Ever since I heard about my friend Cameron Lawson’s adventure of riding a fat bike and packrafting the entire length of Alaska’s Lost Coast over the course of two summers, I have been somewhat infatuated by the place. Now, having moved to Haines three years back, the magical Lost Coast is in my back yard, so to speak. It was time for a re-con trip. Our group, consisting of Gene and Michele Cornelius, Angela Carter, Paul Swantsrom, and myself meet at the landing strip about 9 am, mount Gene’s new stabilized gimbal cam to the wing strut, and off we go in the 1956 DeHaviland Beaver, bound for Alsek Lake and the Lost Coast.
This mission was one of gathering aerial footage for financial and artistic gain, but for me it was far more, My insane love for this country out there has me on the constant lookout for opportunity to explore. Out past the Takhinsha Peaks and into the bowels of the icefields and glaciers flowing into Glacier Bay, we finally come around face to face with Mt Crillion and Mt Fairweather… the Giants. Mt Fairweather, at over 15,000 feet high, and rising less then ten miles from the Gulf of Alaska, is one of the highest Coastal peaks in the world, enshrouded in massive glaciers and reputed as to having some of the worst weather on the planet.
Cruising up the desolate coast, we see far below to Alsek lake, where mighty Glaciers congregate into a freshwater bathtub of icegergs, is engulfed in a sizable wind storm. The massive curtains of dust clearly visible from the confines of the plane. We opt to land on the whimsical darkened sand of the Lost Coast itself, just north of the La Perouse Glacier, and Wolf and Grizzly tracks are spotted immediately. We do some shots of the plane landing and taking off, shoot a time lapse or two, and before you know it we are flying again upwards of 11,000 feet on the flanks of Fairweather itself.
This trip strengthened my desire for a trip out here again, this time armed with a pair of legs and a pack raft.. Coming in April or May of 2017.
Here is a quick edit of that day… Enjoy!
Brownie and ‘Lil Dickens playing in the Chilkoot River near Haines, Alaska
It had been some weeks since I had been out Chilkoot way… The summer hoards of tourists hoping to catch glimpses of the beautiful Chilkoot Bears has kept me away. Now, in September, the weir has been taken down, and the masses are at bay. I decide to head that way in hopes of seeing Speedy, Brownie, and ‘Lil Dickens on their home turf. Lucky for me, they are all there frolicking and catching the last of the year’s Chilkoot Salmon run. Here’s the footage from today…
After talking of it for weeks, my good friend Gene and I decide to take a weekend and sail his boat down to Sullivan Island, which is situated in the confines of the stunning Chilkat Inlet about a dozen or so miles south of Haines. The weather is remarkable: so good in fact there is no wind for sailing, so motoring down the Inlet we go, bound for glacial outpours, rugged mountains, hidden canyons, unnamed rivers, Grizzly Bears, and spawning Salmon.
That evening, moored just off the shores of Sullivan and drinking wine while gazing at the eerie mist engulfing the inlet, a ghostly and unexpected whale surfaces in the dark and breathes loudly through it’s blowhole. Neither one of us knew that any whales were in the inlet this time of year.. a gift.
The next day, calm and serene, the mountains and glaciers shining bright, we motor up inlet to an unnamed river to inspect. A massive Cottonwood sporting a huge Eagle’s nest, giant Grizzly tracks, unexpectedly hidden canyon and glaciers, and loads of coyote tracks. We hike perhaps a mile upstream before turning back. I vow to myself to return to this place and hike the distance through the hidden canyon to the splendid glacier beyond. Another trip; I must get a boat!
It is jaunts such as these that remind me that Haines is a most fantastic place on this Earth, and I call it home…
Alaska Coast Range and Sullivan Island
Un-named river and glacier…
The Towering Granite Walls of the Alaska Coast Range
Looking to the Chilkat Range from the Boat
Eagle’s Nest and Sail Boat
Rescue Bay Sullivan Island
Shining Glaciers at Dusk
Here is the latest from Just Rolling By’s recent stock video collection. Most of these shots were taken in the last month or so, except for a couple select clips. If you are interested in viewing my entire collection of stock video, please visit:
Please bear in mind that it is stock video sales that fuel the adventures that create the writing and photography on JustRollingBy. More stories,writing, and photography coming soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy!
Feedback on this website in any fashion is always greatly welcomed.
Here is a link to some of my photos: