Chitistone Canyon, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Hiking toward the Goat Trail, down the Chitistone Canyon, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Welcome to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve; A Wilderness Park.

I first ventured in to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park in the late 1990’s, and have been back every year since then. My first hike in the park was a weeklong solo journey down the goat trail, a fantastic hike from Skolai Pass down the Chitistone Valley to Glacier Creek. I saw my first ever grizzly bear in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, on that trip. I saw my first glacier, my first Dall sheep, my first golden eagle all on that hike.

Wrangell – St. Elias has been home to many firsts for me, and I’m proud and excited about each and every one of them. I saw my first aurora borealis in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, one cold fall night in the Mentasta Mountains. I saw my first (and currently only) wolverine in Wrangell – St. Elias. I made my first month long wilderness trip in Wrangell – St. Elias. And that, perhaps, is what wilderness really is all about; ‘firsts’, because each and every time we experience real wildness, it’s something new, something uncontrived, unconstructed, untrameled.

Wrangell – St. Elias has taught me more about the wild, the wilderness, about wildness, than any book I’ve ever read or class I’ve ever taken.  This page explains in more detail my thoughts about wilderness. My experiences in the park have been so profound I changed much of my to pursue those experiences. I moved from my home in Atlanta, Georgia, to Alaska. I no longer play music for a living, but am full-time wilderness guide, nature photographer and tour leader. I live a little closer to the ground, a little more disconnected from society at large and a little more within myself.

Those are not necessarily ‘good’ changes, and they’re certainly not changes that might work for everyone. But they definitely  work well for me. I’ve enjoyed coming to know more about the place, about place, about myself, the environment, about nature and the natural world, and also about how we might fit in to that world. Or conversely, I suppose, how we might not.

This project is part of that pursuit, and I hope it brings you some sense of my experience here, and through the photos you’ll see, something of the perspective I’ve come to look at the place with.

Thank you.

Carl Donohue