Jacob W. Frank Photography: Blog https://www.jwfrank.com/blog en-us (C) Jacob W. Frank [email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) Mon, 25 Sep 2023 05:50:00 GMT Mon, 25 Sep 2023 05:50:00 GMT https://www.jwfrank.com/img/s/v-12/u749270601-o621644733-50.jpg Jacob W. Frank Photography: Blog https://www.jwfrank.com/blog 120 73 Yellowstone's Thorofare Valley https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/9/thorofare We just got back from our 6-day, 78-mile trip into Yellowstone's Thorofare. It's touted as the most remote location in the contiguous 48 states. There are three trails that lead you to the area starting in the park, and the shortest trail is about 32 miles one way. This is the longest trip, both in duration and length that I have ever done. 

After years of talking about it, and then six months of planning it, the week finally arrived. The weather looked clear but windy for the first few days, then starting to deteriorate after that. Our plan was to catch a shuttle across the lake to Terrace Point, then hike south into the Thorofare and back to our car at the South Entrance via the South Boundary Trail. Here's how it went.

Day 1: 12.5 miles, 1,415 ft elevation gain

We loaded up our gear on the boat and set off from Bridge Bay Marina. After about 30 min on the water, that "clear but windy" weather made it clear to us that we weren't getting across the lake today. So after turning around we debated our options back on shore. We decided that we wanted to take shuttles/hitchhiking out of the equation, so we changed our itinerary and would hike in and out via the South Boundary Trail. That means our 55-mile trip would now be closer to 80.

By the time we made it back to the South Entrance and set off, it was 1pm. We forded a clear Snake River and hiked through a mostly nondescript landscape for the first 6 miles. Eventually we reached an open meadow where we met up with the Snake River again and Snake Hot Springs.

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Eventually we came across our second and last river crossing for the day. We took a break along the river before hiking the final two miles to our camp.

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Day 2: 12.25 miles, 3,001 ft elevation gain

With our late arrival in camp the night before, we didn't get hiking until about 9am. Today was supposed to be the most challenging day of the trip. The hike over Big Game Ridge takes you in and out of the park and offers views all directions when you're over 10,000 ft elevation. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky, which also meant that we were exposed. 
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Eventually we gained enough elevation where we could see the Tetons to the south starting to rise up from the hills.

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Once we gained the ridge, the views of the Grand and the entire Teton Range were spectacular.

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We continued along the ridge with more spectacular views to the north and east, including Heart and Yellowstone lakes, the Absaroka Range, and even Electric Peak.

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Just before we started to descend, we decided to grab lunch with a good view.

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Eventually we made it off Big Game Ridge and were back to another crossing of the Snake River, just before we reached our spot for the night.

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Day 3: 14.25 miles, 2,202 ft elevation gain

I woke up with a sore hip flexor, which isn't uncommon for me when backpacking. When we set off it took a little adjusting to get my pack in a comfortable spot. After walking for about 5 minutes, my hip/leg muscles were tighter than I thought. I stretched for 10 minutes, and I realized that my hip felt fine as long as I didn't have my pack's hip belt on tight. It was great I figured that out, but not great to realize that I was going to have to hike the day with a pack without using my hip belt.

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We gained our way through the woods and eventually to Mariposa Lake.

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As we continued east, we started to descend along Lynx Creek. There were many small water and bog crossings. In the mud we started seeing lots of bear tracks, both big and small, black and grizzly. At one point along the trail while making noise, we both were hit with the smell of a rotting carcass. We both immediately picked up the pace until we were out of the area and could no longer see any tracks. (More on this during the following day)

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After about mile nine we could finally see the mountains to the east of the Thorofare Valley. 

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At mile 10 we made our way to the valley floor and stopped to rest before we had to ford the Yellowstone.

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After scouting a few options, we found a good spot to ford that was only over our knees.

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After a few more miles we finally made it to our destination, the Thorofare Ranger Station. We had seen photos of it, but it was pretty cool to see in person. We also explored the barn and the most remote outhouse. 

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We hung out on the porch, reading the visitor log of those who made the trek before us, waiting for the sun to set.

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Day 4: 14.25 miles, 2,340 ft elevation gain

Now that we had hike the 39 miles to get out here, we were only half way. In our initial plan we were supposed to have a layover day in the Thorofare, but with the new itinerary we would be hiking every day. So we woke up early so we could take in the sunrise before starting our 14 mile day. This morning I noticed that in addition to my hip, my achilles was swollen and it was hard to get my boot on. No biggie, we only had 39 miles to go. Corrie offered to take extra weight and put me on the "mountain skittles" (ibuprofen) regimen to keep the swelling down.

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We hiked back across the valley taking in the views, which were spectacular.

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On our way back across the Yellowstone, the wind had died down from the previous afternoon so much that we were greeted to a nice reflection.

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I mentioned earlier that the previous day we had hiked near a carcass on the trail. On our way back through we were expecting to come across the same smell but didn't. So our guess is that it wasn't a carcass, but more likely a bear that we hiked past. Bears, especially grizzlies, can be very smelly. Since we were seeing lots of tracks and scat in the area where the smell was, and there was no smell the following day, we think there was probably a bear in the area. Eventually we made the climb back out of Lynx Creek to our camp, where we could see tomorrow's objective, Big Game Ridge, rising above the trees in front of us.

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Day 5: 12.25 miles, 2,438 ft elevation gain

We had another early morning and took in the sunrise again. Achilles still swollen, we set out.

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We crossed back over the Snake River and made our way up Big Game Ridge as the clouds slowly started to build.

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This time our views at the top were obscured from a low cloud ceiling. We could see Yellowstone Lake but not the Teton Range. Just as we were finished eating lunch, we heard our first roll of thunder. We packed up and kept heading west.

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Just as we got off the ridge the rain started...and it didn't really stop until we made it back to the car the following day.

Day 6: 12.5 miles, 698 ft elevation gain

This day I only took one photo since it was raining all day. But as we made it back to Snake Hot Springs, it was too pretty to not take my camera out. The cold temps had caused the hot spring to steam.

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The last six miles of the trip was through a flooded trail and deep mud. We called it the "swamp of sorrow" and occasionally felt the need to yell "Artax!!!" After getting home and googling it, I realize that it's actually the "swamp of sadness." When we finally made it to the final crossing of the Snake, we didn't even bother changing shoes. We were covered in mud up to our knees, so we took the opportunity to use the crossing to wash all the mud off.

The trip was a lot of type-2 fun, but now that we are on the couch eating homemade muffins and looking at photos, we can look back on the tip and say it was a good time!


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[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) backpacking Big fall Game hiking Hot National Park Ridge River Snake Springs Thorofare Wyoming Yellowstone https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/9/thorofare Fri, 08 Sep 2023 19:10:15 GMT
Lady of the Lake Trail to Aero Lakes https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/8/aero-lakes Aero Lakes has been on our list since 2018. For whatever reason, it didn’t line up for us to put on the books until last year, 2022. In June there was the flood and access was difficult so we pushed it to this summer. Then the weekend we were supposed to do it, it was like 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms so we pushed it back one final time. 

We started from the Lady of the Lakes upper TH and set off for a camp spot at Upper Aero Lake. The trail was mostly through the forest with occasional views along the Zimmer River.

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Once we crossed the river, the trail gains about 1,000 feet in a mile as you approach Lower Aero Lake.

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Near the foot of the lake, the trail turns into more of a route as you navigate around the lake.

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Our plan was to camp at the upper lake, but we were starting to get tired and it was nearing dinner time. So once we made it to the head of the lower lake, we decided to see if we could find a nice camp spot, which we did. The spot came with views of two waterfalls and a reflection pond with a backdrop of Mount Villard.

Once the tent was up, we cracked our beers and went for a swim, then made dinner as the sun dipped below the horizon.

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The next morning I woke up to some spectacular scenery. The wind had died down and the sun was just starting to come up.

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After taking in the sunrise, we ate breakfast and headed out for our layover day. The plan was to head to the upper lake, and both saddles between Rough and Sky Top lakes.

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Once we made it to the pass above Sky Top Lakes, we decided to eat lunch and take in the views of Montana’s tallest mountain, Granite Peak. The wind picked up and the clouds started to build, so we decided to head back to camp.

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The hike out was a little windy, but our packs were lighter and the views were incredible with blue skies.

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We really enjoyed this area and it seems that there is a ton to explore. We were happy with our camp spot and we could stay in the same location for a whole week and do different day hikes each day. Here is the profile from the trip in one direction to our highest point.

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Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the photos!

[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) Aero backpacking beartooth forest hiking Lake Montana mountains national https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/8/aero-lakes Fri, 18 Aug 2023 17:04:58 GMT
Yellowstone Sky Rim Trail https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/8/sky-rim-trail Backpacking trip #2 of 2023 is complete! The Sky Rim Trail has been on our list since 2018. We had plans in place in 2019, but the week we were supposed to go I was injured and needed surgery. So we were excited when we saw that the weather was predicting clear skies for the weekend. We started our big day early in the morning, and decided to do the loop counter clockwise. We were on the fence about which way to go, but we decided to do the uphill through the trees in the coolest part of the day. We made our way through the fields of delphinium, filtered water, and filled up our packs because the Sky Rim is without water. With our packs full of water, we hiked through the subalpine forest and the hillsides of heartleaf arnica until we reached the tundra of the alpine.

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The Black Butte Trail eventually hooks up with the Sky Rim Trail, where we would be on the boundary of Yellowstone and Custer Gallatin National Forest for the next 5+ miles. We decided to hike the ridge over to Wickiup (or Bighorn Peak depending on which map you look at) to take in the views and drink our summit sodas at just a bit under 10K ft. The flanks of the peak offer dramatic views with interesting geology. This area of the park and forest is also where many petrified trees are found. From the peak we were able to check out views into Paradise Valley and Gallatin River Canyon. 

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After our snacks and refreshments, we headed back to the Black Butte Trail junction to continue the hike. We assumed that once you gained all of the elevation by hiking in the direction we did, that the remaining portion of the trail would be relatively downhill and/or flat. That assumption was a bad one! There was a significant amount of downhill, but it was immediately followed by more uphill. With all the ups and downs, we climbed nearly a vertical mile in addition to the huge distance we traveled.

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In between the steep ups and downs, there was the occasional flat sections of trail with expansive views off the trail in both directions.

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The day was hot and the trail is exposed, so we decided to take a break in the shade and grab some snacks. As we ate we realized that we sat in the middle of an archaeological site full of lithic scatter. It's likely that the same reason we rested here, is the same reason that American Indians did also: shelter from the wind and sun and spectacular views in all directions. It appears they sat here crafting their stone tools, presumably watching for wildlife.

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About the midway on the trail between the Daly Creek and Black Butte, directly above Tom Miner Basin, we started hiking my favorite section of the trail. The ridge walk was relatively flat and the views are spectacular.

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As the day went on we started running low on water and regulating our temps were getting challenging without any shade. So when we found a small patch of snow we took full advantage to cool off before continuing along.

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Eventually we came across the Daly Creek Trail junction and started our descent. This is also about the time that we ran out of water.

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Eventually we made it back to the creek where we filtered water and cooled off in the shade. The bugs were fierce, and we weren't the only ones who thought hanging by the water was a good idea on this hot day.

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Here is the profile of the hike. It was a haul, but I think it would be much more enjoyable if we did it again in the fall when the temps are cooler and the bugs are gone. Overall, the Sky Rim is probably my favorite trail in Yellowstone to date. Our to-do list of trails is still long, but if you're into mountains and big views, I would highly recommend this trail. Make sure to bring a filter and lots of bottles to hold water. Thanks for reading, cheers!

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[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) backpacking hiking montana mountains National Park Skyrim Yellowstone https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/8/sky-rim-trail Sat, 05 Aug 2023 18:08:19 GMT
Elbow Lake 2023 https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/7/elbow-lake-MT We kicked off our backcountry season this year (July 7-9) with a new spot for us, Elbow Lake. Our friends who had been before all had great things to say. Here are my favorite photos from the trip, enjoy!

We started off early to beat the heat since it was going to be uphill the entire 8 miles to the lake. There was plenty of water for the dogs along the way which was great.

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Once we started to climb out of the forest, the views of the valley keep getting better and better. The wildflowers were great, but I think we missed the peak of the balsam root by a few days.

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With breaks and lunch, it took us about 6 hours to climb the 3,400 ft and 8 miles with full packs. When we arrived, we were the only people at the lake. We picked a spot to throw up our tents, made dinner, and watched the sunset while enjoying hot apple cider and bourbon.

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The following morning we woke up at sunrise to a completely still lake. We made coffee and breakfast along the shore and watched the light slowly creep down the face of the giant granite walls. There are a few lakes in the basins above Elbow Lake, and our plan for our layover day was to explore the basin to the east of Cowen.

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We started to pick our way up through the boulders and along the creek between the two lakes.

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After taking in the views along the upper lake, we decided to hike up to the ridge for our turnaround spot.

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It was a spectacular day in the mountains. The weather held out all day and we were able to swim back at Elbow Lake before the sun dipped behind the ridge. Around that same time another group of friends showed up in time to eat dinner with us. At sunset we started a fire and passed around the bourbon until it was gone. A great end to an even better day.

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The next morning we were treated to another great sunrise. We ate breakfast while our gear dried out in the morning sun. Eventually we packed up and headed back to the car.

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Overall we had a blast, and it's likely that this will turn into a yearly visit. There are a ton of areas to explore above the lake, so each visit can be a little different. I think a push for the Cowen summit is also likely in the future. Here's the profile of our trip including the layover day, from the trailhead to the highest point we reached. 

Screen Shot 2023-07-16 at 7.44.24 AMScreen Shot 2023-07-16 at 7.44.24 AM

Thanks for dropping in, Cheers!


[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) Backpacking Custer Elbow Forest Gallatin Lake Montana National summer https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/7/elbow-lake-MT Sat, 29 Jul 2023 13:42:24 GMT
Exploring Oregon Caves, Redwoods, Lava Beds, and Tule Lake National Parks https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/7/Southern-OR-Northern-Ca Been a while since I've written one of these. Thanks for stopping by!

My wife and I recently visited Oregon Caves, Redwoods, Lava Beds, and Tule Lake. It was our first visit to all the parks. We flew into Medford, excited to leave the airport, shop, and immediately head to Oregon Caves to camp in their campground. When our bags didn't arrive, we called an audible and rented a hotel in town while we waited for our camping gear and clothes to arrive. Not gonna lie, showering and sleeping in a bed after a day of stressful traveling was welcome.

Oregon Caves National Monument

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We hit the road the following morning and stopped at the visitor center in Cave Junction so I could pick up a junior ranger booklet and map of the park. We tried to do some reading as we drove up to the park, but the road is scenic and winding. We arrived early for our cave tour, so we walked around and checkout out the exterior of their historic lodge, which was unfortunately closed for renovations.

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We made our way through the cave in about 90 minutes on a guided ranger tour. The cave is made of marble, apparently only one of three in the US. The other two caves are in Sequoia and Great Basin national parks. There are a few grand rooms, but a majority of the cave is tight quarters, and the secondary formations are not as intricate as other limestone caves like Carlsbad Caverns. We hiked a short trail to warm up after the cave tour and headed on to Redwoods. We would have stayed longer, but the off-trail cave tours had yet to start for the season. A reason to return!

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Once we got out of the cave we hike up to check out the view from the Cliff Trail.

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Redwoods National and State Parks

We camped in Jed Smith Campground for three nights. The first day we kayaked the Smith River where we saw a family of river otters eating a lamprey, plus lots of new birds for us, including a black-crowned night heron eating a salamander. Our goal was to kayak the river to the ocean, but as we neared the estuary, the tide started coming in and the wind started howling. If we stopped paddling full speed, we started moving upriver. We tried to get out of the wind on the other side of the river, but the waves were cresting over our bows, so we bailed back to the other side of the river and let the wind blow us on shore. We used our map to find an alternate take out and had the shuttle meet us there. Once we were out of the water, I was able to confirm that there was a hole in my boat, which was causing me to drag. Needless to say, we were excited to be out of the water after that adventure.

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Back on dry land we headed to the campground where the park was hosting a Tribal (Tolowa) event on the shore of the Smith River. They roasted salmon by fire on redwood spears and made sand bread in the pebbles heated from a fire. The Tribe was also shaping a kayak from a redwood log and teaching the public about the cultural significance. After a short speech and prayer from a Tribal leader, we all ate together on the shore of the Smith River. It was a pretty spectacular event.

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After the event we explored the groves, Stout and Titan. The Stout Grove is one of the most iconic groves, where Star Wars was filmed.

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The Titan Grove is accessed by a brand-new trail and boardwalk system.

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The Following day we headed south to hike the James Irvine / Fern Canyon / Gold Bluffs loop. The hike is about 12 miles and leads you through multiple ecosystems as you make your way through the forest to the coast and back. Near the coast is the popular Fern Canyon, which is basically the only place we encountered any people, other than a few groups hiking the whole trail with us.

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Our final morning, we got up early for sunrise because it was our only opportunity for tide pooling. We drove out and hiked down to Endert's Beach where we explored sea arches, sea stars, anemone, birds, and a dead seal being scavenged by a turkey vulture. This was my first time exploring tide pools, it was a lot of fun to try and find interesting shots while dodging the incoming tide.

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After the tide pools we headed back to camp to pack up and head to Lava Beds.

Lava Beds National Monument

We arrived just in time to grab one of the last remaining campsites. We shared it with a nesting Bullock's oriole pair and a few other new birds for us. After dinner we went out for sunset. We had beautiful views of Mount Shasta and learned about the Modoc Indians of the area.

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The next morning, I woke up early with the sunrise and went for a little walk from the campground. We made coffee and we set out early to hike to the off-trail caves. We explored the lava tubes and pictographs, found new birds, and explored our favorite cave of the park, Golden Dome. It has a bacteria that shines gold with a headlamp. We spent the heat of the day underground until our tent received shade from the nearby tree in our camp spot.

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Back at camp we took naps, made dinner, and set out again for sunset. This time we planned to hit nearby wildlife refuges for birding and also catch the sunset at Petroglyph Point. The Tule Lake area used to be completely underwater and was drained for farming. This rock was once surrounded by water and Modoc Indians would float out to it and leave their mark. It's one of the highest concentration of petroglyphs in the US. The refuges are now in place to make up for the lost aquatic habitat lost when the lake was drained. On the way out we came across a rattlesnake in the road, saw tons of nighthawks, and had it essentially all to ourselves. We were able to stop in the road for photos whenever we saw a bird or other wildlife.

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Tule Lake National Monument

Before heading back to the airport, we took a tour at the new Tule Lake National Monument. They have a brand new visitor center that gives tours of the only building left of the Tule Lake Segregation Center, the prison. We were both fairly unfamiliar with the story of the relocation centers, and the tour did a great job of exposing us to another harrowing story of the history of America.

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I enjoyed visiting all the parks, but I have to say that Lava Beds and Tule Lake were the standouts for their natural and cultural resources, respectively. Carlsbad Caverns really got me interested in cave parks, especially those with off-trail caves, and Tule Lake has such a powerful story.

