Posts filed under Photography

Holly Lake

Holly Lake Wyoming.jpg

Adventure Tuesday

The Tetons - July 2017

    This summer I flew out to Jackson, WY, to help W and his field crew with some ecology work, mainly in Yellowstone. We stayed at a lodge in the Grand Teton National Park, just about an hour or so south of where we were doing most of the fieldwork.

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    I had just arrived in Jackson a few days earlier when we decided to go on this hike. Originally we wanted to backpack and spend the night at a campsite or alike, somewhere in the mountains, but with all the logistics we figured that a day hike was a lot easier and maybe more doable given the circumstances. I always want to see some grand views during my hikes, and if you can fit in some forest, streams and alpine tundra into that mix I am all for it. A couple of other friends had done this hike the day before and said it was amazing, so we also went on that same hike. If you are planning on doing this hike I would recommend to adjust to the altitude first. Jackson, Wyoming sits at an elevation of 6,237 feet, which also makes the area very dry. I burned my lips so bad this summer in the Tetons and Yellowstone. Holly Lake sits at 9,416 feet, so you will gain many many feet before you reach the end of this hike. I think I got a very light version of altitude sickness, which happens if you are not adjusted to the high elevation.

Paintbrush Canyon, Lakes, Mountains, 2,900 Feet and 13 Miles

    The start of this hike is very mellow, walking along the shoreline of String Lake and watching Mt Moran as it mirrors itself in the lake. At this point the trail is all flat, but you will soon slowly start heading up in elevation. The forest along the trail is a typical mixed conifer forest that you will find in large areas of the park, consisting of lodgepole pine and spruce-fir. You cross Leigh Lake outlet that connects to String lake, and it basically looks like a large stream.

As always we marvel on this landscape, and the ecology behind it. We are both ecologists/biologists, so even the tiniest things matter to us.  This hike is usually has an amazing wildflower display as you go up in elevation. We were a little early for that display but got some wildflowers along the trail within the forest.

Paintbrush Canyon - Mountains, Creeks and Forest

We were greeted with forest, streams and flowers, right of the bat. We would have to earn the mountains and the alpine ecosystem of course, some total elevation gain of 2000 feet. The deep forest, consisting of a mix between lodgepole pine, spruce-fir species does remind me about the Swedish forest to some extent, but at the same time this forest is extremely different. This is bear country too of course, and we had our bearsprays and voices of course. Clapping and talking loudly is something we are both very used to. They warn for moose too along some of the brushy edges of the creeks up along paintbrush canyon too. As we slowly make our way up and onwards we walk through deep forest. And when you least expect it, it opens up and give you these amazing views. Just like when we were driving through Canada I almost feel saturated with mountains, but there is more.


Eventually we get high enough in elevation that we start seeing more and more snow on the ground. It’s July, and temperatures down in the park and around Jackson has been around 85-90F. Up in elevation we have a panorama view of mountains, snow and waterfalls. The tree line is still present here, although the trees are more and more sparse as you continue upward.

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Holly Lake

    We were treading through a rugged landscape mixed with deep forest, creek crossings, and snowfield traverse. The end point of our hike was an alpine lake, Holly Lake. A beautiful lake at an elevation of 9416 feet. Originally W wanted us to continue after the lake, up on the ridge, before heading back, but that did not happen. We were satisfied with the lake being the end point of this hike. I for one was happy about this, because I was pretty beat after that approach. The last few miles before the actual lake we were treading through snowfields that were starting to melt. But what a view once we got there. I am always so blown away by these landscapes. I have to pinch myself in the arm to make sure it's for real. We hung out at the lake for a while, watched some kind of small animal roam around on the other side of the lake. Watched these waterfalls that were on display. We were really lucky about the weather too, but as always in the mountains the weather can quickly turn.

Heading Back

    Most often I am not a fan of out and back trails, with the exception of hikes that includes a view, which seem to be the norm nowadays. Usually when you hike up you keep looking back at the landscape behind you, and you get treated by that landscape all right in front of you when you walk down. Every single view of this hike was absolutely spectacular! These fantastic rock outcrops mixed with a constant view of creeks, small waterfalls and huge trees are like something from a different planet.

Just like the way up, we had an amazing view walking down. Creeks, waterfalls and forest. What more can you ask for?

Have you done any hiking this year that blew your mind away?



Flashback Friday  

Is this Landscape for real?  

    Almost a year ago I started packing, packing up my life into little boxes, well bags, to bring down, down from Alaska, and my sweet little cabin, down to Madison, WI. When you move from a state like Alaska, you can't just bring everything you own, it's expensive to ship things from that state, and expensive to rent U-Hauls etc. So, I did what everyone else does, sold most of my belongings and tried to reduced the number of bags to bring on my Journey. It was quite remarkable that I who came to Alaskaland 7 years ago (then) with only two suitcases now had so much stuff. Where did all this stuff come from? Bike, cross-country skis, backcountry skis, climbing gear and the list goes on. You can't just not bring those things, they are expensive, and have a low value second hand, much lower than what they cost when you buy them. I had already been bringing things down from Alaska, during several trips, and I still had this much. Either way, packed the car and drove with W, into the wilderness, into the big land of Canada, into no mans world and the Yukon, following the Alcan. What a trip, what a landscape. Completely breathtaking. 

Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley
  with the green stream streaking through it,
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence?
Then for God's sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.
- Call of the Wild, Robert Service

    Have you ever been to Canada? If not you simply have to go!


Natures Magical World

Diamond Dust


Flashback Friday

Sun dogs and Diamond dust

    When the temperatures drop enough ice crystals form and together with some sun we get these beautiful sund dogs around the sun. If you are lucky enough, you can see part of this ring (the sund dog) right in front of you. This phenomenon is also called diamond dust, because obviously that is what it looks like. 


Sun dog



    These pictures makes me miss the snow and cold weather a lot. Being able to ski every day, in one way or another. I could choose between biking (as long as the temps were not too low since I never winterized my bike) or ski to school. The morning commute was always worse than the afternoon, not because of the cold, but because of the darkness and moose. Imagine skiing into a dark forest on narrow skitrails at 7 in the morning. Sure, a headlamp helps, but the forest is really dark at that hour. In Alaska you loose about 6 minutes of daylight leading up to equinox, however after that you start to gain several minutes per day. So, before you know it, the mornings are light and soon the summer arrives, well after like 4 months.. 


Aurora Borealis

    Fairbanks is the main hot spot for Aurora in the whole world. I can say that the last year I saw aurora almost every day, to the point where I chose when I wanted to get up and out in the cold to take pictures depending on social media and live aurora cams. Now, of course, I really really miss having this opportunity, I mean even just going to pee in the middle of the night (to the outhouse) and look up and see this magical phenomenon going on. It's out of this world.


Magical Lights

    I have a deep connection with sunrises and sunsets. Nowadays I seldom get the opportunity to take as beautiful pictures as the one below, because I do not have that view while leaving work any more. 


    What is your favorite thing about nature? Have you ever seen Diamond Dust?