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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Weekly Post, "My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1988, I was awarded an Artist-in-Residency at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. This was a small body of work created over three years, and eventually exhibited once at the university. Some images have been printed, but most have never been seen. I hope you enjoy these photographs. I think they are among some of the most beautiful I have ever taken.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Thursday, April 25, 2019

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #26:
Wisconsin #26:  At the lake, just off-property from the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha’s field station, where I am enjoying an NEA funded Artist-in-Residence, I encounter the full richness of the Kettle Moraine habitat. I also have something quite different as a view, than at the field station. From the field station, the sun sets behind trees and a low hill. Here at the east lakeshore, the setting sun drops nearly to the horizon of the lake. The resulting illumination is striking. The extremely low angle of the light makes shadows darker, highlights more vibrant, and floods everything with warmer hues. My obsession with “weeds and the light" could not be better served. The one drawback, as is also true just over the hill at the field station, the nearly constant play of wind throughout the day. The fetch of the lake actually enhances windiness, so although I do make pictures, it is fair to say that timing is everything.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Weekly Post, "Sundance: Artist-In-Residence" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Sundance:  Artist In Residence
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



From 1987-1989, Robert Redford invited me to become the first visual Artist-In-Residence at his newly established Sundance Institute, part of the community he was building around his recently purchased ski resort in Utah. The residency provided me with subject matter that produced some of the most significant images of my career, but importantly, it also afforded me my first aerial work, a platform that would become increasingly important throughout my life. A limited amount of these images were ever published, and NONE of the aerials ever were. The best will now appear, please enjoy!  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum




Thursday, April 25, 2019

SUNDANCE: Artist In Residence, #41:
Sundance #41:  The two-tone sky, full moonrise (last post) goes by pretty quickly, and the blue of night finally erases the last warm tones from the sky. My friends and I have howled ourselves hoarse, and become cold, sitting outside during the moonrise event, so we retreat to the warmth of Bearclaw Cabin for some more food and further libations. I am not sure what other pictures I might make, now that night has fallen, so I am not expecting anything until sunrise. However, after an hour or so in the cabin, the night is still young, and it seems to be growing ever brighter,..A LOT brighter! Of course, we expected it to be bright, it is a full moon after all, but it only just now occurs to me that the full moon directly above is being 100% reflected of off the white snow cover. The landscape is bright like day. The ridge in the foreground is a widely used ski run. The green glow and other lights in the deep gorge are Sundance resort, and the big, white meadow in the middle, is Redford’s ranch property. The lights are on there, so perhaps he is home, and it looks like guests are departing, as they wind down the driveway.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Weekly Post, "Stoned Immaculate: A Trip in the Desert" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

STONED IMMACULATE:  A Trip in the Desert
by Robert Glenn Ketchum


As a young photographer, two places I “discovered” by chance greatly influenced both my photographic vision and my personal relationship with the greater planet. A previous blog, LIMEKILN, is the story of the first location. THIS is the second location which I discovered because my car broke down. As Jim Morrison/The Doors wrote, “Out here we is Stoned Immaculate!"



Wednesday, April 24, 2019
“Escalante Prismatic"
circa 1985-1995

Stoned Immaculate, #128:
Immaculate, #128:  from the portfolio, STONED IMMACULATE

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd


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Weekly Post, "Arctic: At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

ARCTIC:  At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1993, I began traveling to the Arctic. I have been across The Northwest Passage by yacht; to the North Pole twice; to little-visited Russian islands; and aboard research vessels in Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, and Baffin Island, taking the opportunity to visit Iqualuit, the capital of Nunavut, the recently created Inuit nation and territories.