If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time and I'll be sure to share more blogs this summer as we have some cool upcoming trips planned!

[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) and Beds Caves Lake Lava Monument National Oregon Park Redwoods River Smith State Tule https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2023/7/Southern-OR-Northern-Ca Sat, 01 Jul 2023 23:33:00 GMT
The Land Down Under https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2019/10/the-land-down-under I've been wanting to visit Australia for a while, but when we found out our friends from Melbourne were getting ready to move, we figured it was time to finally pull the trigger. We took off on Friday night and landed on Sunday morning. Our friend's picked us up at the airport and took us to their place downtown. We spent the day exploring, snacking, and bar hopping, trying to stay up as late as possible to avoid jet lag. The following day we jumped in the car and headed west to the Great Ocean Road. On the way through Great Otway National Park we saw our first wildlife sighting: a koala was walking across the road. We couldn't tell what is was at first, but when we finally realized what it was, I screamed to pull the car over and jumped out of a quick photo.

Koala climbing a treeKoala climbing a tree Koala checking us out through the treeKoala checking us out through the tree

When we stopped for a coffee and a bathroom break, there were crazy birds we've never seen before. You'll notice a lot of bird photos throughout this blog.

Masked Lapwing - Vanellus milesMasked Lapwing - Vanellus miles Galah Cockatoo - Eolophus roseicapillaGalah Cockatoo - Eolophus roseicapilla Silver Gulls - Chroicocephalus novaehollandiaeSilver Gulls - Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae White-faced heron - Egretta novaehollandiaeWhite-faced heron - Egretta novaehollandiae

Eventually we made it to our destination for the day: Twelve Apostles Marine National Park. It was a beautiful sunny day when we arrived. We explored the boardwalks and trails until we saw a big storm cell coming in off the ocean.

Afternoon sunshine at Twelve Apostles (wide)Afternoon sunshine at Twelve Apostles (wide) Afternoon sunshine at Twelve ApostlesAfternoon sunshine at Twelve Apostles Waves crashing into the Twelve ApostlesWaves crashing into the Twelve Apostles Twelvele Apostles alternate viewTwelvele Apostles alternate view Arch at twelve apostlesArch at twelve apostles

Our next big exploration day we headed out to Dandenong Ranges National Park. As soon as we got our of the car we were surrounded by exotic birds. Super colorful birds that you only see as pets in the states were all around us. We spent the day hiking through the forest, looking for birds, kangaroos, and wombats. Sadly, we never saw a wombat, only the square poops they left behind.

The sun shines through the DandenongsThe sun shines through the Dandenongs Crimson Rosella Parrot - Platycercus elegansCrimson Rosella Parrot - Platycercus elegans Sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) in flightSulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) in flight Grey Fantail - Rhipidura albiscapaGrey Fantail - Rhipidura albiscapa Australian King Parrot - Alisterus scapularisAustralian King Parrot - Alisterus scapularis Superb lyrebird - Menura novaehollandiaeSuperb lyrebird - Menura novaehollandiae Laughing Kookaburra - Dacelo novaeguineaeLaughing Kookaburra - Dacelo novaeguineae Sulphur-crested cockatoo - Cacatua galeritaSulphur-crested cockatoo - Cacatua galerita Yellow wattlebird - Anthochaera paradoxaYellow wattlebird - Anthochaera paradoxa Pied Currawong (2) - Strepera graculinaPied Currawong (2) - Strepera graculina Eastern Yellow Robin - Eopsaltria australisEastern Yellow Robin - Eopsaltria australis Long-billed Corellas - Cacatua tenuirostrisLong-billed Corellas - Cacatua tenuirostris

When we were't doing trips our of the city, we would hit up the city parks. A super cool spot was the Royal Botanic Gardens. Lots of cool plants and birds to check out including my favorite bird of the trip, the Rainbow Lorikeet.

Rainbow Lorikeet - Trichoglossus moluccanusRainbow Lorikeet - Trichoglossus moluccanus Nymphaea LilyNymphaea Lily Pied Currawong - Strepera graculinaPied Currawong - Strepera graculina South Australia state flower - Sturt's Desert Pea - Swainsona formosaSouth Australia state flower - Sturt's Desert Pea - Swainsona formosa Rat Tail CactusRat Tail Cactus

Another great day in the city day we jumped on the tram and headed to St. Kilda Pier. We were hoping to get a glance at the smallest penguin species in the world: the fairy penguin. We found out that during the day they head out into the open water to hunt so we didn't have much luck. But after looking in the jetti rocks we found one hanging out in the shade. As we were walking back from the pier we did catch a glimpse of one fishing. They are awesome swimmers and extremely hard to get photos of them. The other cool species we saw was the arctic tern. We had previously seen this bird in Alaska and Iceland, but always cool to see it in an entirely different place.

Fairy penguin - Eudyptula minorFairy penguin - Eudyptula minor Fishing Fairy Penguin - Eudyptula minorFishing Fairy Penguin - Eudyptula minor Fishing Fairy Penguin (2)Fishing Fairy Penguin (2) Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) with Melbourne SkylineArctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) with Melbourne Skyline Arctic Tern in flight - Sterna paradisaeaArctic Tern in flight - Sterna paradisaea

The Australian Grand Prix was happening while we were in Melbourne, so we couldn't explore Albert Park until after the race. We hit a couple jogs around the lake and saw so many birds that we grabbed our cameras and went back just to take some photos. It's so cool that in such a big city there is so much green space for wildlife. Our friends are big birders, but by the end of the trip we had them sending us cool bird spottings.

White-faced heron hunting - Egretta novaehollandiaeWhite-faced heron hunting - Egretta novaehollandiae Australasian swamphen - Porphyrio melanotusAustralasian swamphen - Porphyrio melanotus Blue-billed duck on Albert Park Lake - Oxyura australisBlue-billed duck on Albert Park Lake - Oxyura australis Crested Pigeons - Ocyphaps lophotesCrested Pigeons - Ocyphaps lophotes Black Swan on Albert Park Lake - Cygnus atratusBlack Swan on Albert Park Lake - Cygnus atratus Black Swan - Cygnus atratusBlack Swan - Cygnus atratus Pied Stilt reflections - Himantopus leucocephalusPied Stilt reflections - Himantopus leucocephalus Red-rumped parrot - Psephotus haematonotusRed-rumped parrot - Psephotus haematonotus Crested PigeonsCrested Pigeons Pacific black duckPacific black duck Australasian swamphen - Porphyrio melanotusAustralasian swamphen - Porphyrio melanotus

The last of the things we saw around Melboure was heading out to Fort Nepean. We explored the fort and saw an echidna. What cool little critters.

Fort NepeanFort Nepean Short-beaked Echidna - Tachyglossus aculeatus aculeatusShort-beaked Echidna - Tachyglossus aculeatus aculeatus

We spent two weeks in Oz, and for the middle weekend we decided to fly out to Adilaide and take the boat to Kangaroo Island.

Gohana on the side of the roadGohana on the side of the road Koala resting in a treeKoala resting in a tree Jewel Spider and webJewel Spider and web Black swans, Australian Shelducks, banded stilts, and eurasian coots at Murray LakeBlack swans, Australian Shelducks, banded stilts, and eurasian coots at Murray Lake

When we are on the island we headed out to Seal Bay Conservation Park and took a tour out to the beach to see the Australian Sea Lions.

Australian sea lion yawningAustralian sea lion yawning Australian sea lions nappingAustralian sea lions napping Australian sea lionsAustralian sea lions Males sea lions sparring at Seal BeachMales sea lions sparring at Seal Beach Australian sea lion sleepyAustralian sea lion sleepy Australian sea lion in the surfAustralian sea lion in the surf Australian Sea Lions snugglingAustralian Sea Lions snuggling Seal Beach, Kangaroo Island panoramaSeal Beach, Kangaroo Island panorama Whale bones on the beachWhale bones on the beach

The other day on the island we headed out to Flinder's Chase National Park and hit a few trails. The first was out to Admiral's Arch where we saw a few New Zealand Fur Seals.

Cape du Couedic lighthouseCape du Couedic lighthouse Souther Ocean from Flinders Chase National ParkSouther Ocean from Flinders Chase National Park Overlooking the Great Australian BightOverlooking the Great Australian Bight Southern Ocean tidal zone in Flinders Chase National ParkSouthern Ocean tidal zone in Flinders Chase National Park Admiral's Arch in Flinders Chase National ParkAdmiral's Arch in Flinders Chase National Park New Zealand fur seal on the rocks in Flinders Chase National ParkNew Zealand fur seal on the rocks in Flinders Chase National Park New Zealand fur seal pupNew Zealand fur seal pup

Then we explored Remarkable Rocks.

Overlooking Remarkable RocksOverlooking Remarkable Rocks Remarkable Rocks indeed.Remarkable Rocks indeed. Remarkable Rocks indeed (2)Remarkable Rocks indeed (2) Remarkable Rocks indeed (3)Remarkable Rocks indeed (3) Remarkable Rocks indeed (4)Remarkable Rocks indeed (4)

After grabbing a snack we headed out on the Platypus Waterholes Walk. Since it was the dry season, the chances of seeing a platypus were extremely low but we rolled the dice anyway. No platypi, but we did see a goanna and cool birds. 

Goanna in Flinders Chase National ParkGoanna in Flinders Chase National Park New Holland Honeyeater (2) - Phylidonyris novaehollandiaeNew Holland Honeyeater (2) - Phylidonyris novaehollandiae White-faced heronWhite-faced heron

Since the weather was still nice we decided to hit a short walk along the Heritage Walk Trail. We wouldn't have picked this hike as a top pick since it's was only about a mile long, but we hit the motherlode of animals. On this short trail we saw wallabies, koalas, kangaroos, more birds, and an extended interaction with an echidna looking for food. It was definitely the highlight of the trip.

Wallaby blepWallaby blep Wallaby sitting under a treeWallaby sitting under a tree Splendid Fairywren - Malurus splendensSplendid Fairywren - Malurus splendens Kangaroo Island Short-beaked Echidna walking through duff - Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatusKangaroo Island Short-beaked Echidna walking through duff - Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatus Kangaroo Island Short-beaked Echidna - Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatusKangaroo Island Short-beaked Echidna - Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatus Koala in Flinders Chase National ParkKoala in Flinders Chase National Park Scarlet Robin - Petroica boodangScarlet Robin - Petroica boodang Australian Magpie Portrait - Cracticus tibicenAustralian Magpie Portrait - Cracticus tibicen Grey Kangaroo on Kangaroo IslandGrey Kangaroo on Kangaroo Island Cape Barren Geese - Cereopsis novaehollandiaeCape Barren Geese - Cereopsis novaehollandiae Kangaroo SunningKangaroo Sunning Moon through the gum treesMoon through the gum trees

Not pictured in the blog were all the great restaurants, dessert shops, bars, cafes, night tours, and DRT (designated rest time) naps we had. It was really awesome to visit a city with personal tour guides. City traveling is not usually what we set out to do, but it was a great change of pace. It was also great spending time with friends and catching up. What I also learned about OZ is that it's big: about the size of the US. So that means there's much more to see and do. We have some other places we want to visit in the short-run while we can still hike and backpack, but I definitely think we will be back in the area again. We also have to hit New Zealand and Tasmania. Standard: cross one thing off your travel list and then add two more.

I hope y'all are doing well, we're getting ready for winter here in Montana.


[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2019/10/the-land-down-under Sun, 27 Oct 2019 20:33:25 GMT
Climbing the Grand https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2019/10/climbing-the-grand Have you ever had an idea or goal that you always wanted to accomplish, but life kinda got in the way? Or maybe the idea was was a little too big and you just wrote it off as a pipe dream? Well that goal for me was climbing Grand Teton. When I moved to Jackson in the winter of 2008 it was my first time living in the mountains. I’d never been hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing, or anything outdoorsy other than car camping, really. That winter living in the mountains set me on a different path though. I knew that’s where I wanted to be, even though I was a fish out of water. When I left Jackson that spring and drove back to Florida, I remember visiting the park one last time for sunrise and thinking how awesome it would be to experience standing on top of that mountain.

During the 11 years that followed I slowly picked up more outdoor skills as I traveled the US: hiking, backpacking, climbing, and caving. Then last winter my buddy Chris got into mountaineering and asked if I’d be interested in joining him on an expedition. "Hell no... but I have always wanted to climb the Grand.” So, over [one too many] beers @cmferrante, @andyustinphoto, and I agreed that we would make a run at it this summer. 

The day had finally arrived. The plan had us hiking to the Lower Saddle to camp, summit, and then hike out. The advice we got for the approach was to start early, hike slowly, and enjoy the views. So the night before we packed our bags, divided up my extra weight I couldn’t carry (I HAD A DOCTOR”S NOTE GUYS), and loaded up the POWERWAGON!!! We arrived at the trailhead, moved the coolers into the cab of the truck, and vowed to return a few days later to consume the contents in celebration. We were off.

20190723-jwf-008320190723-jwf-0083 20190723-jwf-010620190723-jwf-0106NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-011620190723-jwf-0116NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-016520190723-jwf-0165NPS / Jacob W. Frank

We slowly made our way through the meadow, up the foothills, stopping often to drink water and eat snacks. A few weeks earlier, when I found out I needed surgery, I called the team and gave them the opportunity to back out. Both said as long as I felt good enough to hike that they were in to carry the extra weight. Since my pack was only supposed to be 25 lbs, that meant Chris and Andy were carrying close to 60-65, even though I was over my limit. So it was definitely slow going.

20190723-jwf-017120190723-jwf-0171NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-019120190723-jwf-0191NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-022020190723-jwf-0220NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-023120190723-jwf-0231NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Eventually we made it into Garnett Canyon where the trees and grasses were replaced with granite walls. The trail also petered out and became more uneven. We made our way through boulders, over moraines, across snowfields, along waterfalls, and up scree, until we reached the crux of the hike known as the “headwall.”

20190723-jwf-025620190723-jwf-0256NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-028120190723-jwf-0281NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-028420190723-jwf-0284NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-029220190723-jwf-0292NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-030620190723-jwf-0306NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-031020190723-jwf-0310NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-032920190723-jwf-0329NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190723-jwf-033420190723-jwf-0334

Once we all made it safely up we felt a single drop of rain, so I suggested we duck under a nearby glacial erratic to let the storm pass. Our timing couldn’t have been better. For the next 30 or so minutes it hailed nearly 2”, then rained, then hailed some more. It was a perfect opportunity to grab more snacks and watch and listen to the lightning and thunder roll over our heads. Once the storm passed we were greeted with a spectacular double rainbow.

20190723-jwf-034020190723-jwf-0340 20190723-jwf-036020190723-jwf-0360 20190723-jwf-036920190723-jwf-0369 20190723-jwf-037320190723-jwf-0373

The last 10 minute push and we arrived at the Lower Saddle. We filtered water, made dinner, drank whiskey, watched the sunset, and studied the route we planned to tackle in the morning.

20190723-jwf-038620190723-jwf-0386 20190723-jwf-039520190723-jwf-0395 20190723-jwf-040120190723-jwf-0401 20190723-jwf-040620190723-jwf-0406 20190723-jwf-042420190723-jwf-0424

I went to bed nervous, doubts were flowing through my head. I wasn’t sure if I was healthy enough to climb. It’s the first time in a long time that I thought I may have been in over my head. The next day we woke up to strong winds and rain. Since our permit allowed us more time, we decided to take a layover day and not push for the summit. We checked the weather for the following day and it called for clear skies. So we just hung out in camp for the day and took in the windy views.

20190724-jwf-046120190724-jwf-0461NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190724-jwf-055220190724-jwf-0552NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190724-jwf-059820190724-jwf-0598NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190724-jwf-060220190724-jwf-0602NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Eventually the clouds parted and we were greeted to a spectacular sunset. I took the time to get Chris a new Tinder photo.

20190724-jwf-065720190724-jwf-0657NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190724-jwf-064320190724-jwf-0643NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190724-jwf-067720190724-jwf-0677NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190724-jwf-068020190724-jwf-0680NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190724-jwf-070020190724-jwf-0700NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190724-jwf-077520190724-jwf-0775NPS / Jacob W. Frank

The next day my alarm went off at 3:30 am. Coffee and breakfast by headlamps. My nerves were on edge as we watched the guided teams leave one by one ahead of us. We filtered water, loaded up our gear, and I made sure we each had our summit soda for the top. As we picked our way through the route it was slow going. I read the route enough times that everything was memorized, but doing it in the dark was challenging. Black Dyke, check. Chockstone chimney, check. Eye of the Needle, check. Just as we made it to the Central Rib I looked back to check on the guys. The beautiful pink light that hits the mountains first thing in the morning was here, and it wasn’t thousands of feet above us, but below us, enveloping the Middle Teton. 

20190725-jwf-079120190725-jwf-0791NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-080620190725-jwf-0806NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-082220190725-jwf-0822NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-082720190725-jwf-0827NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-083120190725-jwf-0831NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-084120190725-jwf-0841NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-084520190725-jwf-0845NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-084920190725-jwf-0849NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-085620190725-jwf-0856NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-086620190725-jwf-0866NPS / Jacob W. Frank
Once we gained the Upper Saddle Chris took over. He had been training for weeks for this moment: his first lead climb. Pitch after pitch, Chris led us through icy chimneys until we arrived at the final slabs.

20190725-jwf-087020190725-jwf-0870NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-087520190725-jwf-0875NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-087720190725-jwf-0877NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-087920190725-jwf-0879NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-088120190725-jwf-0881NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-088320190725-jwf-0883NPS / Jacob W. Frank

As we gained the summit ridge I was overwhelmed with emotions I haven’t felt many times in my life: the first time I saw Denali or Halema’uma’u under the Milky Way, flying over Glacier, and watching my wife walk down the aisle. As we took in the cloudless views from the 13,770’ peak, I was covered in goosebumps.

20190725-jwf-093620190725-jwf-0936NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-092220190725-jwf-0922NPS / Jacob W. Frank

As we cracked our beers and toasted the accomplishment, our celebration turned back to focus: we were only halfway.

20190725-jwf-088720190725-jwf-0887NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-089220190725-jwf-0892NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-089320190725-jwf-0893NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-094420190725-jwf-0944NPS / Jacob W. Frank

We picked our way down, rappelled, and scrambled our way back to camp.

20190725-jwf-095120190725-jwf-0951NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-096520190725-jwf-0965NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-099520190725-jwf-0995NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-100020190725-jwf-1000NPS / Jacob W. Frank

We arrived just in time for the best sunset of the trip.

20190725-jwf-100520190725-jwf-1005NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-101720190725-jwf-1017NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190725-jwf-103820190725-jwf-1038NPS / Jacob W. Frank

The following morning we slept in til 8, packed up camp, and hit the trail. I'd like to say our packs felt lighter, but the food weight we carried in was replaced by our crap-filled wag bags. At least the weather was spectacular.

