Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Photo - Alaska Glacier

A Magnificent View of an Alaskan Glacier

This week's Friday photo comes from Gregg Bleakley, who tells his remarkable story in an article entitled "Bike Touring Special: How a Tour Changed One Man’s Life and Career." He traces the journey back to a software presentation he was giving in Fresno, California. No one was interested in his presentation, including himself! He started planning a bike trip on the longest road he could find - The Pan-American Highway. It was another three years before he took the plunge, quitting his job, selling his home and initiating the big ride.

Gregg and a friend flew to Deadhorse, Alaska to begin their journey. Deadhorse is a town very near the Arctic Ocean with 25 to 50 permanent residents. From there they headed south, towards Tierra del Fuego. They started out on the Dalton Highway, which is over 400 miles long, but there are only two other towns on the highway besides Deadhorse. A little more than 100 miles of the highway are paved.

Their trip went well for a while. They viewed some spectacular glaciers in Alaska. In the Yukon Territory of Canada they saw 14 bears in two days. It was in southern Mexico that they encountered a serious problem. A group of bandits ambushed, beat and robbed them. Gregg's friend decided it was time to go back home, which he did. Gregg, however, decided to press on.

Gregg purchased a camera and began taking photographs and writing in his journal. When he finally returned home to Seattle, he wasn't sure what he would do next. He wasn't thrilled with the thought of returning to software sales. He was asked to give a slideshow of his trip, which led to an introduction to Rich Clarkson, the former director of photography for National Geographic Magazine. Rich said “You know, there are other people out there like you; people who need to be out in the world following their curiosity. At the Geographic, we call them photographers.” Clarkson then offered him a scholarship to his photography workshop. Since taking the class, Gregg has worked as an adventure travel photographer. You can find some of his writing & photography at his website, gbleakney.com.

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