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  • Lyndell Daniel

Lake Clark, Alaska (from the air)

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

All the planning that had gone into spending time with the brown bears in Lake Clark Alaska was about to happen. I didn't even need to set the 5am alarm. I was up, dressed, packed and ready to go. Then the phone call came - the car to take us to Kenai airport for our charter flight had broken down.

After a brief tense moment looking at each other, we opened the Uber app and started looking for drivers in the area; 30 minutes later we were on our way to Anchorage airport to hopefully get a ticket on the next flight to Kenai airport. This luckily didn't prove too difficult and we managed to get the last two seats on the early morning flight.

About to board our plane from Anchorage to Kenai airport. The line up at that time of the morning was overwhelming.

It has turned slightly cold from the rain and upon boarding the female pilot advised it might be a rather bumpy trip with the weather.

After a quick exchange from the main airport at Kenai, we were in our small charter plane bound for Lake Clark. Peter became co-pilot and on this occasion I was more than happy to sit in the back and take some photos of the stunning, evolving landscapes around us.

The views just before and after takeoff. The early morning rain had certainly chilled the air.

I was mesmerised by the colours that were unfolding around us.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is located on the Alaska Peninsula north of Katmai National Park, 65 air miles northwest of Homer, and about 120 air miles southwest of Anchorage.

Like many areas in Alaska, Lake Clark is not on the road system; therefore, travel takes place primarily by small plane, which are allowed to land on all suitable lakes, rivers, beaches, gravel bars, and open ground in both the park and preserve.

Lake Clark is a backcountry park. There are no roads, no campgrounds, and only one maintained hiking trail, the Tanalian Trail. Travel from one location to another is by foot, kayak, raft, boat, or small plane.

At Lake Clark, glaciers are the dominant architects at work. A glacier is a complex and dynamic system, continuously changing in response to fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, and other geologic processes. The future of glaciers and glaciation is, of course, unknown, but we do know that it takes only minor increases in precipitation and changes in temperature to cause significant build-up or loss in the snow packs of existing glaciers.

Glacial ice appears blue because the crystal structure and physical characteristics of the water molecules absorb all of the light spectrum except blue. The ice reflects back that portion of the light spectrum which constitutes the blue color.

Like rivers, glaciers move down slope under the influence of gravity and flow along the path of least resistance. Although glaciers in the park are now retreating, their ice movement is still down the mountain.

A perfectly smooth landing on the beach.

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