20190726-jwf-105020190726-jwf-1050NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190726-jwf-106620190726-jwf-1066NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190726-jwf-108520190726-jwf-1085NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190726-jwf-109420190726-jwf-1094NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190726-jwf-110720190726-jwf-1107NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190726-jwf-111720190726-jwf-1117NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190726-jwf-112720190726-jwf-1127NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190726-jwf-114020190726-jwf-1140NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190726-jwf-114220190726-jwf-1142NPS / Jacob W. Frank 20190726-jwf-119120190726-jwf-1191

Looking back, I still can’t believed it all happened. Teamwork definitely makes the dream work! Here's to the next adventure!

[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) climbing Grand Lower national Owen parks Saddle Spalding Summit Teton Upper https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2019/10/climbing-the-grand Sun, 20 Oct 2019 00:51:38 GMT
Honeymoon Part 3 of 3: Laugavegur Trail and Blue Lagoon https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2019/9/honeymoon-part-3-of-3-laugavegur-trail-and-blue-lagoon Welcome to the last of the Iceland Honeymoon blog. The off-road bus picked us up in downtown Reykjavik and we were off to Landmannalaugar. The route turned from highway, to dirt road, to what resembled a dirt road, to braided rivers, and riverbed. We arrived to Landmannalaugar, this remote location was a bustling hiker city. I was surprised at the amount of people. When we hiked in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, the few people that we did run into mentioned they noticed a huge difference in the amount of the people between the two locations. We were stoked to get there, but decided to go for a hike and have dinner away from the crowds. When we were eating a group of Icelandic horses rode by. I had a feeling we were in for a great trip.

Horseback ride through the river at LandmannalaugarHorseback ride through the river at Landmannalaugar

Our planned itinerary was as follows:

Day 1: Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker

Day 2: Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn

Day 3: Álftavatn to Emstrur

Day 4: Emstrur to Þórsmörk

It averaged about 9 miles per day which would allow us to arrive at camp early, drop gear, and explore the surrounding area by day hiking.

Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker

Thermals along the Laugavegur TrailThermals along the Laugavegur Trail

Day 1 arrived, which happened to be my birthday, and we woke up to spectacular weather. We wanted to get ahead of the crowds so we got up with the light and were one of the first groups on the trail.

Hikers near a thermal feature on the trailHikers near a thermal feature on the trail Colorful formations near the thermalsColorful formations near the thermals Corrie and colorful formations on the Laugavegur TrailCorrie and colorful formations on the Laugavegur Trail Colorful formations on the Laugavegur TrailColorful formations on the Laugavegur Trail

Immediately we were greeted with spectacular views. Colorful geology and hydrothermal features dotted the landscape. It was a hybrid of Yellowstone and Denali: two of my favorite places.

Morning light on the colorful formations of the Laugavegur TrailMorning light on the colorful formations of the Laugavegur Trail Corrie takes in the views of the thermals along the trailCorrie takes in the views of the thermals along the trail Thermal areas and mountains along the Laugavegur TrailThermal areas and mountains along the Laugavegur Trail Birthday self-portrait along the Laugavegur TrailBirthday self-portrait along the Laugavegur Trail

Around each new bend in the trail was another photo op. Since we only had to do about 9 miles, we were in no hurry. The trail to Hrafntinnusker was uphill and eventually we hit snow fields.

Laugavegur Trail hikerLaugavegur Trail hiker Corrie hikes the trail to HrafntinnuskerCorrie hikes the trail to Hrafntinnusker

Seeing the contrast of white snow and black volcanic sand was pretty awesome.

Corrie hikes the trail to Hrafntinnusker (2)Corrie hikes the trail to Hrafntinnusker (2) Corrie hikes the trail to Hrafntinnusker (3)Corrie hikes the trail to Hrafntinnusker (3)

We arrived to Hrafntinnusker around noon and spirits were high.

Corrie arrives at HrafntinnuskerCorrie arrives at Hrafntinnusker

I went to the warden hut to check in and pay for the night. Just then a winter storm warning came in over the radio. The storm was headed our way on what would be the morning of our third day. The warden recommended pushing on to the next spot because strong winds were expected to arrive before the storm and there was no cover in this location. I went outside and talked it over with Corrie. After some deliberation about our ability to do 18 miles with a full pack in a day, we decided that it was probably best to keep hiking since the days were long and the weather was good. So we ate lunch strapped on our packs and continued along the trail.

Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn

Hikers head to Álftavatn from HrafntinnuskerHikers head to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker Views heading to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (3)Views heading to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (3) Corrie takes in the views along the trail Álftavatn from HrafntinnuskerCorrie takes in the views along the trail Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker Corrie hikes the trail to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (2)Corrie hikes the trail to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (2) Views heading to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (5)Views heading to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (5)

In the 8 or so miles we hiked to get here, the landscape had completely changed. Even though it was late season, there was green vegetation near the melting snowfields. The section was mostly high plateau hiking with views in all directions. I still couldn't believe that there was this much snow in late August. I'm curious what it's like doing this hike early season.

Corrie hikes the trail to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (5)Corrie hikes the trail to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (5) Hikers crossing a snowfiled along the trail to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (2)Hikers crossing a snowfiled along the trail to Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker (2) Corrie hikes the trail to Álftavatn from the passCorrie hikes the trail to Álftavatn from the pass Waterfalls from the pass between Álftavatn from HrafntinnuskerWaterfalls from the pass between Álftavatn from Hrafntinnusker

Eventually we reached the highpoint where we could see our destination: Álftavatn. From here it was all downhill or flat. 

Views along the trail to Álftavatn from the passViews along the trail to Álftavatn from the pass Álftavatn from the passÁlftavatn from the pass

As we descended from the pass, the miles started to take their toll. We needed to stop more frequently for breaks and food.

Corrie hikes the trail dropping down to Álftavatn from the passCorrie hikes the trail dropping down to Álftavatn from the pass   Corrie arrives at ÁlftavatnCorrie arrives at Álftavatn

We made it and were one of the first groups to arrive for the day. We found a nice flat spot to set up our tent and then headed over to the warden hut to celebrate. As we were enjoying our freeze dried dinners, a local guide came over to say hello. He had just finished making Icelandic meat soup (lamb stew) for his guests. He said they had too much and asked if we would like some. I offered him a trade: meat soup for some of the bourbon we brought on the trip. He was more than happy to help lighten our load. As we sat there having second dinner, drinking bourbon, enjoying the birthday Oreos that Corrie packed, it began to lightly rain. We had timed our day perfectly. It was time to hit the sack after 18 miles. We decided that we should get up early, hike to Emstrur, recheck the weather, see how we felt, and make a decision to stay put or to push all the way to Þórsmörk.

Campsite at ÁlftavatnCampsite at Álftavatn

Álftavatn to Emstrur

We woke up around 6 am and the wind had picked up. It had stopped raining so we took advantage of packing our gear when it was still dry. We moved over to the hut, ate breakfast, and the rain began to fall. The low clouds and rain had brought out the vibrant color in the vegetation. Bright green on black soil. This particular stretch would be the longest of the 4 we were covering so we made sure to keep a good pace.

Views between Hvanngil and Emstrur (2)Views between Hvanngil and Emstrur (2) Corrie crossing near HvanngilCorrie crossing near Hvanngil Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from HvanngilCorrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil

After a couple miles the rain stopped and the sun started to poke through the clouds on occasion. Again, this section of the trip was drastically different from the previous two. Black volcanic rocks with green vegetation patches on the steeper hillsides. This section of the trail was also lower in elevation and the rivers were much larger. This allowed us to filter more often so we didn't need to carry as much water.

Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (2)Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (2) Views along the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (2)Views along the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (2) Waterfalls along the trail to Emstrur from HvanngilWaterfalls along the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (3)Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (3) Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (5)Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (5)   Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (6)Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (6) Views along the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (6)Views along the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (6) Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (7)Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (7)

Eventually the clouds raised enough that we were able to see Eyjafjallajökull in the distance. 

Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (8)Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (8)

Just as we were debating whether to stop and each lunch or try to push on to Emstrur, the warden hut came into view in the distance.

Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (9)Corrie on the trail to Emstrur from Hvanngil (9)

Upon arrival we checked in with the warden and the storm was supposed to hit around 10 the following morning. We were pretty exhausted at this point. We figured we should make the call to stay or go after lunch. After going back and forth and chatting with some other hikers, we decided to make some coffee and push on. Again, the weather was on our side at the moment and the days were long. We figured it was better to do the hike tired in good weather versus rested in snow. 

Emstrur to Þórsmörk

Not too long after leaving Emstrur, the landscape changed again. Giant glaciers backdropped the trail and rivers roared through canyons.

Hikers on the trail to Þórsmörk from EmstrurHikers on the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur Corrie on the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (4)Corrie on the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (4) Corrie on the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (5)Corrie on the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (5) Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (4)Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (4) Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (5)Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (5) Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (8)Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (8)

The weather continued to stay dry until we hit mile 15 for the day. We could see the rain in the direction we were headed although it hadn't reached us yet.

Hikers on the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (2)Hikers on the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (2) Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (11)Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (11) Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (14)Views along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (14)

When it did reach us, we decided it was a good time to stop and take a break. We were about 34 miles into the hike with a few more to go, but we were toast. Since we were carrying 4 days worth of food with us and didn't want to carry the food for no reason, we decided to sit there and start housing it. It was really hard getting up after that break. Tired legs, sore feet, and full bellies made the last few miles extremely slow going.

Corrie not not smiling along the trail to Þórsmörk from EmstrurCorrie not not smiling along the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur Corrie on the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (6)Corrie on the trail to Þórsmörk from Emstrur (6)

Ahead of schedule and nearly 40 miles later, we made it to Þórsmörk. The rain cleared up for the rest of the day and we celebrated with more Oreos and bourbon. It had been a long time since we had hiked that hard. The bonus is that we made it ahead of most of the other groups, so we were first on the waitlist to catch the shuttle out 2 days early. 

Corrie smiling as we arrive at ÞórsmörkCorrie smiling as we arrive at Þórsmörk Our campsite at ÞórsmörkOur campsite at Þórsmörk Views at ÞórsmörkViews at Þórsmörk

The following morning, as we got on the off-road bus, the storm finally arrived. We were lucky to be off the trail only having to deal with slight rain. The other exciting thing is that for the remainder of the trip we would be spending it at Blue Lagoon. Since we were staying at the hotel we had a private pool to soak in. We spent the following days soaking, eating, and drinking. We still had a bottle of vodka that we needed to finish and nothing to do. Well, except our appointments for our in water massages! 

Corrie soaking at Blue LagoonCorrie soaking at Blue Lagoon Sunny morning at Blue LagoonSunny morning at Blue Lagoon Sunrise sunburst at Blue LagoonSunrise sunburst at Blue Lagoon Colors of Blue LagoonColors of Blue Lagoon  It was the perfect ending to a spectacular honeymoon in Iceland.

Corrie and I at Blue LagoonCorrie and I at Blue Lagoon

[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2019/9/honeymoon-part-3-of-3-laugavegur-trail-and-blue-lagoon Sat, 28 Sep 2019 20:18:17 GMT
Honeymoon Part 2 of 3: Snaefellsnes, Golden Circle, and Southern Coast https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2019/9/honeymoon-part-2-of-3-snaefellsnes-golden-circle-and-southern-coast Welcome back! If you didn't read the first part, I recommend going back for that to give you some context from the first week of the trip.

This week was planned to be more relaxing and to see the sights near the roads. Some days the weather didn't cooperate so I wont give a day-by-day, but rather a general overview of the things we saw during the week. 

We picked up the car and headed out of town to the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Corrie was navigating and we had no planned route.

Gerðuberg basalt columns with hikerGerðuberg basalt columns with hiker

This house was featured in the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We didn't realize it until we came back and rewatched the movie. That's kinda neat.

Stykkishólmur coastlineStykkishólmur coastline

I was pretty excited to see Kirkjufell, but when we got there it's literally off the side of the road. I was pretty surprised how that was the case for many things in Iceland. Because of that, you have multiple tour busses full of people sharing the view with you. I definitely fell victim to how people portray these places on Social. Still a cool spot though for sure.

Kirkjufellsfoss and rainbowKirkjufellsfoss and rainbow

From there we hit more waterfalls and headed out to Snæfellsjökull National Park. It was socked in and raining that day, but we did enjoy the views of the beach.

Svödufoss from downstreamSvödufoss from downstream Skarðsvík BeachSkarðsvík Beach Skarðsvík Beach and coastlineSkarðsvík Beach and coastline

After the peninsula we headed back towards Reykjavík on our way out to the southern coast. Þingvellir National Park is beautiful and holds some pretty awesome history of the country. It's essentially where the first courts of the country were held. Before the times when written word was common. They would read the laws out loud for everyone to hear and would hold courts. In fact one of the rivers was used to carry out the death sentences. It's also where two continents meet: known as Silfra. This is visible throughout the country, but in this park you can actually dive down between the continental plates. Þingvellir is definately worth the trip if you go.

Þingvvellir National ParkÞingvvellir National Park Öxarárfoss at ÞingvvellirÖxarárfoss at Þingvvellir Geology at Þingvvellir with sunburstGeology at Þingvvellir with sunburst

From Þingvellir we headed out to Gullfoss, one of the larger waterfalls we saw on the trip. The water coming off this thing was nuts.

Gullfoss and Hvítá riverGullfoss and Hvítá river Gullfoss and rainbowGullfoss and rainbow

And living so close to Yellowstone we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see some sights that reminded us of home...

Strokkur Geyser eruptionStrokkur Geyser eruption Krýsuvík thermal areaKrýsuvík thermal area Cloudy black pools in KrýsuvíkCloudy black pools in Krýsuvík Boardwalks through KrýsuvíkBoardwalks through Krýsuvík Gunnuhver Hot SpringsGunnuhver Hot Springs Gunnuhver Hot Springs (2)Gunnuhver Hot Springs (2)
Views along the shore of KleifarvatnViews along the shore of Kleifarvatn Road along KleifarvatnRoad along Kleifarvatn

After we hit Reykjanesfólkvangur we headed out to the coast to take in some views that we weren't familiar with.

Krisuvikurberg CliffsKrisuvikurberg Cliffs Sandvík continental platesSandvík continental plates Coastline near Reykjanes Lighthouse (2)Coastline near Reykjanes Lighthouse (2) Coastline near Reykjanes Lighthouse (3)Coastline near Reykjanes Lighthouse (3)  After crashing in the worst place on earth, Selfoss (its a long story I'll get into later), we started to make our way east along the southern coast. The further away we got from Reykjavik the more amazing the sights got. We saw some pretty kick-ass waterfalls.

HjálparfossHjálparfoss Hjálparfoss and mountainsHjálparfoss and mountains Seljalandsfoss from the foot bridgeSeljalandsfoss from the foot bridge Seljalandsfoss and double rainbowSeljalandsfoss and double rainbow Corrie hiking behind SeljalandsfossCorrie hiking behind Seljalandsfoss Þjóðvegur viewsÞjóðvegur views Skógafoss and rainbowSkógafoss and rainbow

With all the glacial melt, there were tons of braided rivers that reminded us of Alaska, but with smaller mountains. 

Eyjafjallajökull views near SkógarEyjafjallajökull views near Skógar Eyjafjallajökull views near Skógar (2)Eyjafjallajökull views near Skógar (2)

But Iceland has horses...good looking ones.

Icelandic horse and EyjafjallajökullIcelandic horse and Eyjafjallajökull

That night we soaked at our BnB during the sunset. I got up that night to see about the aurora. It was out a little, but too cloudy for any decent views.

Corrie and I toes soaking at Hotel LambafellCorrie and I toes soaking at Hotel Lambafell Hotel Lambafell and auroraHotel Lambafell and aurora

The next morning we continued further east. We arrived in Vik pretty early in the morning and explored the beaches and watched lots of puffins fishing along the coast.

Katla VolcanoKatla Volcano Dyrhólaey from Reynisfjara BeachDyrhólaey from Reynisfjara Beach Reynisfjara BeachReynisfjara Beach Sea stacks at Reynisfjara BeachSea stacks at Reynisfjara Beach

From Vik we continued on to Skaftafell for some hiking and more waterfalls and glaciers.

Svartifoss from the platformSvartifoss from the platform Svartifoss and basalt columnsSvartifoss and basalt columns Corrie hikes in Vatnajökull National ParkCorrie hikes in Vatnajökull National Park Walking a glacier tour road in Vatnajökull National ParkWalking a glacier tour road in Vatnajökull National Park

Since the days were so long we weren't ready to call it quits. One of the highlights we were excited to see was Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon. This place was amazing. The wildlife and scenery was top notch.

Jökulsárlón and icebergsJökulsárlón and icebergs Jökulsárlón in evening lightJökulsárlón in evening light Jökulsárlón and icebergs (2)Jökulsárlón and icebergs (2) Corrie hiking at JökulsárlónCorrie hiking at Jökulsárlón
In addition to the lagoon with giant glacier background, you could walk across the street to the black sand beach known as diamond beach. Huge chunks of ice would wash up on shore as the tide came in and out. We could have spent more time in that area for sure.

Diamond Beach icebergsDiamond Beach icebergs Diamond Beach icebergs and sunsetDiamond Beach icebergs and sunset Waves crashing at Diamond BeachWaves crashing at Diamond Beach

But it was time to head back to Reykjavik to get ready for another backpacking trip. We also had planned to splurge and do a fixed wing flight to take in some of the sights from the air.

Driving towards Vatnajökull National Park.Driving towards Vatnajökull National Park.

On our way back through Selfoss our rental car broke down. They told us that a rock had hit the radiator and we would need to pay for it. So after cancelling our overflight, we waited for the tow truck to take us the rest of the way back to Reykjavik. I guess it was a good thing we didn't take the flight, because the bill for the tow and the radiator was like $1,700. But we weren't going to let it ruin our good time. We eventually made it to our AirBnB where we would relax and prep for the Laugavegur Trail. Little did we know it was going to be the highlight of the trip, even though we were about to unknowingly hike 40 miles in 2 days.

[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2019/9/honeymoon-part-2-of-3-snaefellsnes-golden-circle-and-southern-coast Fri, 27 Sep 2019 14:41:24 GMT
Honeymoon Part 1 of 3: Backpacking Hornstrandir Nature Reserve https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2018/11/honeymoon-part-1-of-3-backpacking-hornstrandir-nature-reserve Hey everyone,

It's been a LONG time since I've put together a blog post. I've had a bunch of people asking for photos from our recent honeymoon so I figured it was a good time to dust off the keyboard. We've been home for a few weeks now, but trying to edit 3 weeks worth of photos and video has taken the back seat to other work trips and projects. Since there are so many photos to share I am going to break it up into 3 parts. Hover over the photos for more info on them. Here goes...

After a long trip to Iceland we landed in Reykjavik. From there we jumped on a bus, transferred to a bus, and then caught a domestic flight to Isafjourder. We grabbed pizza and beers, packed our bags, and hit the sack. The following morning we woke up and headed to the docks to catch our boat to Hornstrandir. 

