Posts Tagged ‘Lake Near Susitna River’

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 18

May 22nd, 2012

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

(Pioneer landscape photographer Philip Hyde, his wife Ardis and son David in their Avion Camper on a 1968 GMC Utility Body Pickup. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 17.”)

Part Eighteen: Mile 65.5 Denali Highway, Alaska to Riley Creek Campground, Denali National Park, Alaska (Previously McKinley National Park)

Lake Near Susitna River, Denali National Park, Alaska, copyright 1971 Philip Hyde.

Saturday, July 17, 1971: We were happy to wake up to blue sky between the clouds. We ate breakfast and got away by 8:45 am. Our first stop along the Denali Highway was Susitna River Lodge in a classic outdoors setting for it’s type of tourist destination. Susitna River Lodge offered hunting, sightseeing, fishing; float planes, land planes, helicopters, boats. Philip made photographs. We were impressed by the Susitna River, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The Susitna River ran brim full and filled its grassy banks. We were filled as well, looking up river at a wall of snowy peaks. Spruce grew above horizontal tundra green and the sky sunny. Some lands of the middle ground were in dark cloud shadow. Philip made photographs at the bridge and then further on with the lake or backwater of the river in the foreground and pleated, close mountain in the background at mile 88.5. Philip also took a picture of the tundra, Monahan Flat and West Fork Glacier at the high point on the shoulder of the road above the river where we stopped for lunch. Philip walked back the way we came with his Hasselblad 2 ¼ medium format camera for pictures of flowers and the view upstream toward the source of the Nenana River. David found the shoulder blade bone of some animal, an oil can and other assorted junk. Driving on, the road dropped down to an overlook of the Nenana River where Philip made more photographs. At Mile 124, Philip made a 2 ¼ photo of cotton grass and a black stream on the left. At Mile 126, Philip stopped to make a 2 ¼ photo of the mountains across a small lake at the road edge. The mountain across the small lake was streaked with buff orange talus slopes. We turned off the highway toward Cantwell, Alaska and pulled over to buy a loaf of Wheatberry bread for $0.80, inquire about Denali Lakes and obtain directions. We headed out the section of new Route 3, Anchorage to Fairbanks road. Philip stopped several times for views from this road. It traverses the same broad open valley that the Alaska Railroad does. After we turned around at the FAA Housing site we saw the northbound Alaska Railroad train go by. Back on the Denali Highway, we again stopped along the Nenana River for pictures. I made honey cake while waiting. Then we looked for a dinner spot as we passed Carlo Creek. Not far beyond was a gravel track taking off from the main road and paralleling it. We pulled in and ate there. David and Philip went out after dinner and picked out numerous tracks they reported including moose, fox, a dog-type track, moose droppings, and a dead porcupine. David to bed. We drove in the Danali Lakes road a short distance beyond. We stopped and inquired of Mrs. Nancarrow for artist Bill Berry. “He is in the park sketching,” was all she said. We looked up photographer Charlie Ott when we got inside Denali National Park. He wasn’t home. We went to the Hotel and bought the new Washburn Guidebook, Nancarrow silkscreen notepaper, and a new copy of the Heller flower book to replace the one I ruined with water.

Continued in the next blog post in the series, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 19.”

Do you remember the most beautiful river or other outdoor setting you have ever seen? Did you make photographs of it?

Memories Of Finally Working With Dad

March 8th, 2010

When I Was Young, I Traveled With Dad, But Never Worked With Him Until Much Later…

This blog post is partly based on an e-mail I sent to the Philip Hyde updates list in May 2009. (Read more about the Hyde’s 1971 trip to Alaska and see the photograph below full size: Click Here.)

Lake Near Susitna River, Alaska Range, Alaska, 1971, by Philip Hyde. David was with his father when he made this photograph. Ardis, David and Philip Hyde spent June, July and August in Alaska. The Hydes celebrated David's sixth birthday in their Avion Camper.

Someday I would love to start a foundation for the archives of photographers. Many have died and their name and work just fades away.

Only the photography of the few who are the most recognized continues to be seen by the public. Even many of those who are well-known have their works locked away in some climate controlled vault, never to be seen again. There should be an organization that continues to circulate exhibitions and promotes the work of photographers who had an impact.

