Alaskan Wildlife & Landscape
Our home sits on a mountainside overlooking an ocean entrance called Nichols Passage, in Alaska's SE archipelago. On a clear day you can see headlands over 40 miles distant. There isn't much that flies or floats that can escape our view and birds are omnipresent. From eagles, hawks and ravens, to woodpeckers, or hummingbirds, we have at least a hundred species appear throughout the year, including the flocks of thousands of ducks, swans and geese making their annual treks along the Pacific flyway migration route.
My first job in Alaska was being in charge of the marina at Bell Island Hot Springs Resort. Part of my job was processing fish. One afternoon, I had left the fish station for a few moments and when I returned there was a black bear on the dock, digging in a 55 gallon barrel used for burning trash. Nearby were tubs of fresh caught salmon. Concerned the bear would discover the fish, I snuck up behind him while he was digging in the barrel. I was 18, indestructible and fearless, so I hauled off and kicked him in the ass as hard as I could. It was like kicking a brick wall and I knew immediately I had made a big mistake. The bear reared up facing me, a full foot taller, his claws in my face mere inches away! In an instant, he hit the deck with all fours and was gone up the ramp into the forest. My heart in my throat, my skin intact, I realized a whole new respect for bears and have had an affinity for them ever since.
The Alaskan landscape is so vast and varied, it would take volumes to describe. Millions of dollars are spent attracting tourists to this state and it’s done primarily with pictures—words just can't describe it, especially not in a 30 second sound byte! The old adage that a picture paints a thousand words might be especially true here. From glaciers to volcanos, desert to rainforest, plains to rugged mountain ranges, Alaska has it all and then some. An artist can make a career painting landscapes in Alaska, and never run out of subject matter in several lifetimes.