Ísafjörður morning reflectionsÍsafjörður morning reflections

It was a beautiful morning and we were excited to get our first glimpses of the country after so much travel and poor weather. Spirits were high especially after we finally got a good night's rest.

Boat ride out to the HornstrandirBoat ride out to the Hornstrandir Sea arch in West FjordsSea arch in West Fjords Sea arch in West Fjords (2)Sea arch in West Fjords (2)

After an hour or so of boating and soaking up the scenery, we arrived at our first stop. Our boat was equipped with boat-on-boat technology so the captain unloaded the zodiac and the dayhikers all jumped on.

Our trusty steed in West FjordsOur trusty steed in West Fjords Dropping off hikers with the zodiacDropping off hikers with the zodiac

After the first drop, we headed to Veiðileysufjörður where we would start out hike. When the boat finally left, Corrie and I just sat on the shore and started laughing. It had taken us over two days of traveling by car, planes, trains, busses, taxis, and boats to get here, and we were finally able to enjoy it. After shedding layers and grabbing some snacks we set off for the pass. The plan for the day was to hike from one fjord to another by going up and over a pass.

Zodiac head back to the boatZodiac head back to the boat Leaving veiðileysufjörðurLeaving veiðileysufjörður veiðileysufjörður reflectionsveiðileysufjörður reflections The sound of musicThe sound of music Our first unnamed waterfallsOur first unnamed waterfalls Waterfall and veiðileysufjörðurWaterfall and veiðileysufjörður Away we go from veiðileysufjörðurAway we go from veiðileysufjörður Historic cairns along the trailHistoric cairns along the trail

After a few hours on the trail we finally made it to the pass. The weather was so nice and I was still jet-lagged so I dropped my pack and took a nap. We knew that today's weather was going to be the nicest of this leg of the trip so we weren't in a hurry. Eventually we decided to move on so we could set up camp. As we made it to the other side of the pass we could see the Horn, the destination of the following day's hike. 

veiðileysufjörður from the passveiðileysufjörður from the pass Heading towards Hornvik from the passHeading towards Hornvik from the pass Crossing snow bridgesCrossing snow bridges

As we dropped into the Hornvik area the entire valley was ringed with waterfalls. As we were nearing camp we were discussing how much we hoped we would see an arctic fox. It's an animal that neither of had seen before. Just as we made it to camp I said, "hey look at that!" as an arctic fox ran past us. It wasn't close enough for a photo so we were a little bummed, but we didn't know that we'd be seeing many more up close.

More waterfalls along the trailMore waterfalls along the trail

The next morning we woke up to a low ceiling. We had the advantage of long days on our side so we slept in hoping that the weather would improve. That cool feature that we planned to hike out to today, the Horn,
was completely hidden in clouds. We decided that we should hike out there anyway and hopefully the weather would improve. Since it was high tide we decided to hike out and cross the river where it was wider instead of near the ocean.

Private residence in HornvikPrivate residence in Hornvik Hiking to the HornHiking to the Horn Hiking to the river crossingHiking to the river crossing

Once we made it to the river we took off our shoes and started across the chilly water. On the other side the trail took us past some spectacular waterfalls and black cobble beaches.

River crossing at high tideRiver crossing at high tide Moody views along the Horn trailMoody views along the Horn trail More waterfalls with CorrieMore waterfalls with Corrie Corrie on the Horn TrailCorrie on the Horn Trail

As we pushed further out to the Horn the weather started to improve behind us. The trail ahead was still in the clouds, but we were finally able to see our camp and where we had come from. 

Corrie Climbing up the Horn overlooking HornvikCorrie Climbing up the Horn overlooking Hornvik

As we made it to the Horn you could barely see the Arctic Ocean below or the views ahead. So we decided to sit and see if the weather would improve. Lucky for us, it did.

Corrie on the edge of the HornCorrie on the edge of the Horn Corrie hiking the Horn as clouds roll over the edgeCorrie hiking the Horn as clouds roll over the edge

The trail took us along a beautiful, lush ridgeline that looked down on the Arctic Ocean. As we made it to the pass we could see all of Hornvik and the sea of clouds rolling in from the north. It was such an awesome view to take in.

Corrie overlooks Hornvik from above (panorama)Corrie overlooks Hornvik from above (panorama)

I was slightly behind Corrie on the way up and once she hit the ridge where she could see into the next valley all I heard from her was "Oh fuck yea!" When I made it there a few seconds later I shouted something similar. We were staring at this awesome knife-edged geologic feature with clouds rolling up and over below them. This view was one of the main reasons that we wanted to visit this area and we knew that we had lucked out with the weather. So I pulled out our bottle of Woodford Reserve and we just sat there by ourselves and enjoyed the view.

Corrie and I at HornbjargCorrie and I at Hornbjarg Whiskey views at HornbjargWhiskey views at Hornbjarg Hornbjarg rising above the cloudsHornbjarg rising above the clouds Wildflower and Hornbjarg as clouds roll over the cliff (3)Wildflower and Hornbjarg as clouds roll over the cliff (3)

We knew that we were going to get hungry for dinner eventually so we decided to push on. The trail was along some of the craziest terrain. It was awesome.

Corrie hikes the trail out to HornbjargCorrie hikes the trail out to Hornbjarg A cliff of green rises above an ocean of cloudsA cliff of green rises above an ocean of clouds Corrie hike the trail to Hornbjarg in the distanceCorrie hike the trail to Hornbjarg in the distance
Corrie taking in the views of HornbjargCorrie taking in the views of Hornbjarg

We stopped often to take photos of the scenery, flowers and foxes playing. There was still plenty of sunlight but we were running out of snacks for the day so we looped back around the ridge and backtracked our way to camp. 

Private residence along the coastline of HornvikPrivate residence along the coastline of Hornvik Cottongrass and the HornCottongrass and the Horn

On the way back it was low tide so we decided to cross the river at the ocean this time. The day was still warm enough that I decided to go for a swim. After that the last couple miles home was along a black sand beach, no shoes needed.

Black sand beach at HornvikBlack sand beach at Hornvik Sunset beach walk back to campSunset beach walk back to camp Corrie walking on the beach back to campCorrie walking on the beach back to camp

After dinner we had a visitor. 

Curious arctic foxCurious arctic fox

Needless to say it was a long but amazing day.

Hot tea after a great day of hikingHot tea after a great day of hiking My babooshkaMy babooshka

The next day we woke up to rain.  That would be our reality for the rest of the trip. Every once in a while the weather would quit long enough for me to break out the camera and take a few shots, but overall it was extremely cold and wet. 

Corrie on the trail to HloduvikCorrie on the trail to Hloduvik Moss-covered cliff along the trail to HloduvikMoss-covered cliff along the trail to Hloduvik Trail sign to RekavikTrail sign to Rekavik

We weren't the only ones that were cold and wet. I'm sure a lot of what we hiked through was awesome looking, but at points the visibility was so bad that we had to split up to find the next cairns. All part of the adventure I guess.

Arctic fox curled up to stay warmArctic fox curled up to stay warm Hiking to Hloduvik in the cloudsHiking to Hloduvik in the clouds Corrie coming down from the passCorrie coming down from the pass Corrie hiking the trail to HloduvikCorrie hiking the trail to Hloduvik Following the cairns to Hloduvik (2)Following the cairns to Hloduvik (2)

Day 4 we woke up to more rain. My sleeping bag had finally dried out from my body heat but I was not looking forward to putting wet clothes and shoes back on. We made breakfast in the tent, a luxury not afforded to us normally because we camp in bear country, and then continued on through rivers and marshes and over more mountain passes.

Corrie taking one last look at Hloduvik before heading outCorrie taking one last look at Hloduvik before heading out Corrie and river crossings on the trail to HesteyriCorrie and river crossings on the trail to Hesteyri Corrie and waterfalls on the trail to HesteyriCorrie and waterfalls on the trail to Hesteyri

At one point I was so cold and tired that I started to get the "umbles." All of my gear was soaked. Either from sweat or rain. It was so wet and windy that the only gear that would have kept us completely dry would have been like rubber fisherman slickers. So when we finally made it to the pass where we could see our final destination we were both extremely happy.

  Corrie hiking down to Hesteyri from the passCorrie hiking down to Hesteyri from the pass Hesteyri and cairn from the passHesteyri and cairn from the pass Corrie hiking to the campgroundCorrie hiking to the campground

We made it to camp, set up our tent, and magically the rain stopped long enough for us to have dinner and hang our stuff out to dry. We also found out that there was a small coffee shop where we could grab some coffee and sweets and get out of the elements for a short bit. 

Our campsite at HesteyriOur campsite at Hesteyri
Corrie enjoying Rhubarb cake in HesteyriCorrie enjoying Rhubarb cake in Hesteyri

Hornstrandir was an awesome trip. We got to see the area at it's best and it's not-so-best. When the weather is good it's mostly easy hiking if you're in good shape and have some navigational skills. When the weather is bad you better have lots of high-calorie food, good rain gear, and excellent navigational skills.

When the boat came the following day to pick us up were weren't too sad to leave, only because we were ready for hot showers and non-dehydrated food. We grabbed dinner and beers back in Isafjourder, hit the sack, grabbed a taxi the following morning, and took the plane back to Reykjavik. From there we planned to rent a car and explore some of the island by road. I'll start working on that and let you know when it's ready! Shoot me some questions if you got 'em!

[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) Backpacking Horn Hornstrandir Hornvik Iceland Isafjourder https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2018/11/honeymoon-part-1-of-3-backpacking-hornstrandir-nature-reserve Sun, 18 Nov 2018 19:03:38 GMT
Goodbye Glacier Country - Top Photos from 2016 https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/11/goodbye-glacier-country Hey everyone! Things have been pretty hectic these past few months but I finally found some time to sit down and share some photos. I am currently sitting on the couch overlooking the Yellowstone River. I just finished my first week of work in my new job and my feet are a little sore from our hike yesterday, a perfect time to write my last blog with photos from Glacier. This last year was awesome. I couldn't have planned it better. We had an awesome group of people to ski, bike, hike, camp, climb, boat, and hang out throughout the year all over the park. I will definitely miss the park and the community of people. I suspect that I will be back again in the near future, but until then I look forward to seeing the park through the eyes of all the people I have met these past two years. 

Here are a few of the highlights of Glacier from 2016. I hope you enjoy!



Middle Fork Sunset from West Glacier BridgeMiddle Fork Sunset from West Glacier Bridge Lake McDonald Lodge SunsetLake McDonald Lodge Sunset Sunset over Apgar MountainsSunset over Apgar Mountains Lake McDonald 2.17.16Lake McDonald 2.17.16 Historic Boat Dock BeachHistoric Boat Dock Beach Lake McDonald Sunset 2.22.16Lake McDonald Sunset 2.22.16 Lake McDonald at Dusk 2.23.16Lake McDonald at Dusk 2.23.16 Mallards Flying Towards StantonMallards Flying Towards Stanton Crashing Waves on Lake McDonald 3.17.16Crashing Waves on Lake McDonald 3.17.16


Lake McDonald Public Dock Sunrise 3.19.16 (2)Lake McDonald Public Dock Sunrise 3.19.16 (2) Lake McDonald 4.12.16Lake McDonald 4.12.16 Lake McDonald Layers at SunriseLake McDonald Layers at Sunrise Lake McDonald 4.26.16Lake McDonald 4.26.16 Self-portrait Lake McDonald 4.26.16Self-portrait Lake McDonald 4.26.16 Chilling at Bowman LakeChilling at Bowman Lake Bowman Lake ShorelineBowman Lake Shoreline Alpenglow at Bowman Lake (3)Alpenglow at Bowman Lake (3) Sunrift Gorge to Baring Falls (2)Sunrift Gorge to Baring Falls (2) St. Mary FallsSt. Mary Falls Osprey in Flight - Pandion haliaetusOsprey in Flight - Pandion haliaetus East Glacier Black BearEast Glacier Black Bear Cristos at Running Eagle FallsCristos at Running Eagle Falls Lina By Weeping WallLina By Weeping Wall Lina at Big Bend (2)Lina at Big Bend (2) Lina and Livingston Range SunsetLina and Livingston Range Sunset Lina at Warp SpeedLina at Warp Speed McDonald Valley Sunset UpvalleyMcDonald Valley Sunset Upvalley Bo Riding Past the Weeping Wall (2)Bo Riding Past the Weeping Wall (2) Bo Riding Past the Weeping WallBo Riding Past the Weeping Wall Bikers Near the Weeping WallBikers Near the Weeping Wall Bo Riding Over Triple ArchesBo Riding Over Triple Arches Approaching Oberlin Bend 5.14.16Approaching Oberlin Bend 5.14.16   Chief MountainChief Mountain James on the Belly Suspension BridgeJames on the Belly Suspension Bridge Gable Mountain and Belly Ranger Station (2)Gable Mountain and Belly Ranger Station (2) Cosley Lake Sunrise PanoramaCosley Lake Sunrise Panorama James at the Belly River Ranger StationJames at the Belly River Ranger Station Calm Pray Lake and SinopahCalm Pray Lake and Sinopah Overlooking Two Medicine Valley (2)Overlooking Two Medicine Valley (2) Overlooking Lower Two Medicine LakeOverlooking Lower Two Medicine Lake Arrowleaf Balsamroot - Balsamorhiza sagittata (2)Arrowleaf Balsamroot - Balsamorhiza sagittata (2)


Views of McDonald Valley From OberlinViews of McDonald Valley From Oberlin Holly Taking in the Sunset From OberlinHolly Taking in the Sunset From Oberlin Garden Wall From OberlinGarden Wall From Oberlin Sunset over Mount Reynolds and JacksonSunset over Mount Reynolds and Jackson Cloud ShadowsCloud Shadows Colorful CloudsColorful Clouds Megan on The Middle ForkMegan on The Middle Fork Middle Fork ReflectionsMiddle Fork Reflections Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (2) 7.2.16Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (2) 7.2.16 Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (4) 7.2.16Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (4) 7.2.16 First View of Cracker LakeFirst View of Cracker Lake Tent view From Cracker Lake at SunriseTent view From Cracker Lake at Sunrise Cracker Lake Campground SunriseCracker Lake Campground Sunrise Cracker Lake at SunriseCracker Lake at Sunrise Cracker Lake at Sunrise (4)Cracker Lake at Sunrise (4) Cracker Lake and BeargrassCracker Lake and Beargrass Mount Siyeh and BeargrassMount Siyeh and Beargrass Evening Light on the Avalanch Lake TrailEvening Light on the Avalanch Lake Trail Avalanche Lake Hike with Off-road Wheelchair 13Avalanche Lake Hike with Off-road Wheelchair 13 Avalanche Lake 7.15.16Avalanche Lake 7.15.16 Oberlin Bend From the Highline TrailOberlin Bend From the Highline Trail Clements and Oberlin from the HighlineClements and Oberlin from the Highline Lake McDonald and Historic DeSmet from Highline TrailLake McDonald and Historic DeSmet from Highline Trail Swiftcurrent Lookout SunsetSwiftcurrent Lookout Sunset Granite Park Chalet SunsetGranite Park Chalet Sunset Heavens Peak (2)  7.19.16Heavens Peak (2) 7.19.16 Tent View from Granite Park Trails CabinTent View from Granite Park Trails Cabin Grinnell Glacier OverlookGrinnell Glacier Overlook May Glacier Valley From the Garden WallMay Glacier Valley From the Garden Wall Sunset at Swiftcurrent Lake 7.23.16Sunset at Swiftcurrent Lake 7.23.16 Grinnell Point ReflectionsGrinnell Point Reflections Swiftcurrent Creek SunriseSwiftcurrent Creek Sunrise Wynn Mountain and Swiftcurrent Creek SunriseWynn Mountain and Swiftcurrent Creek Sunrise Many Glacier Hotel SunriseMany Glacier Hotel Sunrise Moonset over Grinnell PointMoonset over Grinnell Point Quinn Dropping in Iceberg LakeQuinn Dropping in Iceberg Lake Beargrass in Iceberg Valley (2)Beargrass in Iceberg Valley (2) Grinnel Lake and Angel WingGrinnel Lake and Angel Wing Grinnel Glacier Trail FlowersGrinnel Glacier Trail Flowers Upper Grinnell LakeUpper Grinnell Lake Upper Grinnell Lake Reflections TightUpper Grinnell Lake Reflections Tight Quinn, Brittany, and Lex Crossing the OutletQuinn, Brittany, and Lex Crossing the Outlet Wildflowers and Grinnell GlacierWildflowers and Grinnell Glacier Looking Down on Grinnell Lake From Angel WingLooking Down on Grinnell Lake From Angel Wing Coming off Angel WingComing off Angel Wing Grinnell Creek in Grinnell Glacier BasinGrinnell Creek in Grinnell Glacier Basin Grinnell Lake, Allen Mountain, and Angel WingGrinnell Lake, Allen Mountain, and Angel Wing Sunrise over Logan Pass 7.30.16Sunrise over Logan Pass 7.30.16 First Light on Heavens Peak 7.30.16First Light on Heavens Peak 7.30.16 Going-to-the-Sun Mountain From Hidden Lake TrailGoing-to-the-Sun Mountain From Hidden Lake Trail Hidden Lake 7.30.16Hidden Lake 7.30.16 Hidden Lake PanoramaHidden Lake Panorama Forrest on the Reynolds RouteForrest on the Reynolds Route Dan Climbing ReynoldsDan Climbing Reynolds Hiker on the Summit of ReynoldsHiker on the Summit of Reynolds Saint Mary Lake From ReynoldsSaint Mary Lake From Reynolds Seth Walking on the Reynolds SummitSeth Walking on the Reynolds Summit Reynolds Summit View PanoramaReynolds Summit View Panorama Hikers at Cutbank Pass PanoramaHikers at Cutbank Pass Panorama Pitamakan Lake From the Pass (2)Pitamakan Lake From the Pass (2) Oldman Lake, Flinch Peak, and Mt. MorganOldman Lake, Flinch Peak, and Mt. Morgan Hikers on Tinkham Mountain Ridge (5)Hikers on Tinkham Mountain Ridge (5) Shawn and Lauren on Tinkham Mountain Ridge (7)Shawn and Lauren on Tinkham Mountain Ridge (7) Tinkham Mountain and Pumpelly GlacierTinkham Mountain and Pumpelly Glacier Saint Mary Lake Sunset Panorama 8.13.16Saint Mary Lake Sunset Panorama 8.13.16 Backcountry Beers and Kayak Toast at Hidden LakeBackcountry Beers and Kayak Toast at Hidden Lake Rowing on Swiftcurrent LakeRowing on Swiftcurrent Lake   Rainbow at Lake McDonald for Centennial InstaMeet (2)Rainbow at Lake McDonald for Centennial InstaMeet (2)


Alpine Sunset over Mount CannonAlpine Sunset over Mount Cannon Alpine Sunset over Mount Cannon (3)Alpine Sunset over Mount Cannon (3) Alpine Sunset From OberlinAlpine Sunset From Oberlin Alpine Sunset over Heavens Peak (3)Alpine Sunset over Heavens Peak (3) Cloudy TreesCloudy Trees Middle Fork of the Flathead From the Belton BridgeMiddle Fork of the Flathead From the Belton Bridge Fall Drive Along Lake McDonald 10.21.16Fall Drive Along Lake McDonald 10.21.16 North Fork RIver DrivingNorth Fork RIver Driving   Self-portrait Bowmand Lake RoadSelf-portrait Bowmand Lake Road Morning Fog on Bowman LakeMorning Fog on Bowman Lake Bowman Lake Sunrise 10.22.16Bowman Lake Sunrise 10.22.16 Thunderbird Flank Through the CloudsThunderbird Flank Through the Clouds Rainbow Peak SunriseRainbow Peak Sunrise Bowman Lake Campground Sunrise HikerBowman Lake Campground Sunrise Hiker Larch Trees at BowmanLarch Trees at Bowman Larch Trees in the North ForkLarch Trees in the North Fork Lina, Forrest, and QuinnLina, Forrest, and Quinn

[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) fall glacier montana National park photos spring summer sunrise sunset winter https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/11/goodbye-glacier-country Sat, 12 Nov 2016 18:07:10 GMT
Logan Pass to Many Glacier Via Highline and Swiftcurrent Pass Trails https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/7/Logan-Pass-Many-Glacier Day 1: Logan Pass to Granite Park

We got on trail about 3 pm and it took us forever to arrive at Granite Park because the flowers were OFF THE HOOK! Lots of stopping for photos along the way. It was a little windy until the evening when it calmed down and the bugs came out. After that we weren't stopping for photos as much. Regardless, it was an awesome day.

