Katmai National Park, Alaska

Overview

Brooks Camp is the entry point for most visitors to Katmai National Park
Brooks Camp is the entry point for most visitors to Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park is a national park located near King Salmon in the southern portion of Alaska. This park is most known for the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and the Alaskan brown bears that inhabit the park premises. Since the park was established in 1980, it has averaged total annual visits of more than 37,000. The park is managed by the US National Park Service.

Katmai National Park spans a total land area of more than 4 million acres. The total land area of the park is therefore somewhat similar to the size of Wales. It is also a designated wilderness area. Therefore, all forms of hunting are banned within the park.

Unlike many of the other remote Alaskan national parks, Katmai has a lodge and support services within the park at Brooks Camp. Brooks camp has food and lodging available. Visitors to Brooks Camp have a mandatory bear safety training course which they must go through, given the large number of bears in the park in the summer.

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Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Overview

Lake Clark National Park is a national park located in South West Alaska, in the Southern Alaska Range and along the Cook Inlet. It is one of 8 National Parks in Alaska and one of 24 National Park Service sites in the state. The entire park measures at 4.03 million acres in land area and is adjacent to the Lake Clark National Preserve. As of 2016, the total number of annual visitors is just over 21,000 per year, making it one of the least visited national parks in the United States. This is primarily due to the fact that there are no roads connecting the part to the outside world. It is only accessible through a small aircraft (such as floatplanes) or via boat.

Lake Clark National Park is an undiscovered gem. It has a mix of mountains, coastal areas, and a large hinterland. It also has an incredible amount of wildlife that only a few other national parks in the US can approach.

Lake Clark National Park

Before it was named a national park, it was a national monument in 1978.
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Backing up Photos While Traveling

How to Back Up Photos When You Travel

One of the biggest challenges facing photographers is backing up their images. For many photographers, it isn’t that challenging because you can go home after a shoot and backup your photos immediately. For travel photographers, you don’t have the luxury of going home at the end of the day to make sure everything is backed up properly. It might days, weeks, or even months before you are back home. Moreover, while you are on the road you are often dealing with slow wifi speeds and can only carry around so much gear.

This article will go over my current photo backup routine. This has changed considerably over the 11 years I have been traveling around the world.

Back in 2008, I remember holing up in a guest house in Melbourne, Australia to back up my photos to stacks of CD’s and an old iPod I was carrying with me (the old white ones with a hard drive and the wheel in the front). Since then, things have changed considerably.

Over the 11 years I’ve been traveling, to the best of my knowledge, I have never lost a photo (knock on wood). It is a streak I hope to continue for the foreseeable future. Here is how I currently do it as of 2018.
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Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali National Park, Alaska

Overview

Denali national park is the most popular well known national park in Alaska. The showpiece of the park is eponymous Mount Denali, which is the highest mountain in North America. Originally called Mount McKinley National Park, it is a popular trip addition to people going on cruises in SE Alaska. It is a great place to view wildlife. During the 3 days I was in the park, I saw grizzly bears, moose, sheep, and caribou.

Part of the park’s popularity is due to its accessibility. Where many of the parks in Alaska can only be visited by bush plane, Denalis is accessible by both road and rail and lies between Alaska’s two largest cities: Anchorage and Fairbanks.
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Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

Overview

Gates of the Arctic National Park is one of 2 national parks located above the Arctic Circle, and one of 8 national parks in Alaska. Like Kobuk Valley National Park, there are no roads leading to the park. The only way in or out is on foot, via a river, or by bush plane. The park itself is a wilderness area, with no maintained trails, campsites, or visitor centers within the park boundaries. The only visitor centers are located outside the park in Bettles, Anaktuvuk Pass, Coldfoot, and Fairbanks. (Anaktuvuk Pass is technically a native community located inside the park.)

The Dalton Highway does run along the eastern boundary of the park, and at places, it is only a few miles from the park boundary. From here it is possible to walk from the road to the park, but there are no trails.

Annual estimates of visitors are inflated due to counting people visiting the visitor centers, and people flying in and out of Anaktuvuk Pass. Estimates are usually given at over 12,000, but in reality, the number of visitors stepping foot inside the park is probably less than 800.

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Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska

Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska

Overview

Kobuk Valley National Park is the most remote and least visited national park in the US National Park System. Official numbers claim that the park gets about 10,000 visitors per year, but this estimate includes native people who enter the park. The number of actual visitors to the park is probably less than 200 per year, as the only way into the park is by float plane. There is no official entrance to the park, so it is impossible to keep accurate visitor statistics.

The entire park is a wilderness area. There are no visitors centers, trails, campsites or signs anywhere inside the park. If you want to take a photo of yourself with a park sign (see above) you will have to fly the sign in yourself. The official visitor center for the park is located in Kotzebue, Alaska.

The heart of the park is the Kobuk sand dunes, which are the northernmost sand dunes in the world. Given their ability to reflect heat, temperatures in the summer can often reach 100F (38C) on the dunes, even though it is located above the Arctic Circle.

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