Heading out of Resurrection Bay


The Nenana River


Nenana River

The 140 mile long Nenana River forms the eastern boundary of Denali National Park. This tributary of the Tanana River, is a popular white water rafting destination. The Nenana begins as a Class I, but turns into a Class IV in the Nenana Gorge.


Thunder Mountain Crash

A de Havilland Beaver (DHC-2), flying out of Talkeetna on a flight seeing tour of Denali National Park, tragically crashed near the summit of Thunder Mountain on August 4. The crash site is roughly 14 miles from Denali’s peak.

There were four tourists from Poland on board, as well as the pilot. Initially, word spread that several people on board survived the crash, but that is not the case. All five in the de Havilland perished.

Heavy cloud cover hampered efforts to reach the site in the days right after the crash. The National Park Service eventually was able to send out two crews in helicopters. The first was to check for survivors, and the second was to evaluate the scene for possible recovery. Park rangers were dropped by cable to the broken Beaver, which lay precariously on the mountain side.

After accessing the risk, The National Park Service came to the conclusion Friday, that any attempt to recover the five bodies in the plane would put the rescue crews in too much danger. One look at the photos show why. The Beaver is broken behind the wing, and the tail section is pulling the entire plane down. It’s a 3500 foot drop to the glacier below. Since the crash, 30 inches of snow has fallen, driving up the risk of avalanche.

On Friday, I spent some time downtown, and overheard several tourists complain about the NPS decision. I get why they thought that way, but I respectfully disagree. The risk to a recovery crew would be too great, and as tough as it is to hear it, NPS made the right call.

Photos credit: Denali National Park & Preserve


Fort Raymond

Seward, Alaska


Fort Raymond, circa 1941

Fort Raymond was activated on 1 July 1941, with the purpose of protecting the rail terminus and the ice-free port of Seward, leading up to WWII. The fort was named after Captain Charles W. Raymond, a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Captain Raymond had been sent to Alaska in 1869, to determine the precise location of Fort Yukon. When he confirmed that Fort Yukon was indeed within the Territory of Alaska, Raymond evicted the famed Hudson Bay Company from the region.


Fort Raymond historical marker

At its peak, Fort Raymond housed over 170 officers and 3200 enlisted men. In 1940, the civilian population of Seward was only 949.

On 25 March 1942, a Japanese submarine was spotted in Resurrection Bay, only 2000 yards from the Army dock. By June of that year, Japanese troops had taken the islands of Kiska and Attu in the Aleutian Chain, and Dutch Harbor had been bombed.

But by the fall of 1943, the Japanese had been forced out of the Aleutians, and the threat to Alaska had decreased substantially. In November of 1944, the fort went into caretaking status.

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In 1946, the hospital at Fort Seward was renovated into a sanatorium for Alaska native children with tuberculosis. The sanatorium was open for 12 years.

The 1964 Good Friday Earthquake wiped out much of the town of Seward, including what remained of Fort Raymond. Several buildings from the fort can still be seen in Seward, however. Many quonset huts are scattered about the town, that came from Fort Raymond. The NCO building had been built out of local logs. That building is also still in use; it is the bottom half of the local American Legion post.

Today, the Seward Military Resort is located on the land that Fort Raymond once stood on.


Wild Salmon Day

It’s Alaska’s third annual Wild Salmon Day. Events and salmon barbecues are being held throughout the state today. Get out and enjoy some wild Alaska salmon.


Bear Glacier


Bear Glacier

Bear Glacier is the longest glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, at 13 miles, and Bear Glacier Lagoon is a popular kayaking destination.

The Bear is no longer a tidal glacier. Several hundred years ago, the glacier laid down enough terminal moraine to cut itself off from the sea. Bear Glacier now ends at a small, freshwater lake. The lake, which often has icebergs floating in it, has a surface area of 3.5 square miles, and runs 300-500 feet deep.

The lagoon, took on the nickname, Halibut Cove while we were fishing. One of us hooked a nice halibut when fishing for salmon. Unfortunately, patience was a lost virtue, and the halibut was lost as well. To be fair, landing a nice halibut with a salmon rig is no easy feat.


Revisiting the Exit


Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park

Another year, another wonderful day, and another hike up to Exit Glacier. According to the park ranger I spoke to, the glacier had receded 70 meters, or roughly 200 feet since we had last visited Exit in August of 2017.


The view from 2010

The signpost marks where the toe of Exit Glacier was just eight years ago. Due to the sunny weather, the trail was a busy place to be, and the glacier’s toe was an ice fall hazard zone.


Exit Creek

Exit Creek rushes out from under the glacier, on its journey to Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska.