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An introduction (from Alaska)


I’ve been wandering Alaska’s tundra, waters, mountains, and coastlines in all seasons for over 30 years under my own (or dog - mushed for about 10 years) power. This after growing up in the Pacific Northwest followed by 10 years as an Army Paratrooper and a stint as a Military Mountaineering Instructor. I mostly hike with my dog and a big large format camera nowadays (we usually put in 20-50 miles on the weekends in the Chugach - a place we both love), but have sea kayaked, guided ski mountaineering, ski patrolled, climbed, dove cold waters, and mushed dogs pretty regularly over the years.  

I’m not exactly sure what else to put here, except to say, Hi! I look forward to seeing what folks are talking about, and learning or contributing where I can.



“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” -Norman Maclean
8 Replies


Welcome to the community! I recently moved back to Washington state after living in Fairbanks, Alaska for 6 years. Even having been an avid reader of literature about Alaska and believing I was prepared for it, I was completely blown away by the environment there. There really is no place quite like it. I am very much looking forward to reading your advice and stories!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thank you! Lived in Fairbanks for 20 years myself, but now Anchorage. Fairbanks is really something. Love the community there, and will always consider it “home.” 

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” -Norman Maclean

@jwarner thats amazing your packing around a large format camera! I have only gotten to use one once in college. Would love to see some Alaska shots from it! 

Thank you! Gladly! The mountain scene was taken from the side of Jewel Mountain looking towards Crow Pass. The original Iditarod Trail (the one used to supply the Interior, not the dog race) runs along the base of this mountain and through the pass. The Girl Scouts located and cleared it in 1970s through tough mountain and bear country. Not just cookie sales. 


The second is down in a ravine along Virgin Creek near Girdwood, Alaska. Beautiful temperate rainforest in that area. 

Both taken with an Ikeda Anba 4X5 camera built in the early ‘70s on Ilford Delta 100 Professional 4X5 negatives and home developed in HC-110 developer. 


Crow Pass from Jewel MountainCrow Pass from Jewel MountainVirgin Creek near Girdwood, AlaskaVirgin Creek near Girdwood, Alaska

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” -Norman Maclean

These are beautiful @jwarner! I love the look of film there’s just something about it! I have been shooting mostly on 35mm but once I can find a good deal on a large format I’d love to try it out!

Been trying to do a few hikes this summer, went to Eagle/Symphony Lakes last weekend, and it was amazing.  Looked up hike to Jewel Lake and thinking I may need to wait a bit on this one. Thanks for your photos!

Welcome aboard, from a cheechako.  We went up there back in 1975;  stayed until 1980 (I think).  Got my first degree from U of A, Anchorage.  My grandmother (mother's side) went up there in 1948.  Sometimes, I really miss Alaska.

Retired medical technologist and engineer
REI member since 1978
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Beautiful!!  It looks a bit different than where I am in Florida. Welcome and thanks for the photos.