Oberlin Bend From the Highline TrailOberlin Bend From the Highline Trail Corrie and Haystack ButteCorrie and Haystack Butte Clements and Oberlin from the HighlineClements and Oberlin from the Highline Green on the HighlineGreen on the Highline Corrie, Beargrass and the HighlineCorrie, Beargrass and the Highline Going-to-the-Sun Road and Reynolds MountainGoing-to-the-Sun Road and Reynolds Mountain Corrie on the Highline Trail near Haystack ButteCorrie on the Highline Trail near Haystack Butte Glacier Lilys on the Highline TrailGlacier Lilys on the Highline Trail Lunch Spot on the Highline TrailLunch Spot on the Highline Trail McDonald Valley View Near Haystack ButteMcDonald Valley View Near Haystack Butte Corrie and Heavens PeakCorrie and Heavens Peak Lake McDonald and Historic DeSmet from Highline TrailLake McDonald and Historic DeSmet from Highline Trail Lake McDonald Portrait from Highline TrailLake McDonald Portrait from Highline Trail McDonald Valley and Rays from Highline TrailMcDonald Valley and Rays from Highline Trail Mt. Cannon and Lake McDonald from the HighlineMt. Cannon and Lake McDonald from the Highline Highline Trail near Grante ParkHighline Trail near Grante Park Swiftcurrent Lookout SunsetSwiftcurrent Lookout Sunset Highline Trail and Heavens Peak near Granite ParkHighline Trail and Heavens Peak near Granite Park Golden Eagle over Granite ParkGolden Eagle over Granite Park Granite Park Chalet SunsetGranite Park Chalet Sunset Corrie on the Highline Near Granite ParkCorrie on the Highline Near Granite Park Mt. Cannon, Lake McDonald, Heavens Peak and Glacier LilysMt. Cannon, Lake McDonald, Heavens Peak and Glacier Lilys Heavens Peak 7.19.16Heavens Peak 7.19.16 Heavens Peak Portrait 7.19.16Heavens Peak Portrait 7.19.16 Garden Wall PortraitGarden Wall Portrait Heavens Peak (2)  7.19.16Heavens Peak (2) 7.19.16 Heavens Peak (3)  7.19.16Heavens Peak (3) 7.19.16 IMG_5383IMG_5383

We arrived to camp just in time for sunset, dinner, and whiskey all before the clouds came in and started raining. 

Day 2: Granite Park to Grinnell Glacier Overlook and Back, then Granite Park to Many Glacier via Swiftcurrent Pass Trail

The plan the following morning was to hike up the spur trail early am for sunrise, but when the alarm went off at 5:30 it was still raining. When we woke up the second time the clouds hard parted and the sun came out. It was a pretty awesome view to wake up to. Just before we headed out to the spur trail the packers arrived to the chalet so I had to chat and take a few snaps. On days like these the packers have one of the coolest jobs in the park, no doubt. 

We got up the Grinnell Glacier overlook and hung our for lunch. Just as we were coming down the day hikers were arriving from Logan Pass. We headed back to the chalet, grabbed our packs, and started heading over to Many Glacier. I had never heard anything about Swiftcurrent Pass before, so needless to say we were blown away by the view and the trail coming off the pass in the valley. Waterfalls, headwalls, Swiftcurrent Glacier, and blue-green lakes. It was another picture perfect day, apart from the 40-50 mph gusts. 

Tent View from Granite Park Trails CabinTent View from Granite Park Trails Cabin Heavens Peak ReflectionHeavens Peak Reflection Relaxing at Grinnell Glacier OverlookRelaxing at Grinnell Glacier Overlook Grinnell Glacier OverlookGrinnell Glacier Overlook May Glacier Valley From the Garden WallMay Glacier Valley From the Garden Wall Gem GlacierGem Glacier Grinnell Lake and Lake SherburneGrinnell Lake and Lake Sherburne Salamander and Grinnell GlaciersSalamander and Grinnell Glaciers Grinnell Glacier From the Garden WallGrinnell Glacier From the Garden Wall Highline Spur TrailHighline Spur Trail Corrie on the Spur TrailCorrie on the Spur Trail Heavens Peak from the Spur JunctionHeavens Peak from the Spur Junction View From the Granite Park Chalet Front DoorView From the Granite Park Chalet Front Door Mt. Grinnell From Swiftcurrent PassMt. Grinnell From Swiftcurrent Pass Swiftcurrent Glacier From Swiftcurrent PassSwiftcurrent Glacier From Swiftcurrent Pass Headwaters of Swiftcurrent CreekHeadwaters of Swiftcurrent Creek Corrie and Mt. GrinnellCorrie and Mt. Grinnell Bullhead Lake Portrait From Swiftcurrent Pass TrailBullhead Lake Portrait From Swiftcurrent Pass Trail Corrie and Swiftcurrent GlacierCorrie and Swiftcurrent Glacier Bullhead Lake From Swiftcurrent Pass TrailBullhead Lake From Swiftcurrent Pass Trail

After we got off the switchbacks it seemed to take forever to make it back to the road. By the time we arrived we were ready for some beers and some food. Good thing the Motor Inn has the perfect cure for what we needed, pizza and beer. Perfect end to an awesome overnight.

As we headed out the next morning we had to stop and smell the flowers.

Wildflowers in Many Glacier 7.21.16Wildflowers in Many Glacier 7.21.16

I am headed back over to Many Glacier this weekend for work and a little RnR. I am hoping to do a couple fun hikes in additions to getting some filming done. I hope all is well with you!


[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/7/Logan-Pass-Many-Glacier Sat, 23 Jul 2016 02:47:39 GMT
Summer Solstice Summit and Backpacking at Cracker Lake https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/7/summer-solstice-summit-and-backpacking-at-cracker-lake Happy Independence Day Everyone! Just got off an awesome backcountry trip in Many Glacier this weekend and finally got caught up editing so I figured a post was in order. But before I get to the backcountry trip I had to share a few shots from our Solstice hike up Oberlin. Celebrating the solstice is a tradition that I picked up while living in Alaska and I have tried to do something fun every year since then. For my first summer here, last year, I climbed Oberlin and had a six pack while relaxing on the summit all day. So i figured it would be cool to run it back again, but this time invite a bunch of people see how many we could get to hang out for a sunset. Needless to say, the group and the sunset didn't disappoint. 

Daniel Hiking Mount Oberlin (2)Daniel Hiking Mount Oberlin (2) Sledding Mount Oberlin SaddleSledding Mount Oberlin Saddle James Hiking (2)James Hiking (2) Summit SelfieSummit Selfie Views of McDonald Valley From Oberlin (3)Views of McDonald Valley From Oberlin (3) Holly Taking in the Sunset From OberlinHolly Taking in the Sunset From Oberlin Garden Wall From OberlinGarden Wall From Oberlin Upslope ManUpslope Man Summer Solstice Summit Soda SyndicateSummer Solstice Summit Soda Syndicate Last Light on Mount ReynoldsLast Light on Mount Reynolds Solstice Panorama 6.20.16Solstice Panorama 6.20.16 Cloud ShadowsCloud Shadows Colorful CloudsColorful Clouds

I tried to head into Cracker lake earlier this year and had to bail since the weather was too windy. The forecast was calling for 50mph winds so I just called it. This weekend the weather looked pretty decent so I decided to try again. All I gotta say is wow. I have been to Cracker Lake before, but nothing beats watching a sunrise there. I would put it very high on the list of things to do in Glacier. The drive into the valley started off with a bear jam due to a grizz on the side of the road, but we didn't care about the bear because the wildflowers were off the hook!

Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (4) 7.2.16Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (4) 7.2.16 Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (2) 7.2.16Wildflowers along the Many Galcier Road (2) 7.2.16

Once we got on trail it's a pretty boring hike for the first 4 miles or so minus a few open spots. Then eventually you get into the basin and you are greeted with this spectacular view.

Group Hiking in Cracker Lake (2)Group Hiking in Cracker Lake (2)

The lake itself is the most unique color of blue. It looks fake even in real life.

First View of Cracker LakeFirst View of Cracker Lake Hiking to Cracker Lake CampgroundHiking to Cracker Lake Campground Jenn at Cracker LakeJenn at Cracker Lake

Eventually we made it to camp had some beers and whiskey, made dinner, and then explored the area during the last hour of daylight.

Dinner at Cracker LakeDinner at Cracker Lake Cracker Lake Campground SunsetCracker Lake Campground Sunset Head of Cracker Lake SunsetHead of Cracker Lake Sunset Canyon Creek SunsetCanyon Creek Sunset Canyon Creek and Cracker Lake SunsetCanyon Creek and Cracker Lake Sunset Cracker Mine Equipment SunsetCracker Mine Equipment Sunset Cracker Mine Equipment Sunset (2)Cracker Mine Equipment Sunset (2)

The next morning at 5:38 am we work up to an amazing sunrise. This was the entire reason that I wanted to come out to Cracker Lake and it didn't disappoint.

Tent view From Cracker Lake at SunriseTent view From Cracker Lake at Sunrise Cracker Lake Campground SunriseCracker Lake Campground Sunrise Cracker Lake at SunriseCracker Lake at Sunrise Cracker Lake at Sunrise PortraitCracker Lake at Sunrise Portrait Cracker Lake at Sunrise (2)Cracker Lake at Sunrise (2) Cracker Lake at Sunrise (3)Cracker Lake at Sunrise (3) Cracker Lake at Sunrise (4)Cracker Lake at Sunrise (4) Cracker Lake CampgroundCracker Lake Campground Corn Lily LeavesCorn Lily Leaves

After breakfast half our group left and the rest of us stayed to explore more of the area and relax. We started our way up Allen Mountain but again, it was SUPER windy so we decided to just chill in an awesome patch of beargrass where we watched a moose browse along the lake and the clouds float by.

Mount Siyeh and BeargrassMount Siyeh and Beargrass Relaxing in the BeargrassRelaxing in the Beargrass Emily at the Head of Cracker LakeEmily at the Head of Cracker Lake Me in the Furnace (2)Me in the Furnace (2)

After a few hours of chilling we were supposed to meet another group of friends back near the campground so we headed back to make lunch, finish our whiskey and catch some more sun. They never showed because the went on a different hike so we ended up taking a nap before waking up and deciding to head back to the trailhead. This was our last view of the lake and the views on the way out. Needless to say it was a blast of a trip. 

Twisted Wood at Cracker LakeTwisted Wood at Cracker Lake Canyon Creek Below Cracker LakeCanyon Creek Below Cracker Lake Hiking back to the Cracker Lake TrailheadHiking back to the Cracker Lake Trailhead

I'm hoping to stretch a bunch this week and get loose to try and do Mount Siyeh if the weather cooperates. Not sure how I will do, but I won't know unless I give it a go. Hopefully you all are having a great summer so far! If you make it this way be sure to hit me up! Happy 4th!


[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/7/summer-solstice-summit-and-backpacking-at-cracker-lake Tue, 05 Jul 2016 04:22:02 GMT
Backpacking in Belly River https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/6/backpacking-in-belly-river So this story starts at the local bar, Freda's. After a few beers we started looking at the map of Glacier National Park on the wall and decided to see if we could get a backcountry permit in the morning. Fast forward to 6:30 am the next day and I was up trying to shake off the slight hangover. My friends were slow to rise. It was obvious that people wanted to sleep in. I eventually got them up and over to the permit office. As we were trying to figure out where to go pre-food and pre-coffee, there was a feeling that people wanted to back out. Admittedly, I was thinking about it also. We still needed to shop, pack, drive 3 hours to the trailhead, then hike the 9 miles into the site. That's when I just said eff it, let's do it. 

The plan was to head into Cosley Lake for two nights. The first night we planned to get on trail by 4pm so we could make camp by sunset. The drive out to the trailhead was spectacular. We also ran into Daniel aka Mammoth, who walked to Glacier National Park from NY and has been walking for 2 years. He just crossed the 16K mile mark! We ended up speaking with him for a little while and he said he was about to begin his hike of the CDT from Canada to Mexico. Such a cool spot to run into him.

Chief MountainChief Mountain Yellow Mountain EastYellow Mountain East Daniel Johnson-UtsognDaniel Johnson-Utsogn

Eventually we made it on trail, and it was glorious. It was my first time in the Belly River area, and I don't know what took me so long to get there.

Mariah and Emily (2)Mariah and Emily (2) Emily on the TrailEmily on the Trail Belly RiverBelly River Emily and Mariah on the TrailEmily and Mariah on the Trail Hiking into the Ranger StationHiking into the Ranger Station Emily Looking at the MapEmily Looking at the Map Mariah Taking in the ViewMariah Taking in the View Views at the Gable JunctionViews at the Gable Junction James on the Belly Suspension BridgeJames on the Belly Suspension Bridge Gable Mountain and Belly Ranger Station (2)Gable Mountain and Belly Ranger Station (2) Mariah and Emily at Gros Ventre FallsMariah and Emily at Gros Ventre Falls Gable Mountain THrough the TreesGable Mountain THrough the Trees Stormy Chief MountainStormy Chief Mountain Gable Mountain (2)Gable Mountain (2) Cosley Lake TrailCosley Lake Trail

We made it to camp just in time for for dinner, some whiskey, and to set up camp before the the wind started to pick up and the rain to start. The next morning we woke up to fresh snow and a quiet serene morning. I walked around the lake while the others stayed in the tents. Then the reflection on the lake started to fade so I headed back to camp to wake the others and make breakfast.

Cosley Ridge in the CloudsCosley Ridge in the Clouds Silky Phacelia at Cosley LakeSilky Phacelia at Cosley Lake Mariah and Emily in the TentMariah and Emily in the Tent

After the morning we decided to chill around camp. We saw a bear, pine marten, moose, beaver, deer, as well as some crazy clouds that kept forming and breaking up over the mountains.

Emily Reading the Map at Cosley LakeEmily Reading the Map at Cosley Lake Nick Along Cosley LakeNick Along Cosley Lake Moose Along Cosley LakeMoose Along Cosley Lake James Chilling on the Shore of Cosley LakeJames Chilling on the Shore of Cosley Lake Eastern Shore of Cosley LakeEastern Shore of Cosley Lake

The rain picked up again in the evening so we called it a night. The next morning we woke up to some of the best backcountry views I have had in a while. 

Cosley Lake SunriseCosley Lake Sunrise Morning Fog at Cosley LakeMorning Fog at Cosley Lake Morning Fog on Cosley Lake (2)Morning Fog on Cosley Lake (2) Mt. Kipp PortraitMt. Kipp Portrait Cosley Lake Sunrise PanoramaCosley Lake Sunrise Panorama Cosley Lake and LogCosley Lake and Log Pyramid Peak PortraitPyramid Peak Portrait Nick and James at Cosley LakeNick and James at Cosley Lake Geology Reflections on Cosley LakeGeology Reflections on Cosley Lake

After spending about 2 hours shooting, we decided it was time to head back to the car. On the trail we saw some fresh tracks.

Black Bear Track on the TrailBlack Bear Track on the Trail Gros Ventre FallsGros Ventre Falls Gros Ventre Falls Portrait (2)Gros Ventre Falls Portrait (2) James on the Cosley Lake TrailJames on the Cosley Lake Trail

We stopped at the Ranger Station for lunch and to take in the views. 

James at the Belly River Ranger StationJames at the Belly River Ranger Station Belly River Ranger StationBelly River Ranger Station

After all the rain, the trail was muddy on the way back. The hill back up to the car was a little tough because of it. We were slipping around all over the place. Once we made it back to the car we had a cooler waiting for us with ice cold beers. We sat in the parking lot for an hour, stretched, and enjoyed the sun. As we passed back through East Glacier we made sure to stop at Serrano's and grabbed some food and margaritas. It was an awesome trip with some good company. 

This next week I am headed out to Quartz Lake for 3 days. Here's hoping the weather holds out. Things in Glacier are moving along. The Going-to-the-Sun Road just opened, people are showing up, and it looks to be a great summer. If you are in the area, be sure to hit me up!


[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/6/backpacking-in-belly-river Sun, 19 Jun 2016 04:30:15 GMT
A Month in Paradise https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/3/month-in-paradise Hey Everyone!

Back on the mainland and back to reality… Just got around to finishing up my edits from the trip so I figured I would fill you in on some updates. The main reason for our trip was to attend a wedding on Kaua’i, and we figured we should stay an extra 3 and a half weeks for a little vacation. Especially after spending the holidays in Montana with a pretty stormy and cloudy winter, we were ready for no shoes, sun, swimming, cocktails, poke, volcanoes, hammocks, hiking, backpacking, skinny-dipping, and anything else that might sound warm.

On our first trip to Hawai’i we found out about a weird rule that Hawaiian airlines has about camp stoves; they don’t allow them. So we decided to fly into Big Island, spend a couple days, leave our stove on the Island, head to Kaua’i for 2 weeks, and then return to Big Island for 10 days where our camp stove would be waiting for us to use on our backpack trip.

Upon arrival on Big Island we headed to Captain Cook for the next couple days. The only thing we did worth mentioning is we went down to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park for the sunset where some huge waves were crashing against the shore.

Sunset TikisSunset Tikis Rough Seas at SunsetRough Seas at Sunset Crashing Waves at SunsetCrashing Waves at Sunset Pu'uhonua O Honaunau Shorebird SunsetPu'uhonua O Honaunau Shorebird Sunset Pu'uhonua O Honaunau Sunset (2)Pu'uhonua O Honaunau Sunset (2)

Once we landed in Kaua’i we headed to the store, picked up supplies, and then drove up to Koke’e state park where we would be staying in a cabin for the next few days. Because I was a little hobbled from my knee injury, we were limited to hiking around 5 miles per day. Even still we hit the sunrise and sunset every day, took naps, hiked, and birded. Koke’e is one of our favorite spots on the island and it was awesome to be back and explore some new areas.

