Out of the office: A case for hiking alone

Not working Mondays is the bee’s knees. No start-of-the-work-week blues and no lines at the grocery store or other places most people frequent on a… Continue reading

Clouds and smoke curl around the top of Augustine Volcano on Sunday, June 4, 2017 on Augustine Island, Alaska. The remote island in Cook Inlet is composed of little more than the volcano and its surrounding debris. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Little-studied island holds life, geothermal energy potential

The nearest town is 37 miles of wilderness and ocean away from the shores of Augustine Island, but the island still brims with life. In… Continue reading

Clouds and smoke curl around the top of Augustine Volcano on Sunday, June 4, 2017 on Augustine Island, Alaska. The remote island in Cook Inlet is composed of little more than the volcano and its surrounding debris. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)
A Waitabu boy hides behind his mother and aunt while the village sings Isa Lei, their traditional Fijian farewell song. (Photo courtesy Tracy Melvin)

Refuge Notebook: Faces of climate inequality

An 11-hour flight from Los Angeles, 1 hour flight from Nadi, and a 2-hour 4-wheel-drive trek along the rugged, sun-drenched coast of Taveuni Island will… Continue reading

A Waitabu boy hides behind his mother and aunt while the village sings Isa Lei, their traditional Fijian farewell song. (Photo courtesy Tracy Melvin)
In this April 2017 photo taken with a smart phone, the tide rushes in on the north Kasilof beach in Kasilof, Alaska. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Tips for taking a better cell phone photo

It’s easy to run into picture-perfect moments on the Kenai Peninsula, from a beautiful vista above Skilak Lake to a moose and her calf in… Continue reading

In this April 2017 photo taken with a smart phone, the tide rushes in on the north Kasilof beach in Kasilof, Alaska. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

An Outdoor View: How to catch kings

By way of celebrating the 50th anniversary of catching my first king salmon, I thought it would be fun to remember some of the more… Continue reading

Acidifying oceans are killing pteropods, a favorite food of Alaska salmon. (Photo provided)

Refuge Notebook: Pteropods: Beer Nuts of the ocean

Remember Beer Nuts? Those sweet and salty peanuts with a crunchy outer shell used to be a staple of football parties and baseball games. Plus,… Continue reading

Acidifying oceans are killing pteropods, a favorite food of Alaska salmon. (Photo provided)
A false morel grows on the forest floor on Friday, May 26 near Sterling. Toxic false morels are redder, lumpier, and have fatter ridges and shallower pits than edible true morels. Unlike true morels, their stems are solid rather than hollow inside.

Hunting the elusive morel mushroom

“Once you find one, you’ll know what you’re looking for,” Rodney Pierce said with his eyes glued to the charred ground of the Funny River… Continue reading

A false morel grows on the forest floor on Friday, May 26 near Sterling. Toxic false morels are redder, lumpier, and have fatter ridges and shallower pits than edible true morels. Unlike true morels, their stems are solid rather than hollow inside.
An Outdoor View: Consequences

An Outdoor View: Consequences

“You’re OK,” I told myself over and over again, a mantra more wish than fact. I was not OK, in fact. I was hanging off… Continue reading

An Outdoor View: Consequences
Partially digested carcass of a springtail caught by a hairy butterwort at Headquarters Lake, May 22. Note the glistening glands discernable in this image. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Butterworts: carnivorous and easily overlooked beauties

At first glance the insect-eating hairy butterwort, one of the smallest flowering plants on the Refuge at about two inches tall in full flower and… Continue reading

Partially digested carcass of a springtail caught by a hairy butterwort at Headquarters Lake, May 22. Note the glistening glands discernable in this image. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)
Volunteers clear vegetation in Kachemak Bay State Park in summer 2016. This year, volunteers will have the opportunity to cross the bay and volunteer to clear trails on Saturday, June 3, as part of National Trails Day, or can volunteer for work parties on every Saturday throughout the summer through the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. (Courtesy Christina Whiting/Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation)

Clearing the way across the bay

The quiet forests of Kachemak Bay State Park carry magic for Kathy Sarns. After moving to Homer in 2008, she began visiting the park on… Continue reading

Volunteers clear vegetation in Kachemak Bay State Park in summer 2016. This year, volunteers will have the opportunity to cross the bay and volunteer to clear trails on Saturday, June 3, as part of National Trails Day, or can volunteer for work parties on every Saturday throughout the summer through the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. (Courtesy Christina Whiting/Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation)
This undated photo shows cedar apple rust infection on cedar in New Paltz, N.Y. Cedar apple rust begins its seasonal cycle on cedar trees and is one of many diseases attacking apples, but not all apple varieties are susceptible. (Lee Reich via AP)