I will eternally regret that I didn’t get more interested in my dad’s photography earlier. The main obstacle was that he never thought his work was worth extra promotional effort, or that it would be profitable. Isn’t that silly. I talked to him about it several times but he never thought his work could earn more than a living for he and my mother. Hard to imagine now, he actually said it was not worth my time. I never had anything as worthwhile going in my life, even when I made a lot of money.

Because he spent his whole life working hard to develop his own voice as separate from his father, Leland Hyde, who was a painter, Dad thought I would want to do the same…and I did. However, while I was growing up, somewhere along the trail I learned to love the natural world and the western landscape as much as he did. For years I went in a completely different direction, but I carried a love of the mountains and the desert latent inside me. Eventually one day in 1992, when I was living in Los Angeles, during the Rodney King Riots, I just threw everything in my Mercedes and headed out of town. I did not stop driving until I made it to New Mexico. In the pinon smoke and pueblo dust of New Mexico, I reconnected with the land.

Around that time I started writing again. I wrote often and much. I wrote in my journal. I wrote about my youth. As I developed as a writer I realized that photography and writing are complementary. Dad and I could work together. I wrote a short book that I wanted to have Dad’s photographs illustrate. I do not know why I never tried to publish that little book. I even picked out photographs and Dad made me 4X5 contact proofs. Maybe it was not time yet. I still have it.

He and I did have the chance to spend more time together again in the last four years of his life. I am grateful that we did finally work together starting in 2002. I interviewed him for a book about his life and work. We made nearly 40 tapes. The interviewing gave him a reason to get up in the morning after he had lost his eyesight and my mother, the two loves of his life. He was very happy I was going to write a book about him. He was glad he did not have to do it. He loved the sections I read to him. We had a great time talking about his life as he answered my questions on tape.

His short-term memory had become quite poor, though his long-term memory stayed solid for several more years. After that though, even the long-term memories started to get twisted up with each other and mixed up in time. One day he confused bike riding in his youth at Point Reyes with a bike ride he and my mother and I took at Point Reyes. After that I phased out the interviewing because the facts were no longer adding up. Everything was getting muddled. I wish I had kept interviewing right to the last day of his life, even when he did tell conflicting stories. It would have kept more wind in his sails.

For a long time I have been struggling with his life’s story and it’s incredibly productive story arc, but tragic ending. Yet as I am looking deeper now, I realize it was not a tragic ending except only on the surface. His was a story of triumph over adversity throughout and especially at the end. His spirit is one that anyone could be proud to emulate. He had his bad days, but most of the time he stayed cheerful even in the darkest times. He did have his days he did not want to get out of bed, but we all do. The point is that he did keep getting up. For a heartfelt tribute to Dad see the blog post, “Celebrating Wilderness By William Neill.”

In 2001, I remember thinking after he lost his eyesight, “Well it can’t get any worse.” Then we lost my mom in March 2002. I thought it could not possibly get any worse because he still had great memories of his incredible life traveling in and defending the wilderness, but by the end he could not even find his way around his own house that he designed, built and lived in for 50 years.

I still miss him more than anything, but I like to imagine that in some way he is perhaps still with me, watching as I am inspired again by his words and images. One of the most worthwhile endeavors in my life has been going through his photographs. It is a joyful, uplifting experience that no amount of challenges, setbacks and expense can blight. Making the transition of the work to digital is not easy but I feel it is important. Of course, I am his son. Yet I imagine that almost anyone in my position would feel as strongly as I do about the work getting out to the world. For more on how Dad helped to expand Canyonlands National Park and a tribute to his life, work and contribution to future generations see the blog post, “Earth Day Celebration Of Ardis And Philip Hyde And Canyonlands.”

I greatly appreciate those who have contacted me through the website or blog and added their comments to the discussions, shared an anecdote about a trip they had with Dad, or related a story that happened on a workshop. I have done some of my best interviewing through e-mails written back and forth over months. Sometimes I hear the wind rustle the leaves and I can almost hear Dad’s laughter in his studio. Or I stop for a moment, breathe deeply and observe the warm sunshine flooding through the tall windows he put in by hand. In those moments I remember his whole face twinkling with enthusiasm as he tracked down the next “picher.” I look at photographs of our trips together and I think how lucky I was to have the childhood I did.

What are your favorite nature or childhood memories?