Horsetail Falls, Keystone Canyon

A hiker stands alongside Horsetail Falls, near Valdez, on the Richardson Highway, Alaska.

Standing alongside Horsetail Falls, near Valdez, on the Richardson Highway, Alaska. Please click on the image thumbnail to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s another photo from my trip down the Richardson Highway – Memory Lane. This one is Horsetail Falls, another waterfall in keystone Canyon, just south of Bridal Veil Falls, the image I posted earlier.

Waterfalls are so cool; I can sit and stare at a waterfall for hours, it seems, never tiring of the flow. The energy of the falls is often spellbinding.

I first visited this particular area, along the Lowe River in Keystone Canyon, on a trip to Valdez in 2000. That trip seems like several lifetimes ago now. It rained most of the time, and I left soon after, heading north to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park for a backpacking trip. I wish I hadn’t taken so long to return.

In this photo I wanted to illustrate that sense of being captivated that waterfalls so often impart. Rather than quickly set up for a shot that expresses that feeling, I simply sat and enjoyed the waterfall for a while .. nearly an hour. People came and went, and I just sat and enjoyed the falls; after a while, I knew exactly how I wanted to shoot this scene. I’d been on the far side of the falls from where this image was taken, but I knew that this was the composition I wanted. So, I wandered down to my truck, grabbed my camera, walked up the little trail to this vantage point, set up my tripod and camera, hit the timer, and went and stood in front of the camera. I took 2 more images afterward, but the first one is definitely my favorite. Sometimes it just happens like that.

If you’re visiting Alaska and looking for a great drive, the trip south from Glennallen to Valdez is pretty tough to beat. it’s a little over 100 miles, and climbs up over Thompson Pass, in the Chugach Mountains, and the Worthington Glacier. The descent down to Valdez through Keystone Canyon is a fun drive. You can even still view the old tunnel, built nearly 100 years ago, when the canyon was first used as a route for the train line running to the copper and gold mines of interior Alaska.

Keystone Canyon, with all these killer waterfalls, is a popular ice climbing destination in the winter (keep an eye out here for some of those photos this coming winter). Highly recommended!



One thought on “Horsetail Falls, Keystone Canyon

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