One year ago my good friend Tyler Howie and I set off trekking on the Crow Pass Trail Pass Trail with his dog Freija leading the way. It was pouring rain when we started, which continued for the first 8 miles or so, eventually clearing off for a spectacular midnight sky. We are planning to do the hike again this year with pack rafts and float most of the way back to the Eagle River Nature Center. Traveling in a pack raft with my camera gear is going to be a new experience for me, so I've been spending some time on the river to get used to maneuvering before we depart.
Here is another image of and his faithful companion Freija, who is sporting her K-9 pack from Mountainsmith on our trek over the Crow Pass Trail last month. Recently, I've been catching up on editing photos in the lead-up to my Australian journey, which is barely one week away! In doing so, I am able to relive past moments and reminisce about what I was thinking and feeling at the time when an image was created. I took this just after we crossed Crow Pass and were passing by Raven Glacier. The sun had dipped behind the mountaintops and the temperature dropped sharply as we began our descent toward Eagle River Valley with a punishing headwind. The valley below was bathed in warm light, the last of which we would experience as the rain arrived the following morning and persisted throughout the rest of the trek. This was the turning point, when I realized we had truly left our creature comforts behind and were now at the mercy of the weather and the Alaskan backcountry. Stepping outside of one's comfort zone, this is when the best moments happen.
Returned from backcountry trip into Eagle River Valley late last night, exhausted and sore from hiking nearly 30 miles with fifty pound packs. We made it to Thunder Gorge on Monday evening and up to the Glacier Lake on Tuesday. Freija was an excellent traveling companion, crossing turbulent glacial rivers and leading the way for much of the trek. More photos to come...