Flying Into KauaiFlying Into Kauai

First Look at Waimea CanyonFirst Look at Waimea Canyon Morning Fog Rays (2)Morning Fog Rays (2) Lehua SunriseLehua Sunrise Vog Sunrise from Waimea Canyon Lookout (2)Vog Sunrise from Waimea Canyon Lookout (2) Views from the Canyon Rim TrailViews from the Canyon Rim Trail Two DimensionsTwo Dimensions Vog Sunrise from Waimea Canyon LookoutVog Sunrise from Waimea Canyon Lookout Vog Sunrise from Waimea Canyon Lookout (4)Vog Sunrise from Waimea Canyon Lookout (4) Waimea Canyon and Waipo'o FallsWaimea Canyon and Waipo'o Falls Waimean Canyon ColorsWaimean Canyon Colors Waimean Canyon Sunrise at Canyon OverlookWaimean Canyon Sunrise at Canyon Overlook Forest Trail Koke'e TreesForest Trail Koke'e Trees Waimea Canyon Voggy Sunrise PanoramaWaimea Canyon Voggy Sunrise Panorama Waimea Canyon Sunset from Canyon TrailheadWaimea Canyon Sunset from Canyon Trailhead Waipo'o Falls Brink and Waimea CanyonWaipo'o Falls Brink and Waimea Canyon

Kalalau Overlook (2)Kalalau Overlook (2) Kalalau OverlookKalalau Overlook Sunrise from Wai'ale'aleSunrise from Wai'ale'ale

IMG_7257 IMG_7265


From Koke’e we left the mountains and headed to the beach for some RnR. We beach camped at Anini Beach with a prime camping under a sweet hammock tree. While on north shore we met up with friends from Montana, did lots of snorkeling, went kayaking and zip lining, visited the Kilauea lighthouse the last day it was open before it closed for renovations, and spent a good amount of time in the hammock.  


Hanging at 'Anini BeachHanging at 'Anini Beach Sunrise at 'Anini BeachSunrise at 'Anini Beach

IMG_7274 Kīlauea Point Sunrise from 'Anini BeachKīlauea Point Sunrise from 'Anini Beach Kīlauea PointKīlauea Point Kīlauea Lighthouse Fresnel LensKīlauea Lighthouse Fresnel Lens

Hawaiian Goose (Nēnē) - Branta sandvicensisHawaiian Goose (Nēnē) - Branta sandvicensis Laysan Albatross - Phoebastria immutabilisLaysan Albatross - Phoebastria immutabilis Red-footed Booby - Sula sulaRed-footed Booby - Sula sula

Dueling Red Junglefowl - Gallus gallusDueling Red Junglefowl - Gallus gallus

After our stay on the beach it was time to head to Kapa’a for the wedding. Our friends rented a big house right on the water and we spent the next few days snorkeling, drinking, and eating. The wedding was at Moloa’a Beach, where Gilligan’s Island as filmed, in front of a small group of people.

The following day was out last day on the island so we went down to dukes, rented some paddleboards, and learned how to SUP. I was starting to get the hang of it, even though it was a little rough. At lunch we took a break and had too many cocktails. Since I was a little tipsy I thought it was a good idea to wear my sunglasses out on the water, hit a wave and my glasses went into the drink. That was really the only bad thing that happened for the entire month, so I was a little bummed, only because I had to buy a temporary pair that was no good.

Sunrise at Kapa'aSunrise at Kapa'a

SUP at Sunrise (2)SUP at Sunrise (2) Moloa`a BeachMoloa`a Beach IMG_6986IMG_6986 IMG_7012IMG_7012 Moloa`a Beach Waves CrashingMoloa`a Beach Waves Crashing Jess at SunriseJess at Sunrise

Green Anole - Anole carolinensisGreen Anole - Anole carolinensis

After saying our goodbyes we headed back to Big Island and down to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We spent the next couple days in Kulanaokuaiki campground where we could day hike and explore some new areas of the park. We were able to hook up with a ranger from the park that was willing to offer us a shuttle on a backcountry trip, so the next day we grabbed a permit and headed out to Halape. The plan was to stay there for two nights, then head to ‘Apua for a night to break up the 12 miles back across the coast and lava fields. This was probably the coolest part of the entire trip.

Blue Hour at Halema'uma'uBlue Hour at Halema'uma'u Halema'uma'uHalema'uma'u

Camping at KulanaokuaikiCamping at Kulanaokuaiki Enjoying the Sunrise at Halema'uma'uEnjoying the Sunrise at Halema'uma'u Mauna Loa Access RoadMauna Loa Access Road

We were super tired and hot when we finally made it to Halape, but it was such a cool campsite. It has a small lagoon for snorkeling and swimming in addition to a brackish pond that feels more like freshwater. It was so nice to be able to swim everyday in the backcountry, and we even snorkeled which was a backcountry first. This was the best snorkeling up to that point in the trip. Lots of cool coral, large schools of small fish, and like a 4ft trumpet fish scared the shit out of me. Or camp spot was super choice also. It had a table and chairs built out of rocks, trees for shade, and a private walkway out to the beach with some decent tide pools. 


Sunrise at HalapeSunrise at Halape Morning Coffee Views at HalapeMorning Coffee Views at Halape Halape TidepoolsHalape Tidepools Spinx Moth CaterpillarSpinx Moth Caterpillar Halape CampspotHalape Campspot Brackish Ponds at HalapeBrackish Ponds at Halape Relaxing in the Shade at HalapeRelaxing in the Shade at Halape Hammock Swing at HalapeHammock Swing at Halape HalapeHalape Sunset Stroll at HalapeSunset Stroll at Halape Sunset at Halape (2)Sunset at Halape (2) Halape SunsetHalape Sunset Halape Campspot (2)Halape Campspot (2) Campspot at Halepe (3)Campspot at Halepe (3) Sunrise from our Camp Spot HalepeSunrise from our Camp Spot Halepe


The only hiccup that we had was with our fuel can. I used the wrong top and it took me about 40 minutes of hacking away at it to get it open. Wouldn’t have ruined the trip, but having warm food and drinks is one of the small comforts in the backcountry.


Moving day we decided to get an early start to beat the heat. It was a solid plan except when we arrived at ‘Apua there was zero shade and it was crazy hot. We were able to use my hammock and tent poles to create a little shade where we grabbed a nap during the heat of the day. Once the heat broke we explored more tide pools and watched the sunset. The wind was strong that day, creating some huge waves that made for some great photos. 

Backpacking to KeahouBackpacking to Keahou Backpacking to Keahou (2)Backpacking to Keahou (2) Backpacker on the CCC wall to KeahouBackpacker on the CCC wall to Keahou Corrie at Apua PointCorrie at Apua Point Apua PointApua Point Apua Point Afternoon LightApua Point Afternoon Light Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (2)Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (2) Evening Light at Apua Point WavesEvening Light at Apua Point Waves Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (2)Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (2) Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (3)Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (3) Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (3)Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (3) Sunset at Apua PointSunset at Apua Point Apua Point CampspotApua Point Campspot Sunrise on Mauna Loa From Apua PointSunrise on Mauna Loa From Apua Point Sea Arch Sunrise Near Apua PointSea Arch Sunrise Near Apua Point Sea Arch Near Apua PointSea Arch Near Apua Point Corrie on the Lava FieldsCorrie on the Lava Fields

Once we came out of the backcountry we rented a small place down in Pahoa where we would spend the last few days relaxing, and get our last of the snorkeling in. We visited the Kapoho tide pools which were amazing for snorkeling. Some of the best for clear water, little to no currents, and loads of fish. I highly recommend visiting them if you are in the area.

The last day we grabbed massages and drove back to Kona via the saddle road.  We checked into Uncle Billy’s in Captain Cook, watched our last sunset of the trip from our balcony, had our last dinner and drinks, and headed to the airport the next day.

Last Sunset of the TripLast Sunset of the Trip

The first time I went to Hawaii we spent a lot of time camping and moving often. We were able to see a good amount of stuff, but it wasn’t very relaxing. The second time I went was for a wedding and did a little too much relaxing, to the point where I was looking for more to do. This time we dialed it in perfectly. We picked our 2 favorite islands, stay for two weeks each, and only moved every 3-5 days. It was a great combination of relaxing and adventure, and was just what the doctor ordered. 

I hope everyone is well and I am looking forward to the spring and getting back on the trail in the mountains here again!


[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) Hawaii National Park big island kauai kokee sunrise sunset volcanoes https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2016/3/month-in-paradise Sat, 12 Mar 2016 22:56:59 GMT
Glacier Top 100 of 2015 https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2015/12/Glacier-top100-2015 It's been a spectacular year (9 months) since I have moved to Columbia Falls. It was a great year of meeting new people, learning new things, and exploring one of my favorite parks in the lower 48. I picked my top 100 photos from the year and put them in chronological order. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them! Here's to a great 2016. If you are in the area be sure to look me up, let's go shoot!


Mergansers over Lake McDonaldMergansers over Lake McDonald Lake McDonald SunsetLake McDonald Sunset Crashing Waves on Lake McDonaldCrashing Waves on Lake McDonald Lake McDonald Shoreline SunsetLake McDonald Shoreline Sunset Lake McDonald ShorelineLake McDonald Shoreline Afternoon Light Along North Fork RoadAfternoon Light Along North Fork Road Eagle with Coot SunsetEagle with Coot Sunset Morning Reflections at Lake McDonaldMorning Reflections at Lake McDonald Harlequin Duck (Long exposure)Harlequin Duck (Long exposure) Lake McDonald Dock and AuroraLake McDonald Dock and Aurora Aurora Arc on Lake McDonaldAurora Arc on Lake McDonald Aurora Reflections on Lake McDonald PanoramaAurora Reflections on Lake McDonald Panorama Red-necked Grebe and Mount Brown AlpenglowRed-necked Grebe and Mount Brown Alpenglow Red-necked Grebe - Podiceps grisegenaRed-necked Grebe - Podiceps grisegena Avalanche Lake SunsetAvalanche Lake Sunset Lake McDonald Sunrise 4-29-15Lake McDonald Sunrise 4-29-15 Mule Deer and Lake McDonald SunsetMule Deer and Lake McDonald Sunset Moonrise over Camas RoadMoonrise over Camas Road Lead Image Many Glacier HotelLead Image Many Glacier Hotel Lake SherburneLake Sherburne Lake McDonald Sunset - 5:26:15Lake McDonald Sunset - 5:26:15 Foggy Lake McDonaldFoggy Lake McDonald Dark-eyed Junco NestDark-eyed Junco Nest Bald Eagle and ChickBald Eagle and Chick Avalanche GorgeAvalanche Gorge Birdwoman Falls (2)Birdwoman Falls (2) Haystack Creek Falls from GTSRHaystack Creek Falls from GTSR Ali on Numa Fire Lookout TrailAli on Numa Fire Lookout Trail Bald Eagle near Lake McDonaldBald Eagle near Lake McDonald Two Medicine LakeTwo Medicine Lake Chipmunk eating FlowerheadChipmunk eating Flowerhead Rufous Hummingbird Female on Nest (2)Rufous Hummingbird Female on Nest (2)


Hikers on Oberline SummitHikers on Oberline Summit Alpine Avens on OberlinAlpine Avens on Oberlin Backlight GnatsBacklight Gnats Swiftcurrent Lake SunriseSwiftcurrent Lake Sunrise Baring Falls StillBaring Falls Still Virginia FallsVirginia Falls Shooting Stars at Virginia FallsShooting Stars at Virginia Falls Wild Goos Island OverlookWild Goos Island Overlook Smokey Wild Goose Island OVerlook PanoramaSmokey Wild Goose Island OVerlook Panorama Lake McDonald - August 6, 2015Lake McDonald - August 6, 2015 Bighorn Sheep at Logan (2)Bighorn Sheep at Logan (2) Lewis Monkey Flowers and Reynolds AlpenglowLewis Monkey Flowers and Reynolds Alpenglow Going-to-the-Sun Alpenglow and WIldflowersGoing-to-the-Sun Alpenglow and WIldflowers Hiker Under Milky WayHiker Under Milky Way Flowers and Milky WayFlowers and Milky Way Tree Pose at Lake McDonaldTree Pose at Lake McDonald Upper Lake McDonald Valley SunsetUpper Lake McDonald Valley Sunset Haze over Lake McDonaldHaze over Lake McDonald Milky Way and AuroraMilky Way and Aurora Portrait of a KidPortrait of a Kid Marmot on a RockMarmot on a Rock Early Afternoon at Hidden LakeEarly Afternoon at Hidden Lake Evening Light at Hidden LakeEvening Light at Hidden Lake Evening at Hidden LakeEvening at Hidden Lake Hidden Lake PanoramaHidden Lake Panorama Hidden Creek Valley SunsetHidden Creek Valley Sunset DeSmet ProfileDeSmet Profile Lake McDonald Lodge LobbyLake McDonald Lodge Lobby Blood Moon over Snyder RidgeBlood Moon over Snyder Ridge Split Level near first PulloutSplit Level near first Pullout


Sunrise up the Saint Mary ValleySunrise up the Saint Mary Valley Reynolds Creek SunriseReynolds Creek Sunrise Saint Mary Lake ShorelineSaint Mary Lake Shoreline Wild Goose IslandWild Goose Island Aspen Grove SunburstAspen Grove Sunburst Fall in Lake McDonald Valley PanoramaFall in Lake McDonald Valley Panorama Heavens Peak SunsetHeavens Peak Sunset Heavens Peak Red Sky SunsetHeavens Peak Red Sky Sunset Sunset at the Remnants of Clements GlacierSunset at the Remnants of Clements Glacier Going-to-the-Sun Mountain and Blood Moon Double-exposureGoing-to-the-Sun Mountain and Blood Moon Double-exposure Blood Supermoon - Milky Way Double Exposure 9.27.15Blood Supermoon - Milky Way Double Exposure 9.27.15 Lake McDonald Fall ShorelineLake McDonald Fall Shoreline Sunrise over Glacier National ParkSunrise over Glacier National Park Golden LayersGolden Layers Mount Brown and Mount Brown Fire LookoutMount Brown and Mount Brown Fire Lookout Looking Down on Grinnell GlacierLooking Down on Grinnell Glacier Grinnell Glacier, The Garden Wall, and Heavens Peak in the DistanceGrinnell Glacier, The Garden Wall, and Heavens Peak in the Distance Swiftcurrent Lookout From the AirSwiftcurrent Lookout From the Air Grinnell, Salamander, and Gem GlaciersGrinnell, Salamander, and Gem Glaciers Mount Reynolds and Logan Pass AreaMount Reynolds and Logan Pass Area Mount Jackson and Harrison GlacierMount Jackson and Harrison Glacier Mount Stimpson and Mount St. NicholasMount Stimpson and Mount St. Nicholas Saint Mary Lake (2)Saint Mary Lake (2) Logan, Pumpelly, Blakfoot, and Harrison GlaciersLogan, Pumpelly, Blakfoot, and Harrison Glaciers Flinsch Peak in Two MedicineFlinsch Peak in Two Medicine Little Dog and Summit MountainLittle Dog and Summit Mountain Mount St. NicholasMount St. Nicholas Lake McDonald HomecomingLake McDonald Homecoming


Avalanche Lake 11-15-15Avalanche Lake 11-15-15 Lake McDonald Fall Sunset 11.16.15Lake McDonald Fall Sunset 11.16.15 Driftwood Sunset PanoramaDriftwood Sunset Panorama Lake McDonald Morning 11.20.15Lake McDonald Morning 11.20.15 Lake McDonald Sunset Wide Angle 11.20.15Lake McDonald Sunset Wide Angle 11.20.15 Alpenglow at Lake McDonald 11.20.15Alpenglow at Lake McDonald 11.20.15 Sunset on Vaught, Cannon, and BrownSunset on Vaught, Cannon, and Brown Alpenglow Over Lake McDonald ValleyAlpenglow Over Lake McDonald Valley Stanton, Vaught, and McPartland from Lake McDonald LodgeStanton, Vaught, and McPartland from Lake McDonald Lodge Self-portrait - Relaxing on the DockSelf-portrait - Relaxing on the Dock

[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) birds Glacier hiking landscape montana National park sunrise sunset https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2015/12/Glacier-top100-2015 Mon, 14 Dec 2015 00:42:26 GMT
My Return to Alaska https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2015/8/my-return-to-alaska We flew into Anchorage, picked up supplies for the two weeks, and then headed to the park. The initial plan was to head out to Donaho Basin for a backpacking trip, shoot some scenic over flights, then spend another few days in the Bremner historic mining district area. Inevitably, there were some bumps in the road but we were able to figure everything out as we went along.

If you’ve never been to the park, Wrangell is 13.2 million acres, the largest national park in the United States, roughly the size of Switzerland. Access is limited. There is only one main road into the center of the park, which dead ends in the town of Kennicott, a historic copper mining area. This is where we would be based out of for the next 10 days. We spent the first night in the Lodge and then packed for our backpack trip out to Donoho Basin.

Bohemian waxwing - Bombycilla garrulusBohemian waxwing - Bombycilla garrulus

Bohemian Waxwing seen along the McCarthy Road

Tundra Swans - Cygnus columbianusTundra Swans - Cygnus columbianus

Tundra Swans seen along the McCarthy Road

Kennicott Glacier view from Hotel PorchKennicott Glacier view from Hotel Porch

View from the Lodge

In order to get the Donoho basin you are required to traverse the Root glacier roughly 1 mile wide. Once on the west side of the glacier, there is a route towards series of unnamed lakes.  This is where we planned to camp because there are bear boxes. We had a bit of a late start but weren’t too worried since the sun wasn’t setting until 11pm. Hiking across the Root Glacier was a very unique experience. I have traveled next to glaciers and under glaciers, but never on a glacier. It felt exactly as I thought it would, walking on a giant piece of ice. It was fairly slow going because of the difficulty of the terrain, but also because of how scenic it was. 

Hikers on the Root GlacierHikers on the Root GlacierNPS / Jacob W. Frank

People on the Root Glacier

Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (8)Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (8)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (9)Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (9)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Pool on the Root GlacierPool on the Root GlacierNPS / Jacob W. Frank Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (12)Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (12)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (13)Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (13)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Views from the Root Glacier (3)Views from the Root Glacier (3)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Views from the Root Glacier (5)Views from the Root Glacier (5)NPS / Jacob W. Frank

We walked over rivers, along lakes, navigated through crevasses, and over moraines (all on the glacier) until we finally reached the other side. From there we needed to make a decision whether to camp or to continue to push on to the next campsite. Since it was only 5 o’clock and the map said we had 3 miles to go, we made the decision to continue. For those of you who have hiked off-trail bushwhacking in Alaska, you know that 3 miles is no easy task. We hiked, and hiked, and hiked some more, and it seemed that we were barely moving.  When one of our team members fell ill from food poisoning the night before, we decided that we would not make it to the bear boxes that we hoped to camp at and found trees to tie our food up into instead. Once camp was set up and we made dinner it was about 10:30 PM. I can honestly say that it was one of the most difficult hikes that I’ve ever done, not because of the elevation or distance, but rather the difficulty in pushing through the bush with a significantly large and heavy pack.  It seemed all the branches were reaching out to touch me and say, “Slow down, take it all in. There is no need to go so fast.” Ughh.

