Flying Augustine Island and Lake Clark National Park
June 2, 2016
Yesterday I had the opportunity to fly across Cook Inlet to Mount Augustine and Lake Clark National Park with my running buddy, neighbor, and good friend Deb and a volcanologist from the Lower 48. It was an incredible, glassy day on the water with little turbulence, and I wanted to share some of the images of our incredible homeland.
We took off from Beluga Lake and flew over the slew towards the bluffs.
As we traversed the almost 60 miles to Mt. Augustine, the view of the mountains on all sides of us and the clear, turquoise water was breathtaking.
The viewing conditions were perfect as we approached Augustine Island in southwest Cook Inlet, which is about 30 square miles of mainly past eruption deposits. It is 7.5 miles wide east-west and 6 miles north-south.
Augustine Volcano is a central lava dome and lava flow complex with a symmetrical central summit peaks at 4,134 feet. These and other overlapping lava dome complexes formed during several prehistoric and historic eruptions, and the base of the volcano is surrounded by pyroclastic debris. Augustine's last eruption was in 2006, and before that 1994 and 1986.
As the fog rolled in over the summits of Augustine, we flew towards Oil Bay in Lake Clark National Park. Again, breathtaking views.
We continued on to Chinitna Bay, where we saw hundreds and hundreds of bear trails and quite a few bears, including mamas with twins and triplets in the rockery.
Viewing bear trails and bears safe at 500 feet is pretty great! Especially after the harrowing experiences my husband had baiting brown bears this spring. Can you make out the trails in these blurry iPhone photos?!
After spotting a good 15 bears, we cruised out over the beach and back across the turquoise waters of Cook Inlet towards Anchor Point.
As we flew over the bluffs and into Homer, I was grateful as always for this opportunity to see the world I love from a different perspective.