Advice to growers: Match the cure to the pest problem

The caller on the other end of the phone was worried: Her apple trees had suffered severely last year from cedar-apple rust disease, and she… Continue reading

This undated photo shows cedar apple rust infection on cedar in New Paltz, N.Y. Cedar apple rust begins its seasonal cycle on cedar trees and is one of many diseases attacking apples, but not all apple varieties are susceptible. (Lee Reich via AP)
Instructor Lee Kuepper leads a two-handed spey fly fishing clinic at Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday, May 13. (Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)  Instructor Lee Kuepper leads a two-handed spey fly fishing clinic at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska on Saturday, May 13, 2017. (Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Summer prep with fly fishing clinic

There’s no time for training once the summer fishing season is in full swing, so Lee Kuepper of Double Haul Fly Fishing took the opportunity… Continue reading

Instructor Lee Kuepper leads a two-handed spey fly fishing clinic at Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday, May 13. (Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)  Instructor Lee Kuepper leads a two-handed spey fly fishing clinic at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska on Saturday, May 13, 2017. (Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)
Dr. Taz Tally (with his dog Zip), author of 50 Hikes In Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, will be at the Kenai Refuge Visitor Center on May 27. (Photo by Taz Tally)

Hiking in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

What type of trail am I hiking today? Do I need my hiking poles? Skilak Lookout Trail has that steep climb at the end so,… Continue reading

Dr. Taz Tally (with his dog Zip), author of 50 Hikes In Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, will be at the Kenai Refuge Visitor Center on May 27. (Photo by Taz Tally)

An Outdoor View: Bear time

If you haven’t done so already this spring, now would be a good time to think about bears. The Kenai Peninsula is home to black… Continue reading

Spring in the valley  In this May 13 photo, the snowy Chugach Mountains stand over Vagt Lake near Moose Pass. Though ice is still breaking up on the high alpine lakes, the lower lakes in the valleys on the eastern Kenai Peninsula are ice-free, if cold. Vagt Lake, about a mile and a half down a trail that begins just off the Seward Highway near Moose Pass, is stocked with rainbow trout every year by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Coho salmon and Arctic grayling may also be available in the lake, according to Fish and Game. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)
Spring in the valley  In this May 13 photo, the snowy Chugach Mountains stand over Vagt Lake near Moose Pass. Though ice is still breaking up on the high alpine lakes, the lower lakes in the valleys on the eastern Kenai Peninsula are ice-free, if cold. Vagt Lake, about a mile and a half down a trail that begins just off the Seward Highway near Moose Pass, is stocked with rainbow trout every year by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Coho salmon and Arctic grayling may also be available in the lake, according to Fish and Game. (Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

An Outdoor View: Thrift stores and fishing lures

Editor’s note: Longtime Clarion outdoors columnist Les Palmer is scaling back on his writing. His column will appear every other week in the Clarion. On… Continue reading

Moose cows are notorious for being great mothers to their young. (Photo by John Morton)

Refuge Notebook: Celebrating wildlife mothers

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a national holiday that President Woodrow Wilson designated in 1914 as World War I was unfolding. But, like most things… Continue reading

Moose cows are notorious for being great mothers to their young. (Photo by John Morton)
This undated photo shows stinging nettles in New Paltz, N.Y. Nettles is a weed and it stings, but it also is a healthful and tasty plant. (Lee Reich via AP)

Yes, stinging nettles sting. But they have many assets too.

At a time of year when weeds may be getting the better of you, what sweet revenge it is to turn them into an asset.… Continue reading

This undated photo shows stinging nettles in New Paltz, N.Y. Nettles is a weed and it stings, but it also is a healthful and tasty plant. (Lee Reich via AP)
In this January 2017 photo, Josh Peterson carries his daughter, Miriam, to fish at Sand Creek in northeast Wyoming. (Christene Peterson /The Casper Star-Tribune via AP)

To get kids outdoors, plan then go

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Some moms worry about daycare, others about eating schedules. I spent the first eight months of my daughter’s life obsessing about… Continue reading

In this January 2017 photo, Josh Peterson carries his daughter, Miriam, to fish at Sand Creek in northeast Wyoming. (Christene Peterson /The Casper Star-Tribune via AP)
Mark Laker launches a drone on an automated aerial photography mission to survey Aleutian Terns on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)

Refuge Notebook: Using Drones to monitor nesting Aleutian Terns

On the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Headquarters Lake is a small colony of Aleutian Terns that nest alongside Arctic Terns. Aleutian Terns breed in… Continue reading

Mark Laker launches a drone on an automated aerial photography mission to survey Aleutian Terns on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)