Tag Archives: Alaska Wildflowers

Top Shots 2015

Hello Everyone! 2015 was a great, great year. Traveling took me from the North Slope of Alaska  to the southern coast of Texas. Professionally I am headed back to the “real world” after completing my thesis in December, and will enjoying a married life by mid-summer! The images below are some of my Top Shots from 2015. If there was a blog post associated with the image I included it in the caption. I hope you enjoy.

If you have enjoyed the blog this year please take the time to pass it on to a friend who would enjoy it too, and encourage them to sign up for the emails. Thanks all!

Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis has become an addiction of mine, and these two particular some of my favorites from the season.

Sun-kissed Aurora, Fairbanks, Alaska
Sun-kissed Aurora, Fairbanks, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/the-sun-kissed-aurora/)
Aurora and a moonset, Fairbanks, Alaska
Aurora and a moonset, Fairbanks, Alaska  (http://ianajohnson.com/the-negative-40f-aurora-club/)

 

Dog Sledding

Dog sledding in Alaska has been a tremendous treat, and there couldn’t be a better mentor than my friend Jeff Deeter at Black Spruce Dog Sledding.

George, taking a break on the trail. Fairbanks, Alaska
George, taking a break on the trail. Fairbanks, Alaska
"Picket" at the Crowberry Public Use Cabin, White Mountains, Alaska
“Picket” at the Crowberry Public Use Cabin, White Mountains, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/by-a-team-of-seven-into-heaven/)

Landscapes

These array of landscape shots capture the beauty and phenomena of Alaska and beyond.

Alaska Range in the pre-dawn. Donnelly Creek, Alaska
Alaska Range in the pre-dawn. Donnelly Creek, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/highlights-of-an-alaskan-bird-a-thon/)
Inside Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska
Inside Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/into-the-mouth-of-an-ice-beast/)
Star-trails in a winter wonderland, Fairbanks, Alaska
Star-trails in a winter wonderland, Fairbanks, Alaska
Windy day and a half moon at Polychrome Pass, Denali National Park, Alaska
Windy day and a half moon at Polychrome Pass, Denali National Park, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/a-portrait-of-the-great-one/)
Mount Denali Panorama, Denali National Park, Alaska
Mount Denali Panorama, Denali National Park, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/a-portrait-of-the-great-one/)
Matanuska Glacier, Alaska
Matanuska Glacier, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/matanuska-glacier-peril/)
Summer Solstice on the North Slope, Galbraith Lake, Alaska
Summer Solstice on the North Slope, Galbraith Lake, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/solstice-solitude-soliloquy/)
Thunderstorm at the Lake, Minnesota
Thunderstorm at the Lake, Minnesota (http://ianajohnson.com/thunderstorm-at-the-lake/)

Wildlife

From the bottom of tide pools to the tops of mountains, it has been a great year to shoot wildlife!

Breaching Humpback Whale, Seward, Alaska
Breaching Humpback Whale, Seward, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/a-whale-of-tale/)
Anemone in a tide-pool. Homer, Alaska
Anemone in a tide-pool. Homer, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/on-the-beaches-of-homer/)
American Golden Plover, North Slope, Alaska
American Golden Plover, North Slope, Alaska
Northern Hawk Owl, Dalton Highway, Alaska
Northern Hawk Owl, Dalton Highway, Alaska
Caribou, Denali National Park
Caribou, Denali National Park
Willow Ptarmigan, Denali Highway, Alaska
Willow Ptarmigan, Denali Highway, Alaska
Woodfrog, Fairbanks, Alaska
Woodfrog, Fairbanks, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/a-wood-frog-blog/)
Sandhill Crane Silhouette
Sandhill Crane Silhouette
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Green Wing Teal
Green-wing Teal, Porcupine River, Alaska (http://ianajohnson.com/go-when-the-river-says-go/)
Cross Fox
Cross Fox in Fort Yukon, Alaska.

Flowers

Fireweed are iconic to Alaska, and I love how a single stalk seems to stand out above the others here.

Standing out.
A broad field of fireweed where one seems to stand out over the rest.
Single Lily
A single white lily in Minnesota.

