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Alaskan Adventures: From Spring Blooms to Snowy Views
Springing into summer isn't always as it seems
In the spirit of sharing my experiences and photographic exploits, I bring you tales from two recent hikes at Wickersham Dome in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Our first venture, Wickersham Hike and Early Season Wildflowers, was marked by the awakening of spring. On this hike, my wife, Cat, our dog Tut, and I tread the muddy Summit Trail searching for the season's first wildflowers. Despite being a tad early for a more abundant bloom, we discovered twelve unique flower species. Standing proud, the tiny, woolly-encased purple flowers of the northern kittentails and the pink blossoms of the woolly lousewort were incredible.
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Tut also endured the 6-mile hike, marking a personal milestone. The adventure concluded under a dark cloud canopy, with distant hills radiating a bright green through the white snow in the sunlight.
The second trip and accompanying blogpost aptly titled Wickersham One Week Later, presented an unexpected spectacle. We found a white wonderland – a snow-clad landscape where wildflowers were scarce.
This deviation, however, did not diminish the experience. The contrast of the snow against the greening valleys was a breathtaking sight. Moreover, the formation of hard rime, an ice phenomenon that layered the landscape in a stunning icy veneer, was an interesting spectacle. This trip was a stark reminder of the unpredictability of the Alaskan interior weather, which, ironically, only added to its allure.
Both experiences have enriched my Alaska Wildflower Guide, a project close to my heart. As a part of this ongoing endeavor, I'm focusing on capturing intricate details of flowers through macro photography, providing a closer look at the unique characteristics of these beauties.
Looking ahead, these details will become the backbone of a robust search feature, allowing users to find flowers based on characteristics like leaf shape, stem size, or flower color. This is a significant step towards my goal of creating an app to accompany a future print field guide. You can read more about my macro photography efforts and gear in a recent subscriber-only post on Substack.
As always, your support is invaluable in bringing this project to life. If you find value in my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber on Substack, Patreon, or Ko-fi, where you can access identical exclusive content across platforms.