Lake 2 Creek Sunset and Mount BlackburnLake 2 Creek Sunset and Mount BlackburnNPS / Jacob W. Frank Mount Blackburn and Donoho Peak from Lake 2Mount Blackburn and Donoho Peak from Lake 2NPS / Jacob W. Frank Fireweed Sunset at Lake 2Fireweed Sunset at Lake 2NPS / Jacob W. Frank

When I woke up the next day and stuck my head out of the tent it was apparent that had made the right decision to push on. It was a beautiful sunrise with the perfectly still lake. It looked as if it were going to be great weather all day. We grabbed breakfast, packed our daypacks, and headed further up valley towards Gates glacier. As we made it past the second lake and eventually to the third lake we were directly alongside the Kennicott glacier. The 16K ft foot mountain Mt. Blackburn rose in the distance behind a sea of ice.

Morning Reflections from Lake 2 - Donoho BasinMorning Reflections from Lake 2 - Donoho BasinNPS / Jacob W. Frank Gates Glacier From Lake 3 - Donoho BasinGates Glacier From Lake 3 - Donoho BasinNPS / Jacob W. Frank Hiker viewing Kennicott Glacier near Wilderness Boundary - Donoho BasinHiker viewing Kennicott Glacier near Wilderness Boundary - Donoho BasinNPS / Jacob W. Frank Kennicott Glacier Crevasses with BlackburnKennicott Glacier Crevasses with BlackburnNPS / Jacob W. Frank Kennicott Glacier Lateral View - Donoho BasinKennicott Glacier Lateral View - Donoho BasinNPS / Jacob W. Frank Hiking the Kennicott Glacier Lateral Moraine (2)Hiking the Kennicott Glacier Lateral Moraine (2)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Kennicott Glacier and Hidden Creek PassKennicott Glacier and Hidden Creek PassNPS / Jacob W. Frank Panoramic View from Wilderness Boundary - Donoho BasinPanoramic View from Wilderness Boundary - Donoho BasinNPS / Jacob W. Frank

After a few hours of day hiking we decided to turn around, pack up camp, and head to our next camp spot alongside the Root glacier. This time we knew where we were going and we still managed to lose the route and ended up bushwhacking in 10+ ft tall alder. Gotta love AK.

Backpackers Near Lake 2Backpackers Near Lake 2NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Backpackers Bushwhacking in Donoho BasinBackpackers Bushwhacking in Donoho BasinNPS / Jacob W. Frank Porphyry Mountain and National Creek Rock Glacier From Donoho BasinPorphyry Mountain and National Creek Rock Glacier From Donoho BasinNPS / Jacob W. Frank

People are in the photo!!!

Blackburn From Lake 2 - Donoho BasinBlackburn From Lake 2 - Donoho BasinNPS / Jacob W. Frank

Views from first Lake and Mount Blackburn 16Kft​

Hiking the Lateral Morain of Root GlacierHiking the Lateral Morain of Root GlacierNPS / Jacob W. Frank

Once we made back to the Root Glacier it was time for a cocktail or two and a little time to soak in the scenery.

The next morning we woke to another bluebird day. After grabbing some breakfast we only had to traverse the glacier once more, this time deciding to take an alternate route. Walking on a glacier is like being on a maze of ice. You never know when your route will dead-end. Sometimes you can find a work-around; sometimes you just have to backtrack. It makes for fun, but tiring hiking.

Tent View of the Root GlacierTent View of the Root GlacierNPS / Jacob W. Frank Backpackers Headed Towards the Root GlacierBackpackers Headed Towards the Root GlacierNPS / Jacob W. Frank Backpackers Stepping onto the Root GlacierBackpackers Stepping onto the Root GlacierNPS / Jacob W. Frank Backpackers Exploring a pool on the Root Glacier (2)Backpackers Exploring a pool on the Root Glacier (2)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Views from the Root GlacierViews from the Root GlacierNPS / Jacob W. Frank Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (2)Backpackers Exploring the Root Glacier (2)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Recording the Sounds of the Root GlacierRecording the Sounds of the Root GlacierNPS / Jacob W. Frank Ice Climbing on the Root GlacierIce Climbing on the Root GlacierNPS / Jacob W. Frank Ice Climbing on the Root Glacier (3)Ice Climbing on the Root Glacier (3)NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Along the way we found some spectacular scenery and the weather was perfect. So much so that I thought I could catch a tan for a little bit.

The next day was a day of flying. We had two flights scheduled. The first flight we would head south to the Tana River, to the Tana Glacier, Bagley Icefield, and Icy Bay before heading back along Baldwin and Chitina Glaciers.  Instead of picking my favs I put all of them in a slide show so that you can view all of them in order if you like. I have also included a map of all of our flights. This first one is labeled Lynn Flight 1. http://caltopo.com/m/031C

After landing and grabbing lunch we headed back up in the air and out towards Tebay Lakes, the Bremner River, Fan Glacier, then north past the Chitina River to Hidden Creek and the Kennicott Glacier. Here is a slide show from that flight. It’s amazing what we saw up there. I think I am forever ruined about what will excite me in the future. I can’t remember the last time I felt so blown away by what I was seeing. Oh wait, yes I can. It was in Denali NP looking at the Mountain. Alaska is awesome if you aren’t picking up what I am laying down…

The next day was spent conducting interviews of some local residents before having the chance to tour the historic Kennicott Copper Mill. This entire building is nuts. It’s a 14 story building and was used to mine the copper our of the surrounding mountains. It was the most productive copper mill in the world profiting nearly $1.5 billion in today’s dollars. Everything was vertically integrated from the mines, to the mill, to the railway to the coast, and eventual boats that would transport the copper down to Seattle.  It’s really an amazing sight to see.

The next day we would be flying into Bremner historic mining district where we would be camping for the next 3 days. We were concerned about getting stuck out there so we planned for an early pickup just incase the weather turned and we needed to spend a few extra days out there. This time we were allowed to “pack” heavy because we were not carrying all of our gear. So we brought everything including a case of beer. We had a late arrival due to our plane breaking down just before takeoff (That’s not what you want to hear about your plane before you get in it). So when we landed we spent the remaining time exploring the area around camp and hit the sack.

Backpackers Watching their Flight LeaveBackpackers Watching their Flight LeaveNPS / Jacob W. Frank Bremner Campsite (2)Bremner Campsite (2)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Wildflowers of Bremner (6)Wildflowers of Bremner (6)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Dinner Near Bremner Landing StripDinner Near Bremner Landing StripNPS / Jacob W. Frank

The next day we woke up and explored around camp for a short while before heading up to the Bremner bunkhouse and checking out all the historic garbage. When I say garbage I mean artifacts including buildings, a powerhouse, cars, tractors, stoves, tools, etc. All very cool, very heavy stuff. It’s crazy they were able to get everything out to this remote spot. The stuff is so cool in fact that they hire volunteers to live on site and make sure people don’t steal anything. We met the volunteers, and their dog companion, and had a great time chatting about their experiences so far. The wildflowers were also still blooming despite a rather dry summer so I was excited to see all the familiar faces.

Wildflowers of Bremner (3)Wildflowers of Bremner (3)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Bremner Mine EquipmentBremner Mine EquipmentNPS / Jacob W. Frank Bremner Historic DistrictBremner Historic DistrictNPS / Jacob W. Frank Taking off from Bremner Landing Strip (2)Taking off from Bremner Landing Strip (2)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Hiking from the Landing Strip (3)Hiking from the Landing Strip (3)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Bremner CrossBremner CrossNPS / Jacob W. Frank Bremner VehiclesBremner VehiclesNPS / Jacob W. Frank Bremner Equipment (2)Bremner Equipment (2)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Bremner ToolsBremner ToolsNPS / Jacob W. Frank Inside Dry HouseInside Dry HouseNPS / Jacob W. Frank

Powerhouse Equipment (4)Powerhouse Equipment (4)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Powerhouse EquipmentPowerhouse EquipmentNPS / Jacob W. Frank

From the mining camp we headed up to one of the area tarns that was used as an aqueduct for the area water. Along the way we saw some nice waterfalls, cool animals like ptarmigan, pika, and marmots, and some great views of the mountains. Once we were done we headed back to the bunkhouse and made a plan to hike with the volunteer couple the following day.

Waterfalls Along the Aqueduct (2)Waterfalls Along the Aqueduct (2)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Hoary MarmotHoary MarmotNPS / Jacob W. Frank Collared Pika (3) - Ochotona collarisCollared Pika (3) - Ochotona collarisNPS / Jacob W. Frank Collared Pika (2) - Ochotona collarisCollared Pika (2) - Ochotona collarisNPS / Jacob W. Frank Wildflowers Along Shore of Tarn Above AqueductWildflowers Along Shore of Tarn Above AqueductNPS / Jacob W. Frank Historic Tools in BremnerHistoric Tools in BremnerNPS / Jacob W. Frank Hikers Along Shore of Tarn Above AqueductHikers Along Shore of Tarn Above AqueductNPS / Jacob W. Frank Hiker in Aqueduct DrainageHiker in Aqueduct DrainageNPS / Jacob W. Frank

The next day we woke up to the entire valley covered in fog. We took the old mining road up to another site where they used to mine for gold. As we went up in elevation we hike out of the fog and the sun was burning off what remained. Immediately when we made it into the cirque basin I noticed more pika, ptarmigan, and marmots. The ptarmigan were everywhere in fact. We noticed that the rock ptarmigan at higher elevations were not as skittish as the willow ptarmigan at lower elevations. In fact they seemed to like us. We even had a few chicks walk right up to us and scope us out. After a beautiful day of hiking we headed back to camp and waited for the plane to pick us up. 

Camping in the FogCamping in the FogNPS / Jacob W. Frank Wildflowers of Bremner (7)Wildflowers of Bremner (7)NPS / Jacob W. Frank Old Chevy in the Bremner DistrictOld Chevy in the Bremner DistrictNPS / Jacob W. Frank Rock Ptarmigan and Chicks - Lagopus mutaRock Ptarmigan and Chicks - Lagopus mutaNPS / Jacob W. Frank Wildflowers of BremnerWildflowers of BremnerNPS / Jacob W. Frank Taking off from Bremner Landing StripTaking off from Bremner Landing StripNPS / Jacob W. Frank

Once we were back in McCarthy we headed out for dinner and dumped our memory cards in preparation for our final day of flying.

The weather was a little iffy but since we didn’t have a particular agenda for this flight we were able to seek out the good weather. We went up the Nizina River to the Nizina, Federika, and Russel Glaciers via Skolai pass and then over to the Bonanza Ridge area including the Stairway Icefall, Root/Gates/Kennicott glaciers. This day wasn’t as spectacular as the other flights, but it was still a good opportunity to shoot some other areas of the park we had yet to see.

I mentioned that we had the chance to head out to Bremner for our overnight trip but we were supposed to hit Skolai Pass area also. I didn’t really know what I was missing until this flight. If you go to Wrangell for a fly-in trip, Skolai is like a mini Switzerland. If I get the chance to go back I hope that I can get a few days in that area.

After that flight our trip was pretty much over. We turned in all of our flight equipment, headed back to Anchorage to drop off the car. Then we headed out for some celebratory drinks. We had no car so we didn’t need to worry about a DD so we were all having a great time. So much so that when I ordered my 3rd or 4th drink I felt really tipsy, even sitting down. I looked at my drink and thought to myself, I better slow down here a little. Then I looked up and realized that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. It wasn’t the alcohol making me feel tipsy but rather we were in the middle of a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. The ENTIRE building was shaking and people started standing up. Apparently that is a thing? After that we headed out to dinner and had a few more drinks before calling it a night to make our early flights the next morning.

Overall I shot around 6500 photos in 10 days pairing that down to about 500. The majority of those shots came during the scenic flights. It was totally amazing to see this park from the air. You lose all sense of scale when you are up there. Mountains that look close enough to crash into are a quarter mile away. Icebergs the size of houses are just dots in the bay. It’s the only way to really “see” the majority of the park. It’s a wild and untamed place. You could take any individual feature from this park whether it’s a mountain, waterfall, glacier, lake, etc. and place it in the lower 48 and it would be its own National Park. But here, it’s just another unnamed feature. Alaska really is the last frontier. It’s so freaking big and majestic that you can’t help but be humbled by it.

Going back to Alaska was like a breath of fresh air. It also sounds like there is opportunity to return to Alaska next summer for a chance to work with a different park, possibly Lake Clark or Katmai. I will be in Rocky Mountain, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks next month. If you are in the area and would like to meet up for a drink, hike, or drink while hiking just let me know! Thanks again for following along with my travels and sorry it’s been so long. 

Cheers and happy travels!



[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2015/8/my-return-to-alaska Mon, 31 Aug 2015 20:37:00 GMT
My Winter in Yellowstone https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2015/4/my-winter-in-yellowstone Hey everyone, sorry for waiting so long to post but I have been fairly busy moving and I don't have internet these days. I just arrived to my new job in Glacier National Park and I figure it would be a great time to recap my winter in Yellowstone. So grab a snack and get comfy because it's gonna be a long one...

Well it came and went pretty fast, and I'm not really sure I would call it a winter. It resembled winter at times, but most of February was over 50ºF everyday. It even rained so hard one day that I thought I had been transplanted back to Florida. Regardless, it was a very cool experience and I got to see and do some pretty spectacular things. The first and most obvious is the wildlife. I saw loads of bison, elk, deer, coyotes, wolves, pronghorn, a few foxes, some new birds, a even a few weasels. Yellowstone is the only place where I have ever been able to use the old, "Sorry I'm late. I couldn't leave my house because there was a bison in the way" line and people don't even bat an eyelash. The park receives over 3.5 Million people per year and only about 120,000 visit in the winter. I have now spent so much more time in the park during the winter that I don't even remember what it looks like in the summer. If you've never been in the winter, I would say this is a pretty accurate representation what you could see in a few days, or in a few hours if you are the lucky type.

I arrived the first week of November and I was very excited about the fact that I was going to be in the park all winter. I had visited the park the previous winter and had a spectacular time. It was already fairly cold, about -10ºF, but not very much snow on the ground. Our first foray into the park was a drive with some friends down to Norris Geyser Basin just before the road closed to wheeled traffic for the winter. It was awesome to say the least.

RoadblockRoadblock Norris Geyser Basin ReflectionsNorris Geyser Basin Reflections Ghost TreesGhost Trees Front Porch SunriseFront Porch Sunrise

Most of my free time was spent trying to get further in the park. When we did go we usually saw some pretty awesome things. Bald Eagle - Haliaeetus leucocephalusBald Eagle - Haliaeetus leucocephalus Canary Spring PanoramaCanary Spring Panorama Upper TerracesUpper Terraces Undine FallsUndine Falls Bull Elk in Blacktail FlatsBull Elk in Blacktail Flats Lone Tree in YellowstoneLone Tree in Yellowstone Home on the RangeHome on the Range

My first attempt to find some wolves came one morning after a coworker told me they found a wolf kill in the river near my house. By the time I had got off work it was already too dark to try and see it so I decided to wake up before sunrise and head down the the river. I was greeted with a pretty spectacular sunrise. You can also notice the lack of snow. 

Lava Creek Trail SunriseLava Creek Trail Sunrise Sheep Mountain Sunrise PanoramaSheep Mountain Sunrise Panorama

When I eventually found the kill site it was almost completely stripped clean. We arrived to ravens and magpies feasting and a lone eagle soaring overhead.

My Favorite Band (of Coyotes)My Favorite Band (of Coyotes)

Then we finally started to get some snow. Not heaps, but enough that the park was able to open up the road for oversnow travel for the season. One of the days I was able to travel to the interior it was it was -35ºF in West Yellowstone, which is where we were heading for the day.  But when it's cold in Yellowstone, I think it's the most beautiful. Especially near the thermals.

Natural Black and WhiteNatural Black and White Crepuscular Rays in YellowstoneCrepuscular Rays in Yellowstone

On the way out to West Yellowstone the weather was SPECTACULAR. The Madison was teeming with waterfowl and even though it was extremely cold, the sun kept you just warm enough that you weren't uncomfortable.

Trumpeter Swans on the MadisonTrumpeter Swans on the Madison Coyote on the RoadCoyote on the Road Coyote Near 7-mile BridgeCoyote Near 7-mile Bridge

As the sun started to set it was apparent that we needed to get home because the temperature was falling fast and we still had over 30 miles before we made it home. The Long Road HomeThe Long Road Home

Then the new year rolled around and we got the first real snow of the winter season. A few dumps that totaled over 2 feet over the course of the week and it was starting to look like winter. Also, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a few days out in Lamar Valley at the Buffalo Ranch for a program on Wolves. The coolest thing I learned was about the history and reintroduction of wolves into the Park. Only a week before this program was the 20th anniversary of the reintroduction and little did I know I would be snowshoeing out to the original pen site where the wolves were kept back in 1995. On the trip it was obvious that we were in wolf territory because of all the recent tracks just behind my cabin.

Yellowstone's Deadliest PredatorYellowstone's Deadliest Predator Coyote Tracks in LamarCoyote Tracks in Lamar Snowshoeing in Lamar ValleySnowshoeing in Lamar Valley

The next morning we woke up before the sun and headed deeper into the park to look for wolves. We heard howls at a distance and eventually found wolves, but they were extremely far away. Even though I couldn't see wolves close enough to shoot them (with a camera), it was still a beautiful morning in the valley at -15ºF.

Predawn at the ConfluencePredawn at the Confluence Hoarfrosted TreesHoarfrosted Trees Rams on the RidgeRams on the Ridge

And one even came down a little bit closer to say good morning.

Through the FrostThrough the Frost

The day eventually turned out to be a spectacular day for scenery. Especially near Soda Butte, which is one of my favorite places in the northern part of the park. Sunny Day at Soda ButteSunny Day at Soda Butte A lone TreeA lone Tree

Winter Light in Yellowstone is pretty awesome, especially in Lamar. The light changes so quickly and you shot can change from minute to minute. These two shots were only takes about 15 minutes apart. 

