camera up on the first step I described in an earlier log entry. David and I followed after eating some lunch and brought Philip his. We found him up the slope from the first step, surrounded by budding willows. As we climbed a little fledging chick came tumbling down across our path, while the mother Fox Sparrow fluttered nearby. David and I napped and waited for Philip. As we all descended David flushed another Fox Sparrow on her nest of eggs. The weather and visibility were improving. There was no question that Guildersleeve, our pilot, would be able to come for us as planned. We had an early dinner, our last in the cabin, struck the tent and were all ready to leave.

Our pilot showed up right on time. We decided with the cloud ceiling as high as it was that we would take some extra flying time to see more of Glacier Bay. Anticipating to see where this might be, we were delayed by the need to make two trips to bring all our duffel to the plane. Philip made a photograph of David there before we left. We flew over Johns Hopkins Glacier, Lamplugh Glacier and a number of others.

As we arrived back at the lodge dock, the sun began to shine in this area as it had in some others on our flight. At first the sun was faint, but it came on stronger until we had a real sunset with colors and a show that continued for several hours. We made the long haul from the dock to the campground down the beach about ¾ mile. The space for a tent was in the bordering spruce forest on moss. The National Park Service provided a bear proof box hoisted by pulley into the trees. It was not only provided, but apparently needed as we saw fresh bear tracks on the road. There was a kitchen and fireplace in an open space just outside the forest and above the beach.

We raised the tent and put David to bed. We walked to the Inn and visited until 11 pm. I had to shade my eyes from the sunset glare pouring in the windows. Our conversation was with Robert Howe, Park Superintendent and Howard Freiss, the Hotel Manager. We met Jack Calvin with his party of 10 Sierra Club group on two boat trips in the area and to the South to Chichagoff Island, a proposed wilderness area. We went to bed around midnight. We realized we did not bring a flashlight on this part of the trip, but we never missed it.

Birds Seen At Reid Inlet:

Oyster Catcher
Canada Geese
Harlequin duck
White winged Scoter
Semipalmated Plover
Herring Gull – nesting
Herring Tern – young and adults
Golden Crowned Sparrow
Fox Sparrow – with fledgling and another on a nest of four eggs
Snow Bunting
Barn Swallows on nests
Black Guillemot
Yellow Warbler

Book: Wild Flowers of Alaska by Christine Heller

Flowers at Reid Inlet:

Dryas Drummondi
Roses
Soapberry
Russet shrub leafing out

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 10.”

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 8

December 8th, 2010

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 7.”)

Part Eight: Juneau to Glacier Bay National Monument (now National Park) and Reid Inlet

Looking Back At Johns Hopkins Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, 1971 by Philip Hyde. This boat ride to Johns Hopkins Inlet will be featured in a future blog post. It comes up a little later on the same Alaska trip.

Thursday, July 1, 1971: Our alarm went off at 5:45 am. We had to get up in time to catch the 7:00 am Alaska Air Lines Twin Otter prop jet at the Juneau Municipal Airport where we had spent the night. We took our duffel and chute bag full of camping gear over at 6:30 am, ate a hurried breakfast and walked on the plane about 2 minutes before 7:00 am. Our prop jet flew nice and low, only about 2,000-3,000 feet up. In just 20 minutes we came in on an old military runway at Gustavus Airport on Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

The Glacier Bay Lodge van took us into Bartlett Cove where National Park Superintendent Howe greeted us. Philip and the Superintendent talked while David and I walked around. We were waiting for Mr. Guildersleeve, our pilot, to fly us to Reid Inlet out on Glacier Bay. David and I explored the interior of Glacier Bay Lodge, bought a wild edible plant book and took the nature trail through the forest of spruce carpeted with moss to Black Pond and out to the Beach near the dock. The spruce tree and moss carpet is distinctive following a glacier in the area, compared to dwarf muskeg forest in older non-glaciated areas. As we drove across the berm on the road into the lodge we crossed the dividing line between older and new forest. Succulent wild flowers flourished around Glacier Bay Lodge: Black lily, budding paintbrush, others, while at the airport there was a carpet of lupin, paintbrush and shooting star. Both the paintbrush and the shooting star were the same shade of magenta. Wintergreen bloomed on the moss carpet along the nature walk. At the beach Nagoonberry was also in magenta bloom and the wild strawberries were blooming too. David and I waited on the dock where two Park Service inboard motor boats were tied up, then we moved over to the beach.

