Cosmic Wonder on the Gulf of Alaska
May 26 - June 2, 2022

This was my first major stop in Alaska. I'd been fantasizing about Mount Saint Elias (an 18,008' mountain rising straight out of the ocean) and this stretch of coastline for years after seeing some photos Mark McInnis shot here. To get here, I drove about 2,500 miles from Southern Utah to Haines (an adventure on its own), packed a ~90 pound backpack with three weeks of food (for here and for the next adventure), got on a ferry from Haines to Juneau, and then took a flight from Juneau.

My original plan was to spend the first day or two walking back and forth from town to the beach to carry out all the water and supplies I'd need. Fortunately, after walking just a few minutes down the road from the small airport, friendly locals Ruth and Jerry took pity on me and my massive backpack as they were driving past and offered me a ride into town. After chatting and telling them about my plans, Jerry offered me two cans of bear spray (I was unable to fly with bear spray and would have had to buy it in town), showed me a hose where I could fill up 20 gallons of drinking water, and offered to drive me right out to the spot along the ocean where I wanted to go. I did my best to adequately thank him for such wonderful kindness. He even picked me up and drove me to the airport at the end of the trip!

As he dropped me off on the beach and drove away, I could hardly believe my eyes. I was finally here in this landscape that always seemed so impossibly far away, entirely on my own with all the supplies I needed. The following 8 days left me profoundly transformed, and months later still feel like some sort of strange hallucination.

When out shooting photos, I often write down notes about the place, trying to put into words the essence of the place and what it made me feel. I think the best way to convey my experience here is simply to share these unedited notes, along with the photos and videos below.

I would love to return in the winter sometime, when the waves are bigger and the bears are hibernating!

Mount saint elias hulking k2 artesonraju pyramid of rock and ice as the towering centerpiece of the whole landscape, hulking masses of rock and ice flanking the north pacific as far as the eye can see, across from the dense dark rainforest occupied by wolves and bears and filled with various bird calls, bald and golden eagles sometimes leaving their perches and making rounds over the water, other birds divebombing for fish and flying around together in formation, perpetually crashing surf ebbing and flowing with the tides, lawless beach strewn with driftwood and rocks and occasional roving bears serving as a no man’s land between the forest and ocean, sun going around and around in an oblong oval making a half-hearted attempt at nightfall for a few hours day after day, and me as an outsider on the beach with my little tent and stash of supplies trying to make sense of and learn from this cosmic drama playing out in this strange yet hyper-real land. Eternal watchtower on the gulf of alaska, menacing yet elegant and unassuming, quietly pointing the direction to the heavens for anyone who wishes to know
Grizzly tracks. In a couple brief moments one night, this bear taught me so much about my nervous system and nature and the lack of distinction between the two.
Grizzly tracks. In a couple brief moments one night, this bear taught me so much about my nervous system and nature and the lack of distinction between the two.

Ferry from Haines to Juneau

Alsek Lake on the flight from Juneau

Jerry dropping me off

Bald eagle

Hi my name is Abraham and I like long walks on the beach


Beach and mountains shortly after sunrise

Probably the most impressive wall of mountains on the continent

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