Afternoon in Lamar Valley PanoramaAfternoon in Lamar Valley Panorama Sunset in Lamar ValleySunset in Lamar Valley

It was a great ending to a great day. The next morning we got up early again and headed out to look for wolves. We heard there had been a kill overnight and the wolves were spotted heading south of the road. When we arrived to the scene, we had missed the wolves again but got to see some very cool birds and coyotes pick at the scraps. The pecking order is that the wolves kill, the coyotes scavenge, followed by eagles, ravens, and magpies. We missed the wolves but got to see the rest.  King of the BirdsKing of the Birds

After leaving the kill site we hiked out to a historic den site where we were able to get a first hand view of what a wolf den site looked like. When we arrived back at the road a passing visitor informed us that there was a "wolf" on the side of the road a few miles back. Now it's not that I don't believe people when they say they see wolves, but because they said it so nonchalantly, I assumed that it must have been a coyote. The person informed us that they had a photo and was happy to show us. Sure enough it was a wolf, so we all piled back into the vehicle and made our way in that direction. Historic Wolf DenHistoric Wolf Den

When we arrived we were greeted with this lone wolf that hung out for a minute or two before deciding he was bored and leaving the scene.

Napping on a RockNapping on a Rock Lone Wolf (2)Lone Wolf (2) Shaking off the SnowShaking off the Snow Lone WolfLone Wolf

I think it was probably my wildlife highlight of the winter. After that weekend the weather started to change. We stopped getting snow, but it also started to warm drastically. It was getting above freezing as a high everyday so if you wanted to ski, you needed to go early before the snow turned to mashed potatoes. So the best day of skiing we had came on a trip out to Tower Fall. We headed into the park and into the inversion. 

Foggy SunriseFoggy Sunrise Summit Soda at Calcite SpringsSummit Soda at Calcite Springs Tower Fall SkierTower Fall Skier Nature ProvidesNature Provides

My next big trip into the park was getting the opportunity to head over to Hayden Valley. It was another beautiful day outside and even though the snow in Mammoth was mostly gone, Canyon and Hayden receive much more snow and are usually much colder temps also. So when we started out on our trip the snow conditions were pretty bad, but got better by the time we were halfway to Norris. 

Norris Geyser BasinNorris Geyser Basin View from Lookout PointView from Lookout Point Grand Canyon of the YellowstoneGrand Canyon of the Yellowstone Lower Falls from Artist PointLower Falls from Artist Point MeanderingMeandering Swans through the TreesSwans through the Trees

Not long after our trip down to Hayden I visited Old Faithful for the day. Even though we were inside most of the day we had a great ride down in the morning and a beautiful sunset on the way back in the evening.

Snowy Gibbon FallsSnowy Gibbon Falls Beaver Lake SunsetBeaver Lake Sunset

For our last snowmobile trip of the season we were able to go down to Old Faithful and spend the night with some friends in the interior. The weather was pretty overcast which didn't fare well for scenic shots, but I was able to get a couple keepers. Lone BisonLone Bison Bison on the FireholeBison on the Firehole

My last snowshoe hike of the season we decided to go find a cave I had heard about. We did end up finding it and we were not disappointed.

Ice CaveIce Cave

The last weekend I was in the park before I would be leaving would be the full moon. So as a goodbye trip we decided to grab some beers, drive out into Lamar Valley, and look for a good place to watch the moon rise. We weren't really sure where it was going to happen but right as we made our way past Pebble Creek campground the moon popped over the ridge. We had to wait a few minutes for the clouds to clear, but when they did we were able to grab some great shots. 

Full Moon over Thunderer in YellowstoneFull Moon over Thunderer in Yellowstone

As a cherry on top we got some nice color at sunset as well.

Alpenglow in Lamar ValleyAlpenglow in Lamar Valley

There were things about the winter that could have definitely been better, but most of those things were out of my control. The weather being the main one. I was really hoping for a chance to get out and ski often, but it seemed to snow during the week when I was working, and melt by the time the weekend rolled around. Despite the weather and being chained to a desk most days, it was really an overall great experience and it reminded me how spectacular a place Yellowstone is. I really need to get back to the park again during the summer so I can see the park away from the road corridors. Who knows, maybe I work there again sometime in the future.

As for now, I am getting excited about the possibility of what this summer brings now that I am in the Glacier area.

Lake McDonald ShorelineLake McDonald Shoreline Crashing Waves on Lake McDonaldCrashing Waves on Lake McDonald Lake McDonald Shoreline SunsetLake McDonald Shoreline Sunset Lake McDonald Valley - March28, 2015Lake McDonald Valley - March28, 2015

Once I find a place to live and settle down I hope to be able to send regular updates. But until then I will keep getting out and shooting whenever I can. I hope this finds you all well and hope to hear from you soon!



[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) faithful glacier Montana old spring supermoon winter Wyoming Yellowstone https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2015/4/my-winter-in-yellowstone Wed, 15 Apr 2015 20:53:00 GMT
East Coast Trip and Yellowstone Trip https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2014/11/yellowstone-trip Hey Everyone!

We made it here the day it started snowing in addition to subzero temps. It's not enough snow to ski yet, but a little too much snow to hike. But before I get into that, I recently returned from a short trip to the east coast to see my photos in the Smithsonian and check out a few parks as well. It was pretty much a whirlwind tour.

THE PLAN: Arrive in DC, pick up our rental car, and drive towards Shenandoah National Park that night. Drive Skyline Drive through the park, hike as time allowed, and then continue on towards the north entrance of Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Then head out to Cades Cove for sunrise and continue on to Charleston, SC. From there we would spend a few days in Charleston, and make a day trip up to Congaree National Park where we could paddle and hike for the day. From Charleston we would head back to DC, drop off the car, and spend the long weekend in the city visiting museums and monuments before flying back to Denver and starting the new job in Yellowstone.

The drive through Shenandoah was really nice. Even though the fall color in the park was mostly gone, we did find a few spots that still held their leaves. We got a chance to watch the sunrise, get out on a short hike to a couple waterfalls, and check out the new exhibits in the visitor center.

Shenandoah SunriseShenandoah Sunrise

Shenandoah Sunrise

First Light on the Fall ColorsFirst Light on the Fall Colors

First Light on the Fall Color

Darj Hollow FallsDarj Hollow Falls

Dark Hollow Falls

I was surprised to learn that both Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks were created using eminent domain. The history of both parks include some deep-seeded resentment for the government, and rightly so. People in Shenandoah were told that they would be able to stay on their land in the newly created park, then that decision was reversed by the next administration. I was also surprised to learn that Shenandoah was also home to a campground that was only for "negroes." I am really glad that the national park doesn't shy away from topics that may be uncomfortable to discuss because it is a reminder that segregation is not in our too distant past and that racism was an institutional part of our government. From there we headed to Pigeon Forge to stay for the night.

Now I won't get into it too much, but WTF is Pigeon Forge?!? It's like a honkey-tonk Vegas in the middle of nowhere. As we were driving through the city to find a place to eat we were driving through a never-ending gauntlet of amusement rides, dinner theaters, and flashing signs. The entire town is a tourist-trap. I have no idea how that town exists or why people go there.

The next morning we woke up early again, this time it was cold and foggy. We made our way into the park and started driving on the one-way road out to Cades Cove. Just as we came out of the trees we were greeted to an iconic misty-morning sunrise of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Sunrise in Cades CoveSunrise in Cades Cove

Sunrise in Cades Cove

Morning DewMorning Dew

Morning Dew on the Spider Webs

Morning Light in Cades CoveMorning Light in Cades Cove

Morning Light on the Webs

Morning in Cades CoveMorning in Cades Cove

Pasture Sunrise in Cades Cove

Misty Morning in Cades CoveMisty Morning in Cades Cove

Misty Morning Sunrise and Spiderwebs

Once we made it to the Cades Cove ranger station we watched live demonstrations at the Cable Mill and Blacksmith shop. Both the guy in the mill and blacksmith shop were descendants of the people who settled the area. It was really cool to talk to the people who had a strong connection to the land that is now the national park.

Cable Mill in FallCable Mill in Fall

Fall colors at the Cable Mill

After leaving Cades Cove we drove south towards Cherokee and stopped to see the sights along the way.

Meigs Falls in AutmnMeigs Falls in Autmn

Meigs Falls in Autumn

Fall ColorsFall Colors

Fall Color in Great Smoky Moutains


Endless Ridges

We eventually made it to Charleston and took the next day to relax and hang with family. After catching up on some much needed sleep we hit the road again for Congaree National Park. This park was initially created as a national monument and later upgraded to a national park in 2003. I had heard great things about it so I had been wanting to go for sometime now, but when I looked on the website it mentioned that the best way to see the park was on one of their kayak tours. I looked to sign up for one but they weren't being offered when we were there so I reached out to the park and asked if they were in need of some photos in exchange for a "guided tour" on the water. They were happy to oblige and Ranger Lindsey was our guide for the day. She was very knowledgeable and friendly and gave us a great tour. We were even lucky enough to see 4 river otters. Lindsey told us that in 2 years of working for the park she has only previously seen 3 otters before that day. So definitely a big sighting!

Kayaking Cedar CreekKayaking Cedar Creek

Setting out on Cedar Creek

Reflections on Cedar CreekReflections on Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek Reflections

Corrie and Lindsay on Cedar CreekCorrie and Lindsay on Cedar Creek

Corrie and Our Fearless Leader

Reflections on Cedar Creek (2)Reflections on Cedar Creek (2)

Widest Part of Cedar Creek on our Paddle

Bald Cypress Reflections (2)Bald Cypress Reflections (2)

Bald Cypress Reflections

Kayaker on Cedar CreekKayaker on Cedar Creek

Morning Light on the Creek

Kayakers on Cedar Creek (3)Kayakers on Cedar Creek (3)

Light at the End of the Tunnel

North American River Otter (2) - Lontra canadensisNorth American River Otter (2) - Lontra canadensis

Our River Otter Friend!

After our paddle we got back on terra firma and decided to go for a short hike to check out the park on foot. We saw a cardinal, a young white-tailed buck, rat snake, and some champion trees. I believe we saw the champion loblolly pine tree. It was a huge freaking tree. 

Black Rat Snake - Pantherophis obsoletusBlack Rat Snake - Pantherophis obsoletus

Black Rat Snake

Once we were back in Charleston we were looking for a few things to check out in the area during the day and stumbled on a private park called Cypress Gardens. They have a swamp on the property and boats for you to use, aquariums, and have a butterfly house. So we spent the day on the water, looking for small wildlife, and trying to take pictures of the butterflies in the butterfly house. They are tricky buggers to shoot because they wouldn't stay still.

Sunning on a LongSunning on a Long

Turtles on a log

Pond LilyPond Lily

Pond Lily Bloom

Turtle ReflectionsTurtle Reflections

Turtle Reflections

Cypress GardensCypress Gardens

Cypress Gardens

Carolina Anole - Anolis carolinensisCarolina Anole - Anolis carolinensis

Carolina Anole

Reversed ReflectionsReversed Reflections

Reversed Reflections

Baby GatorBaby Gator

Baby Gator


From Charleston we headed back to DC and dropped the car off at the airport and met up with my family at the hotel. The next day was supposed to be the nicest while we were there so we decided to do the mall that day. We went up in the Washington Monument and visited the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the U.S Marine Corps Memorial. It was a day full of patriotic sight-seeing and some real-world reminders about what this country has gone through to get where we are today.

Washington MonumentWashington Monument

Washington Memorial at 555' 5 1/8"

One of the FallenOne of the Fallen

Arlington Funeral Procession

On GuardOn Guard

Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Changing of the GuardChanging of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard (2)Changing of the Guard (2)

Changing of the Guard

Arlington National CemeteryArlington National Cemetery

Lives Lost

Washington Monument seen From Arlington National CemeteryWashington Monument seen From Arlington National Cemetery

Washington Monument Seen From Arlington National Cemetery

Sunset at Marine Corps War MemorialSunset at Marine Corps War Memorial

Sunset at US Marine Corps Memorial

The rest of the trip we spent wandering around the museums including Ford's Theater, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and the U.S Botanical Gardens.

Ford's TheaterFord's Theater

Ford's Theater and the Balcony Seat Where Lincoln was Shot

Lots of Cool Flowers in the US Botanical Gardens

Group at the MallGroup at the Mall

Family Shot at Washington Monument

Me at the SmithsonianMe at the Smithsonian

Me and My Photo in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

The trip to DC was a great. I was humbled to get to see my work in the Smithsonian and it was a blast to see new parks, make new friends, and see friends and family. Then we flew back to Denver and started packing for the trip to Yellowstone. 

Eye on the PrizeEye on the Prize

Eye on the Prize


Standing in the Road

Fresh Snow in Norris Geyser BasinFresh Snow in Norris Geyser Basin

Fresh Snow in Norris Geyser Basin

Ghost TreesGhost Trees

Ghost Trees



Norris Geyser Basin ReflectionsNorris Geyser Basin Reflections

Norris Geyser Basin Reflections

I hope this update finds everyone well, and if you happen to be in the area, be sure to look me up!


[email protected] (Jacob W. Frank Photography) https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2014/11/yellowstone-trip Sun, 16 Nov 2014 03:21:07 GMT
My First Summer in Rocky https://www.jwfrank.com/blog/2014/10/summer-in-rocky I hope you enjoy looking at the photos as much as I did taking them. Rocky is a special place... Thanks to everyone who made it a summer to remember! - Jake

Back Yard AlpenglowBack Yard Alpenglow Winter Melting AwayWinter Melting Away View From Lumpy RidgeView From Lumpy Ridge Gem LakeGem Lake Snowy Trail Ridge RoadSnowy Trail Ridge Road Ypsilon, Chiquita, and Chapin SunsetYpsilon, Chiquita, and Chapin Sunset Moose Cow in the FieldMoose Cow in the Field Broad-tailed Hummingbird - Selasphorus platycercusBroad-tailed Hummingbird - Selasphorus platycercus Meatball SquirrelMeatball Squirrel Mallards - Anas platyrhynchosMallards - Anas platyrhynchos Wilson's Warbler - Cardellina pusillaWilson's Warbler - Cardellina pusilla American Pipit Ground NestAmerican Pipit Ground Nest Ute Trail Hiker in the AplineUte Trail Hiker in the Apline Ute Trail AlpineUte Trail Alpine Honeymoon Over Bear LakeHoneymoon Over Bear Lake Sprague Lake ReflectionsSprague Lake Reflections Morning in Moraine ParkMorning in Moraine Park View from Sundance MountainView from Sundance Mountain Sunset on Longs PeakSunset on Longs Peak Sunset over Deer MountainSunset over Deer Mountain Meeker and Longs from Estes ConeMeeker and Longs from Estes Cone Sunset and Lava Cliffs From 12K ftSunset and Lava Cliffs From 12K ft Sunset Through the CairnSunset Through the Cairn Sunset on CCYSunset on CCY Elk on Sundance MountainElk on Sundance Mountain Ross Avens in the Evening LightRoss Avens in the Evening Light Hazy Sunset PanoramaHazy Sunset Panorama Hazy Sunset From Sundance MountainHazy Sunset From Sundance Mountain Milky Way and Sky Glow Over Bear LakeMilky Way and Sky Glow Over Bear Lake Pond Near Lake HiyahaPond Near Lake Hiyaha Field of DreamsField of Dreams Geum rossii in the AlpineGeum rossii in the Alpine Elk Calf in the AlpineElk Calf in the Alpine Pika with AvensPika with Avens Bear Lake Sunrise PanoramaBear Lake Sunrise Panorama Napping MarmotNapping Marmot Evening BeersEvening Beers South Ute Trail Ridge Sunset (2)South Ute Trail Ridge Sunset (2) South Ute Trail Ridge SunsetSouth Ute Trail Ridge Sunset Sunrise on Old Fall River RoadSunrise on Old Fall River Road Early Morning on the CCY TrailEarly Morning on the CCY Trail Chiquita Creek Drainage and Horseshoe ParkChiquita Creek Drainage and Horseshoe Park Avens on Chiquita and YpsilonAvens on Chiquita and Ypsilon Hiking the Ridge to YpsilonHiking the Ridge to Ypsilon Ridge Walking YpsilonRidge Walking Ypsilon Ross Avens and Never Summer MountainRoss Avens and Never Summer Mountain Old Man of the MountainOld Man of the Mountain The Road HomeThe Road Home The PoolThe Pool Fern Falls LandscapeFern Falls Landscape First View of Lost Creek FallsFirst View of Lost Creek Falls Sunset From Huffer's HillSunset From Huffer's Hill Summit Soda Syndicate on Huffer's HillSummit Soda Syndicate on Huffer's Hill Sunrise at Timberline FallsSunrise at Timberline Falls Jon Overlooking Sky Pond and Loch ValeJon Overlooking Sky Pond and Loch Vale Sharktooth Ridge, Sky Pond, and Lake of GlassSharktooth Ridge, Sky Pond, and Lake of Glass Fields of BistortFields of Bistort Sky PondSky Pond Young Elk in the SunYoung Elk in the Sun Badger in the Front YardBadger in the Front Yard Continental Divide Near Hallet PeakContinental Divide Near Hallet Peak Hikers on The SharkstoothHikers on The Sharkstooth Group on Andrews GlacierGroup on Andrews Glacier Azure and Inkwell Lakes from IdaAzure and Inkwell Lakes from Ida Summit Sodas on IdaSummit Sodas on Ida Sunset at Fern LakeSunset at Fern Lake Debris in Fern LakeDebris in Fern Lake Summer into FallSummer into Fall Relaxing in the AspensRelaxing in the Aspens Rocky Mountain HighRocky Mountain High Mouth of Dream LakeMouth of Dream Lake Emerald Lake PanoramaEmerald Lake Panorama Forest Canyon and Lost Creek FallsForest Canyon and Lost Creek Falls Self-portrait Upper Lost Creek FallsSelf-portrait Upper Lost Creek Falls Rocks and Water Near Sky PondRocks and Water Near Sky Pond Columbines and Sharktooth RidgeColumbines and Sharktooth Ridge Badger in the Front Yard (4)Badger in the Front Yard (4) Butterfly on BistortButterfly on Bistort Top of SundanceTop of Sundance Sundance ProposalSundance Proposal Curious PikaCurious Pika Golden-mantled Ground SquirrelGolden-mantled Ground Squirrel Trevor Hiking Lava Cliffs (2)Trevor Hiking Lava Cliffs (2) Tundra Sunset HikeTundra Sunset Hike Tundra CartwheelTundra Cartwheel Lava Cliffs SunsetLava Cliffs Sunset Crepuscular RaysCrepuscular Rays Sunset From Trail Ridge RoadSunset From Trail Ridge Road Mom and Friends Watching the SunsetMom and Friends Watching the Sunset Boulderfield SunriseBoulderfield Sunrise Self-portrait Chasm ViewSelf-portrait Chasm View The Diamond and Chasm LakeThe Diamond and Chasm Lake-
Projection: Cylindrical (1)
FOV: 186 x 103
Ev: 14.45
Mount Lady Washington and Chasm Lake from Chasm ViewMount Lady Washington and Chasm Lake from Chasm View Chasm Lake JunctinoChasm Lake Junctino Cooling off with some UpslopeCooling off with some Upslope Bridal Veil FallsBridal Veil Falls   Fogbow on SandbeachFogbow on Sandbeach Mount Meeker from Sandbeach LakeMount Meeker from Sandbeach Lake   Thunder Lake at NightThunder Lake at Night Sunrise at Thunder Lake (2)Sunrise at Thunder Lake (2)