Miscellaneous

Dew of Summer
The world reflected over and over in the heavy dew of summer. (http://ianajohnson.com/on-that-misty-minnesota-morn/)

Top Video

Alpine Summer in Full Bloom : Wickersham Dome, AK

It’s been a mild summer in Alaska so far. Temps have been pushing to about 75 degrees in the afternoons and hovering around 50 degrees at night. The conditions could not be MORE perfect to be out-and-about!

I’m just diving in Alaskan flower identification with many of the early summer species coming into full bloom. On the way to Wickersham Dome there is a great assortment of alpine species which can be enjoyed in the open, windy areas out of the clutches of the mosquito clouds. The flowers are beautiful, and this one, 5 mile hike provided well over a dozen species of flowers in all shades of color.

Like I said, I am new to AK flower ID, so I won’t stand by these ID’s 100%. If you know I have one wrong, please tell me. I know several of those who read this blog have great plant ID skills! Also, there’s a section at the bottom of flowers I have not ID’d yet, I would love to get your input!

Low-bush cranberries were common in the open areas along the trail. These small berries are also known as lingonberries and are great to eat once rip! They’re tart and taut with a satistifying pop. These plants, like many of the alpine species, are very, very close to the ground.

Low-bush Cranberry (Lingonberry)
Low-bush Cranberry (Lingonberry)

 

Low-bush Cranberry (lingonberry)
Low-bush Cranberry (lingonberry)
A swallowtail butterfly feeds on and pollinates some low-bush cranberries near the summit of Wickersham Dome
A swallowtail butterfly feeds on and pollinates some low-bush cranberries near the summit of Wickersham Dome

Another edible plant which was common around the trail were the blueberries. They have just formed their fruits and are a rosy pink. Some more time and lots of sun will turn these little morsels blue.

Wild Blueberry
Wild Blueberry

An Alaskan specialty is the cloud berry. I’ve heard no-one makes cloud berry pie, because they’re so good you eat them all before you get home! :D. The berries form a cluster that looks like salmon spawn.

Cloud Berry
Cloud Berry

Mountain avens are small and beautiful. I actually ran into the mustache shaped seed pods last fall which in Denali National Park, so it was great to see what the flowers looked like!

Mountain Avens
Mountain Avens
Mountain Avens overlooking the top of Wickersham Dome.
Mountain Avens overlooking the top of Wickersham Dome.

The rest of the trail was scattered with many other species of flowers which can be seen here along with some of the beautiful scenery.

Lupines along the trail to Wickersham Dome
Lupines along the trail to Wickersham Dome
Pink Plumes! Not even kidding, that's their name!
Pink Plumes! Not even kidding, that’s their name!
Narcissus Anenome
Narcissus Anenome
Arctic Sandwort
Arctic Sandwort

Unknowns

Unknown flower #1, please help you know it! Sorry that I do not have any leaves!
Unknown flower #1 : Probable Cut-leaf anenome or “early thimbleweed”. Both are common names for it.
Unknown Flower # 2! If you know I would love to hear it!
Unknown Flower # 2! – Identified! Elegant Indian Paintbrush
Unknown flower # 3, if you know please tell me!
Unknown flower # 3 : An arnica species (Thanks Justin)… but now… which?

I’ll throw in a shout-out to these great sites which helped me in my Alaska wildflower ID and will be a great resource in the future:

http://www.alaskawildflowers.us/

http://www.turtlepuddle.org/alaskan/wild/flowers-1.html

I’ll leave you with a picture of a super-tree which is defying the odd by surviving on summit and this nesting yellow-rump warbler. She sure was well hid!

This pine tree defied the odds on the summit of Wickersham Dome. Somehow it's thriving when none others could!
This pine tree defied the odds on the summit of Wickersham Dome. Somehow it’s thriving when none others could!
A female yellow-rump sits on her nest along the trail to Wickersham Dome. She was keeping low, but keeping a close eye out.
A female yellow-rump sits on her nest along the trail to Wickersham Dome. She was keeping low, but keeping a close eye out.