By Epic Earth

Favorite fishing sport

Jim Creek Traffic
Jim Creek Traffic

One of my favorite salmon spots within an hour or so of Anchorage. Downstream there mass hundreds of anglers when the silver and reds are running. Up here as long as you have something to cross the creek in it’s much quieter. Of Course you have to share it. The “tundra tire” on this Cessna almost hit my truck as he had a bit of a downdraft when he came in over the trees, he pulled around to park. BTW the guy flying this plane had won it in a raffle and this was his first flight in it.

 

Squawking Ravens

Ravens fight over fish scraps
Ravens fight over fish scraps

Ravens are great and have pronounced personalities, I love watching them. I’ve also tried to photograph ravens. They live all around me, yet due to the jet black of their feathers it is not easy.

 

Io Hawk of Hawai’i

Rare Hawaiian Io Hawk
Rare Hawaiian Io Hawk

These rare hawks, the only true raptor indigenous to hawaii are call Io (Buteo solitarius). This hawk and his mate I saw often, as his home was near mine. Even once landing on my lani railing to say hello (oh, how I wished to have my camera in hand that day)

Surfer – Osa Peninsula

Surfing through the rock
Surfing through the rock

I had been driving through the jungle for half a day in this crappy 4×4 rental SUV and once the stress of river crossing after river crossing and through one mud bogg after another with nearly bald wheels I stopped for lunch. What I found was a hidden surf spot at the southernmost point of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.

 

Emerson Lava Tube on Hawaii

Emerson Lava tube
Emerson Lava tube

Half way up Mauna Kea on the saddle road crossing the big island of Hawaii there is a trail to the south of the road. 5 miles down that trail to the right is a Puka (Hawaiian for lava hole) about 100 feet around and 3o feet deep. This is the main entrance to the Emerson Lava Tube. This lava tube is nearly a mile long and a great hike. Bring boots, flashlights and a helmet is nice. Don’t forget sunscreen for the hike out. It’s sunny and at nearly 8,000 feet in elevation.

What do you drive?

Off Road Rig
Off Road Rig

Whatever that is. 40 miles from Anchorage is the off road mecca of day adventurers, a spot to try out a new rig, fish, shoot and have outdoors fun (there are rules), the Alaska version of going to the beach (there’s sand, really). Here there is a 100 square miles or more of river floodplains, dunes, forests with the Knik river running down the center, a sharp valley of Alaskan ridge lines, capped by a glacier of the same name. Called Knik River Public Use Area (KRPUA)  

 

Medevac with the PJ’s

PJ's load injured soldier on to a Pavehawk during medevac
PJ’s load injured soldier on to a Pavehawk during medevac

One of the greatest, most inspirational and courageous groups I have ever trained with were PJ’s. Every thing, every skill, anywhere on earth every different civilian emergency medical and rescue services have to do, the “Jay’s” have to do while being under enemy fire. I have a friend that works in a  PJ equipment shop and another that just  retired after nearly 30 years of service, much of that with the rescue squadron. Each PJ has their own gear for being able to do advanced paramedic skills anywhere on earth from the sides of mountains to glacial cravvasses to raging surf while being shot at with a hundred pounds of gear. All their gear is kept in special lockers that can be loaded on an aircraft and sent anywhere in the world with less than an hours notice. Amazing folks. My friend left on his first deployment this weekend. He has strength of character and is well trained, I have faith I’ll see him on the other side in 6 months.

 

Rigging for rescue with AMRG

Raising system for rescue litter
Raising system for rescue litter

For many years I was a member of the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group. As a group we worked directly under (and for) the Alaska State Troopers for cases of wilderness search and rescue, avalanche response, mountain and glacier rescue. We needed to be able to be on the road or in the air within 45 minutes for travel anywhere in the state. In addition to search and rescue duties we did a great deal educational with other SAR teams and public safety outreach. We trained tirelessly and at great expense both emotionally and physically in rescue rigging and wilderness search and rescue.

Swordman

swordman 113
Swordsman

There are men in this day and age that still strive to learn the way of the sword. Truth be told, I am one. I own a folded steel katana with silk and rayskin handle with a dragonfly tsuba. I am competent in kenjutsu BUT I am NOT the guy in the photo.

 

This is Alaska (TIA)

plane meetup
Plane meetup

Often times things in Alaska mean something different than they do in the lower 48. Here some folks wanted to make a picnic of the afternoon. They flew about 100 miles west of Anchorage were not too many will bother their afternoon. There are no roads, towns, cell service or anything else you don’t bring with you.

 

Cook Inlet

Fishing boat returns
Fishing boat returns

One evening at the mouth of the Kasilof river. We had been dipnetting all day and had just finished out dinner  of whatever and Guinness. It was approaching 11pm  as that is evening during July in Alaska.

 

Comet over northern lights

Comet over northern lights
Comet over northern lights

What words can be used to describe what you see here? A comet over the Talkeetna mountains of Alaska. The frozen Knik river in the foreground. The light northernlights. The mild glow of the city of Palmer. It was close to 10 below that night. My jeep spun around 3 times on the black ice of the off ramp from the Glenn to the Old Glenn hwy as I searched for a vantage point to take this photo.

Western ranch

Strands of barbed wire
Strands of barbed wire

Here in northeastern Washington state, barbed wire is the time honored tradition to keep your cattle and horses over there and my cattle and horses over here. Just after sunset we call it a day inspecting and repairing fences, there is always more to do on a ranch.

Flying in the Alaska range

Island of mountains punches through fog, Alaska
Island of mountains punches through fog, Alaska

Like many adventurous Alaskans I make it a habit to go anywhere any time someone asks. When you live in Alaska and someone says “hey, do you want to go flying?” You always say “yes”.

Deep in the Alaska range this cluster of peaks pushes up through the lower clouds.

C-17 flight through clouds

c-17 in flight
C-17 in flight

I live within one mile of the gate of a major airbase and nearly under an alternate flight path. I get to see our military’s great aircraft in action from F22’s to EWACS. Tragically I was outside when a C-17 lost power after take off and lost all souls on board. The impact, over 3 miles away was both heard and felt. A friend was on the that aircraft on the previous flight a few hours before.