Sunset over the University Range and Chitistone River, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.
A shot from a recent hike down the Chitistone Canyon; this frame looks south toward the University Mountain Range and the Chitistone Glacier. We’d hiked across the Goat Trail, a series of steep scree slopes that require a little attention, and made camp on a nice little plateau high above the Chitistone River. Dinner on the hillside and an evening with a spectacular view made a great end to a great day’s hiking.
The trip was a blast. We had good weather for the bulk of it, which cleared the way for great big views. We saw all the major mountains in the area, including the massive Mt. Bona and Mt Churchill, the Grand Parapet and the Twaharpies. We also saw a gaggle of grizzly bears (7 total, including a sow with 3 spring cubs), a fox, ground squirrels, golden eagles, ravens, ptarmigans, Dall sheep, mountain goats, and myriad ground nesting migratory birds.
Flowers were in full bloom and we had a good time with the guide book reviewing images and identifying as many as we could. Verna Pratts’s great guidebook on Alaska wildflowers is a great reference. For the most part we figured all of them, but a couple of mystery flowers had us all scratching our heads.
Mostly though, we hiked, napped, looked around, joked and chattered our way through a truly wonderful landscape; mountains and glaciers piled on top of mountains and glaciers. Good times indeed. And I’m heading back to the area this week for more of the same.