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Alaska Deadly Computer photo science the greatest

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park marks the 2nd Alaskan National Park Profile I will do for my Alaska Trip.  In terms of raw statistics, Kenai Fjords is the closest park to Anchorage, yet only the 5th most visited park in the state.  It’s comparable in size to Yosemite National Park, and was initially protected by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, but upgraded to a National Park in 1980.

Harding Icefield

Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the most rapidly changing landscapes there is.  The ice fields and glaciers are in a state of recession (and have been for over 100 years, so don’t blame “Global Warming”),  McCarthy Glacier, and Northwestern Glacier have seen massive retreats since the turn of the century, just look at the map, those dotted lines are the locations of the glacier in those years.  This rapidly changing landscape opens up a whole new world that has never been seen by man (or at least not in thousands of years).  And before you get all concerned, 60 feet or more of snow falls on average each year over the Harding Ice field.  Within as little as 4 years, that snow gets compacted and turned into new layers on the Glaciers.

The retreating glaciers open up the namesake of the park, numerous Fjords – long, narrow inlets with steep sides that form due to erosion caused by glaciers.  These fjords provide ripe habitat for all sorts of wildlife in the:

  • sea
    • Otters
    • Seals
    • Whales
  • land
    • Alaskan brown bears
    • Moose
    • Goats
  • air
    • Bald Eagles
    • Falcons
    • Stellar’s jays

Depending on what you want to do you can see any or all of them, but, the most common way to see the park is via boat cruises around the various bays and fjords.  This can be via large commercial Cruise ships, which many arrive, and leave out of Seward, or via smaller boats that fit a few dozen people, or all the way down to single person kayaks.  There’s a couple of miles of established trails around Exit Glacier, which is the only road accessible glacier, other than that it’s all back country.  However, the steep sided cliffs, and young, raw land make hiking difficult to do anyway.  Many of the small coves, and islands have designated campgrounds, and there’s even 2 public use cabins located in the park.  The cabins need to be reserved in advance, and you have to find your own way there, but they offer you a roof over your head in case you don’t want to sleep outside.

I am looking to do a multi-day kayaking trip into Kenai.  I’ll probably end up spending 4 days total in the area, 1 day to explore the Exit Glacier area, 2 days to kayak, and a last day to acclimate myself.  I’m currently planning on making Kenai my first stop in this grand expedition of mine.

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Alaska awesome Deadly Computer the greatest

Alaskan Expedition

I told you last week that this would now be a serious blog.  Well, in keeping with that theme, I am going to start going over my experience in putting together an expedition to Alaska in the summer of 2016.

Those who follow me, and this blog for years know that I am on a quest to visit all of America’s National Parks.  As of this writing, there are 59 National Parks spanning 27 states and 2 territories.  As of this writing, I have visited 11 of those parks.  I have plans to visit 4 or 5 more before 2015 is done.  So far I’ve ticked the easier to get to, and most popular parks off the list first.  Eventually though, the list of easy parks will soon out number the harder parks.  Parks that require a day or two of travel time just to get to.  Parks hundreds of miles from all civilization.

Alaska boasts 8 National Parks, 1 less that California, who has the most.  The parks in Alaska are larger than entire states in the lower 48, and some countries in Europe.  There are 2 parks entirely above the Arctic Circle. Most of the parks in Alaska have no official marked trails, some have 1 or 2.  Roads leading into the park, and around the interior of the Alaskan parks don’t exist.  The only way in is via bush flight.

Needless to say, the 8 Alaskan National Parks will be the hardest on the list to tick off.  Even The National Park of American Samoa will be easier to get to than Gates of the Arctic.  This is why for 2016 I am planning a 5 week expedition to Alaska to visit each and every one of those parks.  Over the next 18 months I will chronicle my progress and give an update on what I’ve decided so far.  I’ve already done a fair amount of research into this trip, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with a wall of 2,000 words, you won’t read it, I probably won’t read it either.  I’ll try and keep the posts to under 1,000 words for this series.  However, this series of posts has been granted it’s own Category.  The first new category on this blog in about 9 years.  You can find all the posts about this trip under the Alaska Category.  I plan on making that section a special part, as soon as I have some time to go through and write the code for it that is. 401 words.

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a stumble photo

Caving – For Real

Remember Ted The Caver, that was one of the best short stories I ever read on the internet.  If anyone knows of any other stories that are similar, please, let me know.

Robbie Shone is a real life caver, who actually spends his time going deep down into the bowels of the earth in natural, and man-made caverns.  His photographs don’t show the constricting, creepy nature that Ted’s story had, but still offer a sense of amazement.  I wouldn’t want to be in any of those places, especially since they are all artificially lighted.

Cave River

Why would you want to go in there?  That looks horribly like a death trap.  Holding onto a rope for your life while (what looks like) fast moving water is pushing you towards certain death.  It looks like a great photo, but that’s about the extent I’d want to see.

empty cave

That looks pretty cool.  Still eerie looking if you ask me.  It also looks like there’s a giant cliff that that guy is standing on.

 

cramped cave

That’s more like it if you ask me.  Has the Ted The Caver look and feel to it.

{This is Colossal}