Another Turnagain-Colony Circuit

Another Turnagain-Colony Circuit

I had no idea until I started flying locally exactly how connected everything is near Anchorage – the Turnagain Arm, Prince William Sound, the Knik Valley.  I first discovered this during a flight last winter, where one minute we were soaring over Prince William Sound and the next, we were gliding down over Colony Glacier in the Lake George Preserve near Knik Glacier in the Mat-Su Valley.

This evening, I went for a similar jaunt.  Starting with a Campbell Creek Departure from Merrill Field, we headed over to the Turnagain Arm and paralleled the Seward Highway all the way down to Twenty Mile River in the Chugach National Forest.  Along the way, the clouds were hanging over the mountains and the Arm, but there was light ducking under the clouds from the west, scattering golden light across the textured, varied surface of the Turnagain Arm, with its wild tides and mud flats.

The skies would not provide much to offer for sunlight in the Prince William Sound, so we turned and followed up the line of Twenty Mile River to its source.  Upon seeing Twenty Mile Glacier and the lake it creates, I was amazed at its beauty, and surprised I had not seen any photos of it before.  It’s a spectacular glacier, nestled up against the mountains, with a decent-sized lake and another adjacent lake just around the corner.  I imagined what it would look like in better light and did what I could to capture it successfully under the conditions.  A graduated neutral density filter helped to knock down the clouds a little and allow for more detail to show in the land.  Then, with a little hop over the mountains, we were coming down over Lake George Glacier and over to Colony Glacier.  I photographed patterns – patterns of braided streams, patterns of crevasses across a river of ice, patterns of black in with the white with the rocks and the ice.

After spending some time soaring over the chaos of three glaciers spilling down into one location, we headed west along the Chugach Mountains, passing nearby Pioneer Peak and over the Knik River Bridge of the Glenn Highway.  Like before when we were heading up Turnagain Arm, the sun was peeking enough under the clouds to create a scattering of golden light on the surface of the water; this time, the Knik River.   With better light, we certainly would have stayed out longer, but as always, I still found plenty of magic to work with the landscape.

Leave a Reply