Day 3/21

Anchorage

This morning the sky is completely clear, time for action. First I go to a creek where you should be able to see salmon. But for one reason or another I end up in the port. Meanwhile it has become 09:00, so the store is open and I can better start going towards Denali National Park. When leaving the port I notice that the creek is on this side of the water and I was quite close to it. For now I let it go, something for another day.

Back to the Sportman’s Warehouse for the bearspray and here I meet someone that’s fishing a lot here. Pikes do not belong here and are exterminated. Whole lakes are poisened and after replanting the pikes return as well. There are lots of salmon and trout which you can catch almost everywhere. He points a couple of lures he catches lots of pike with and before I’m aware of it, my basket is full again (-; He tells me about a couple of bear-encounters he has had. In particular with mountain biking one is vulnerable because it’s very easy to surprise them. He didn’t get hurt, only a couple of bluff attacks and that was it. But they approached up to 2.5m while roaring. Most important thing to do is to hold your ground, because that’s something bears are used to and thus recognize. If you walk away you put yourself in a submissive position and possibly even present yourself as prey. Also a couple of shotgun stories like if he would come closer he would eat some lead, hahaha.

He tells me that punishment is much heavier here when you spray someone with bearspray than shooting him with a gun. Reason is that you can fall into a shock when sprayed. He has been sprayed twice. Once in a train, someone empties his canister and the train had to make an emergency stop and another time they were threatened by a customer in the store who had been spotted trying to steal goods. He says that you get the feeling that your are going to die. You can’t see anymore and breathing is almost impossible. All mucous membranes inflame instantly. He tells me to always spray with the and not against it. You have to take into account that you will always get something on you no matter which direction you spray. You have to leave the area as quickly as possible because the stuff stays in the air for a while. You can’t take it with you in an airplane and he advises me to try and sell it. At the counter there’s a family in front of me with 4 ammunition cartridges for an automatic rifle. It’s so common here. Think that there’s no one not having a canon at home.

Denali National Park

Then it’s time to start going towards the north. It’s about 5 hours of driving and around 10:30. I have booked a hotel already yesterday, so no worries on that part. The first couple of hours are not special in any way. Just a think forest on both sides of the road, birches and pines. Looks like it’s very difficult to get through, they are all packed very tightly together.

Having the plan to timelapse the whole journey. In Iceland I tried it for the first time and this time I do have a good suction cup for the GoPro. Every trip with the car I will attach it to the window shooting a photo every 5 seconds. That’s 28 seconds of video for every hour of driving. if I compress that, I should be able to catch the whole journey within 10 minutes of video. Very curious about that.

The birches are starting to get their autumn colors here and there. Halfway I shoot a couple of panoramics of beautiful Kashwitna Lake with a nice tree line on the background. The sky is starting to get cloudy and within minutes, rain is starting to fall. Then the first view on the Alaska Range from the south side. Here I shoot a couple of photographs as well. Denali is covered in clouds and completely invisible. Had no idea that it would be so close, it’s only 40 miles away. Tomorrow I will be on the north side of the range within the park.

Somewhat further I’ve my first wow-moment. Hadn’t been looking to my right side for a while and here the tundra is completely colored in tones of red. It’s raining very hard and there is no possibility to stop. To the left a large plain covered in creeks and these Bob Ross pines. They are standing in rows along the water and at other places just by them selves. Then a spot where I can stop. It’s still raining very hard and the colors are less vibrant here then a couple of kilometers back so I shoot a photo with my mobile.

An hour later I arrive at my hotel. There are no vacancies left so I’m very happy that I have booked in advance. Nice people, an old couple both with baseball hats (-;

Now it’s 17:30 and the rain is falling heavily. Later it turns dry again and I hear someone about a double rainbow. Quickly I go outside and indeed it’s a very beautiful one. But before I’m back with my camera gear there’s not much left of it.

edit