We finally got away about 10:20 am from Bartlett Cove in a small single engine five passenger Cessna float plane. David was very impressed with having two plane rides in one day. We stayed about 1,000 feet above the water, which gave us a good view as the ceiling was not high enough to reveal all the peaks. We were told that this was good weather for Glacier Bay, especially with little or no wind and fair visibility. We could see miles of beautiful wild Glacier Bay shoreline, untouched forests, pond-dotted muskeg, raw glaciated terrain and a few glaciers. Reid Inlet looked the most desolate of all as we came into it. Very few icebergs in the inlet made it easy for Mr. Guildersleeve, our pilot, to set down on the inlet side. Mr. Guildersleeve paddled the pontoons close to shore and jumped across to dry land ferrying our duffel. We stepped ashore, over 40 miles from civilization in one direction and hundreds of miles in the other directions. We were three tiny dots on the glacial moraine, alone in the wilderness for what would be six days. After the float plane took off and its motor sound receded, an immense solitude settled in, except that we were surrounded by birds and their outcry at our invasion of their home. We landed a long way from the cabin and thus had a hauling job over large cobbled gravel “beach,” or more accurately glacial moraine. Large groups of birds whirled and roosted on the scrub covered headlands and water. A group of baby chicks, perhaps they were Tern young, down covered, waddled, careened, bumbled and baubled their way up the shore from us. We hauled our gear into the tumbled down miner’s cabin and set up our tent for sleeping quarters near a shrubby hummock. As it started to sprinkle, we all crawled into our cozy tent for a nap.

When we woke up we explored our glaciated environment. Reid Inlet is short as Glacier Bay inlets go, with Reid Glacier meeting the water at the upper end. The face of the glacier is perhaps two miles from the cabin at the mouth end where Reid Inlet meets Glacier Bay proper. The amount, size and color of the icebergs in our surroundings varied day to day. Sometimes the icebergs were black when they originated from the top and side margins of the glacier. The bluer and whiter icebergs came from deeper in the glacier. We heard the “groaning” of the glacier ice regularly. The tide left many of the icebergs stranded on the beaches. Everywhere there were marks of old beach lines as the land and water rose and fell in relation to the glaciers of the area. Philip Photographed the landing area in the late afternoon.

Most local flair and animation came from the birds which we saw in great variety, on land and sea, and at quite close range. It was nesting season. Terns and seagulls swooped in alarm over us and Semipalmated plovers put on a diversion act. The flora was in its early spring stage, some leafing beginning as well as some flower buds and a variety of willow catkins.

Debris from the previous mining operation included a big barge which David immediately dubbed his “jet.” He had a great time re-enacting his recent flights. We found a stack of peeled and rotting logs and cut up a few lengths for our fire. We ate a Weiner roast dinner outside between rain showers. After dinner we climbed up the steep bank of the inlet wall to the first shelf depression above. We found fascinating flora up there: ground cover of Yellow Dryad in the rose family, which matted over all the plucked rocks of the glaciated surface and made the going much easier. Philip took many 35 mm photographs of the various willow catkins and twisted, dwarfed trunks and branches near bursting with soon to bud new foliage. In the process, he flushed out a ptarmigan. Earlier I had surprised and flushed one or two grouse from a nest on the scrubby headland, revealing a feather lined nest with at least eight eggs in it that were buff color with no speckles. Beautiful small reflection ponds dotted the natural shelf. Philip said he wanted to return up there with his view camera. We descended about 9:30 pm and put David to bed. We did the same ourselves soon as the rain began again. We were snug and warm in our down bags in our little orange tent. We were glad we brought all of the gear we did. After the first day we knew we would need all our warm clothes and rain gear in this windswept wilderness on Glacier Bay.

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 9.”

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 7

November 9th, 2010

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 6.”)

Part Seven: Petersburg to Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier, Tongass National Forest, Alaska, 1971 by Philip Hyde.

(See the photograph full screen Click Here.)

Tuesday, June 29, 1971: The Alaska Ferry Matanuska departed Petersburg, Alaska at 1:00 am. We had all slept in our clothes in the camper, then transferred to the ferry sleeping lounge after boarding. It was hard for David to get back to sleep and he woke up about 5:15 am. I showered at 6:00 am and came out just as we passed a glacier and icebergs could be seen floating in the water. We ate breakfast at 7:00 am in the dining room. David ate his favorite cereal, Wheat Hearts. “Even better than your cereal, Mom,” he said. The young boy we met at the Wrangell Petroglyphs, Lance Koenig, (see the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 4.”) was on the Matanuska going to Juneau, Alaska to see his sister as he said previously. After awhile the amiability between Lance and David wore thin and they were into the hitting tag game.

Heavy overcast turned to rain again. The mountain tops at Juneau were veiled but we could see hints of the precipitous backdrop they provided to the clouds and mist. We were off the ferry and drove into town by 9:45 am. We went first to the ferry office to change our reservation from a two birth cabin to a four birth cabin for the return trip home. We picked up mail at the post office and read it. We ate lunch at the South Aurora Basin where there is also a sanitation station. Took care of that matter after lunch while David napped. Then a haircut for me and gasoline stop. We looked at the Indian Art exhibit on the third floor of the Federal Building, then on to the Alaska State Museum. The Alaska State Museum was displaying a stunning array of beautiful Indian and Eskimo objects on the first floor, which closed at 4:30 pm. I went grocery shopping and we ate dinner. Philip was working on arrangements to go to Glacier Bay. We went back to the Alaska State Museum to see more exhibits on the other floors and attend a wind quartet concert by the group from Westwood, California near home. David was eager and interested at least for the first half. We stayed to hear the second half, letting David wander about the museum. Afterward we drove over the bridge to Douglas Island to the end of the road where there was a parking lot next to a playground.

Wednesday, June 30, 1971: Rain and sun alternating today. In yesterday’s mail, the Kurtzes wrote to tell us they had a dog for us. Pat, Kit and Cornell Kurtz had already named the German Shorthair Pointer dog like their dog Kaiko. They named our dog Pad, short for Philip, Ardis, and David. We didn’t tell David yet of course. Keeping it a surprise for the return.

After breakfast David went out to play on the equipment, especially the swing. When I went over to him and commented on the beauty of the Juneau mountains across the Gastineau Channel, he said, “It’s prettier from the swing.” We drove in to Douglas to call for reservations to go to Glacier Bay tomorrow. Moved on to Glacier Village and the Juneau Airport north of town. I went shopping while Philip and David watched airport activity. Then we followed the road out to Mendenhall Glacier. We looked in at the Visitor’s Center, then after lunch spent the balance of the day after lunch, all around the environs of the glacier. We were often rained on, but the clouds broke up intermittently to let some sun through. It warmed some when the sun came out, but generally cold, around 47 F. degrees. Philip took photographs with the 4X5 view camera under the umbrella and with the 2 1/4 Hasselblad as well. The color of the moss on the mud flats and the blue of the interior glacial ice were the most vivid color features.

When I told David that Mendenhall Glacier was receding, he observed that most of the glaciers we had seen on the ferries were receding and only a few were advancing. He asked if more “of all glaciers” were receding or more advancing. I said more were receding. As usual, he asked why and I explained that scientists didn’t know why yet. All of us enjoyed walking around Mendenhall Lake up close to the face of the ice at the East End. We were thrilled to watch a big chunk break loose and crash into the water. David and I had apple pie up at the coffee shop while Philip photographed. We had roast pork dinner in the camper where we were parked. In the late afternoon we organized gear for the Glacier Bay trip tomorrow…

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 8.”