The west fork of the Moose River in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, March 23, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Precipice

On Oct. 31, 2021, I ran down to Headquarters Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge hoping to see some signs that the lake would… Continue reading

The west fork of the Moose River in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, March 23, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
A brown bear on the refuge captured on a trail camera, an example that den entrance and emergence varies and you can expect to see bears at any time of the year. (Image by Colin Canterbury/FWS)

Refuge Notebook: Sharing the landscape as bears wake up this spring

Snow and extreme cold were early this year. The conditions made for fantastic cross-country skiing, and the early deep snow turned icy with repeated warming… Continue reading

A brown bear on the refuge captured on a trail camera, an example that den entrance and emergence varies and you can expect to see bears at any time of the year. (Image by Colin Canterbury/FWS)
A snow bunting on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Spring equinox marks change from smallest to largest species on the Kenai

It is spring, and after my first year in Alaska, I have witnessed that spring moves to another level. As many of you know, everything… Continue reading

A snow bunting on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS)
A hiker rests near the peak of Near Point Trail in Anchorage, Alaska, on March 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

The pitch for Anchorage

My first time on the Kenai Peninsula was a solo trip in the late fall of 2020. When I told people I was living in… Continue reading

A hiker rests near the peak of Near Point Trail in Anchorage, Alaska, on March 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Bing’s Landing boat launch is seen in this undated photo. (Photo via Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation/dnr.alaska.gov)

Bing’s Landing to close for most of April

State crews will make improvements to the boat launch

Bing’s Landing boat launch is seen in this undated photo. (Photo via Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation/dnr.alaska.gov)
Some heart shaped rocks appear as bands of quartz. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Finding heart rocks

Like love, heart rocks appear when you’re not looking for them.

Some heart shaped rocks appear as bands of quartz. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Kris Inman speaks to a young girl, age 7, who hopes to be a veterinarian at the #IfThenSheCan-The Exhibit showcasing the Smithsonian Institute Womenճ Future Month. (Photo by Kim Spectre)

Seeing STEM: Science career ambassador in a national spotlight

What do you want to be when you grow up … Do you remember the first time you heard that question? What was your answer… Continue reading

Kris Inman speaks to a young girl, age 7, who hopes to be a veterinarian at the #IfThenSheCan-The Exhibit showcasing the Smithsonian Institute Womenճ Future Month. (Photo by Kim Spectre)
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge trails in Soldotna, Alaska, are still covered with snow on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Refuge trails emerge from winter

It’s officially the end of the groomed winter trail season

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge trails in Soldotna, Alaska, are still covered with snow on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
The view from the van on Sunday, March 13, 2022. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Of cars and cliches

It’s cliche to say that the journey is more important than the destination. Sometimes that looks like rerouting how you end up at the destination,… Continue reading

The view from the van on Sunday, March 13, 2022. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
The use of birding apps and iPhones to play songs has become a popular way to locate target species. (Photo by L. Eskelin/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Play that song one more time

Imagine hearing unrecognized voices in your backyard. Immediately, your heart rate shoots up, and you begin planning on whether to call 911 or go out… Continue reading

The use of birding apps and iPhones to play songs has become a popular way to locate target species. (Photo by L. Eskelin/USFWS)
Debris from a large natural avalanche that occurred Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, can be seen along the Seward Highway. (Photo courtesy Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center)

Backcountry avalanche awareness event Saturday

Forecasters with the Avalanche Center and officials from other agencies will be in attendance

Debris from a large natural avalanche that occurred Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, can be seen along the Seward Highway. (Photo courtesy Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center)
Skiers take off for the men’s 40K freestyle race at Sunday’s Tour of Tsalteshi event just outside of Soldotna on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Back in rhythm

At the beginning of February, I began reading “If Beale Street Could Talk” by James Baldwin. The first 100 pages were slow but worthwhile as… Continue reading

Skiers take off for the men’s 40K freestyle race at Sunday’s Tour of Tsalteshi event just outside of Soldotna on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
The author unloading helicopter H551 on Mt. Hoffman, Yosemite National Park. (Photo by NPS)

Learning the ropes on the Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program

It’s a sunny day in May 2020 at the Crane Flat Helibase. Myself and four other “rookie” (new) rappelers have undergone days’ worth of ground… Continue reading

The author unloading helicopter H551 on Mt. Hoffman, Yosemite National Park. (Photo by NPS)
Mt. Chiginagak on Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge 30 miles southeast of Ugashik. (Photo by B. Wishnek/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: Protecting Alaska from invasive species: A common goal near and far

Many regard Alaska for its wild and free landscapes and its importance to fish, wildlife, plants and people. However, while most Alaska landscapes are wild… Continue reading

Mt. Chiginagak on Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge 30 miles southeast of Ugashik. (Photo by B. Wishnek/USFWS)
Drew Slegers, a fourth grader at Soldotna Elementary, snowshoes on Headquarters Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge just outside of Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. The refuge is offering spring break snowshoe walks for kids. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Refuge offering spring break walks for kids

Guided walks will be held daily for those 8 years and older from Tuesday through Saturday of next week

Drew Slegers, a fourth grader at Soldotna Elementary, snowshoes on Headquarters Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge just outside of Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. The refuge is offering spring break snowshoe walks for kids. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
My mom Alex Botello, my aunt Melissa Botello, myself, and my aunt Kim Davis take a photo in Talkeetna on Friday Feb. 25, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Chasing the lights

My mom loves looking up at the night sky. When we were kids, she’d wake my sister and me up and make us watch a… Continue reading

My mom Alex Botello, my aunt Melissa Botello, myself, and my aunt Kim Davis take a photo in Talkeetna on Friday Feb. 25, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Mt. Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from Diamond Ridge on the Marathon Ski Trail on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Out of the Office: Falling in love with Diamond Ridge and winter

Since winter lasts from October to May on Diamond Ridge, you’d better love winter.

Mt. Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from Diamond Ridge on the Marathon Ski Trail on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
A recently hatched rufous-tailed hummingbird with one more egg to hatch. (Photo by T. Eskelin/USFWS)

Refuge Notebook: A mother’s work is never done

Bird nerd, bird geek and bird brain are just a few of the accolades I have acquired over the years. Of course, these labels were… Continue reading

A recently hatched rufous-tailed hummingbird with one more egg to hatch. (Photo by T. Eskelin/USFWS)
A beautiful Arctic char caught while ice fishing on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Nate Perrine)

Refuge Notebook: Winter camping and ice fishing on the refuge

When people think of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, chances are the first thing that comes to mind is salmon fishing or some other activity… Continue reading

A beautiful Arctic char caught while ice fishing on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Nate Perrine)
tease

Out of the Office: It’s all about ‘give and take’

My fiance and I on Monday celebrated our third Valentine’s Day together with a trip to city hall. And before you get ahead of yourself,… Continue reading

tease