Wednesday, April 24, 2019

ARCTIC:  At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change, #141:
ARCTIC, #141:   Dazzled by the vibrant colors of this basin we have discovered in the interior of Baffin Island, my helicopter pilot and I continue to follow this most unusual river. A few meanders further along, and the broad plain becomes even broader, and flattens out. This allows the water to spread out flowing over both the golden sand and the dark earth material that appears to be leaching out from beneath the rolling tundra. The width of the valley at this point allows us to circle in the helicopter, and view this spectacle from all angles. We also discover that further downstream, after passing through the “mud flats,” the water emerges even more vibrantly blue-green and crystal clear, to flow through channels, and some deep pools on a HUGE “beach” of golden sand and silt. We are speechless, this is SO unlike anywhere else we have explored. In retrospect, I am sorry we did not land,..and drink the water!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Weekly Post, NO PEBBLE MINE: Pictures from Ground Zero by Robert Glenn Ketchum

NO PEBBLE MINE Pictures from Ground Zero
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

 
Since 1998, I have been working to protect the spectacular resources of southwest Alaska and the fishery of Bristol Bay. Two Aperture books, a national traveling exhibition, a massive coalition of concerned users, and a lot of personal lobbying, had it looking like we were almost there. Then Donald Trump took office claiming he would always put America, and American jobs first. SO WHY destroy a BILLION-dollar-a-year, RENEWABLE salmon fishery and over 100,000 jobs for a group of international mineral speculators that will leave us with a Superfund site to clean up, and NO fishery left edible? And yet, he did,..so please, keep saying NO TO THE PEBBLE MINE!
~Robert Glenn Ketchum






Tuesday, April 23, 2019 

NO PEBBLE MINE #345, Pictures from Ground Zero
NO PEBBLE MINE #345:  I am standing with 8 fishermen at the small airstrip in Goodnews Bay, and we are watching a storm descend upon us out of the Pacific. We are hoping to get flown out before the storm hits, but that does not seem likely. Then, just as the first drops start to fall, we can hear the roar of an airplane engine. Looking upriver, a sizable cargo airplane comes into view and within minutes drops onto the landing strip. Now, it is really starting to gust violently, and rain hard. The pilot opens the bay doors and yells for the fishermen to throw JUST their personal gear aboard, and then get aboard. He wants to leave immediately, and tells them to abandon their rented equipment - boats, oars, tents, stoves, etc. - he will come back and get those items later, after this weather passes. For the moment, he just wants to get them back to Dillingham, before things get worse. Realizing I am not one of the group, he tells me there is no chance my pilot is coming, so I should get aboard as well. It IS a cargo plane, and the 8 fishermen sit in “rope baskets.” There is not one for me, so he tells me to sit in the co-pilot chair. Once we are all in and secure he fires up the engine and taxis to a turn-around for take-off. It is raining so hard now, visibility is TRULY 0. When I ask if he is going to take off in these conditions, he replies that it is now or never, and that we are going to fly directly up the Goodnews, because for many miles there are no mountains to worry about flying into. He believes eventually somewhere upriver, we will regain our visibility by getting in front of the storm. We launch, and he is right. In a very few miles we regain a water-blurred view of the landscape and river below, and a true ceiling of dark weather clouds directly above us, flooding in from west to east. It is very bouncy, there is so much wind. When I ask how we navigate to Dillingham, he tells me he has IFR. Studying his instruments, I see little specialized tech, so when I ask, which is the IFR, he laughs and says that in Alaska, IFR means, “I Follow Rivers.” We do. He is right once again, and as it turns out, the storm is a horrible one that last for several days, so I am VERY grateful to be back in Dillingham.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd @NRDC @OrvisFlyFishing #NoPebbleMine #LittleBearProd

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Weekly Post: THE TONGASS: Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees by Robert Glenn Ketchum

THE TONGASS:  Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
In 1985, I began a 2-year commission to explore the Tongass rainforest, the largest forest in the United States Forest Service (USFS) system AND the largest temperate rainforest in the world. It was a unique, old-growth environment under siege from industrial logging. The resulting investigative book I published helped to pass the Tongass Timber Reform Bill, protect 1,000,000 acres of old-growth, and create 11 new wilderness areas. This is the story of how that was achieved.




Tuesday, April 23, 2019

THE TONGASS:  Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees, #139:
THE TONGASS, #139:  After our tidal food collection extravaganza, we climb back into the canoes and continue our journey. Seymour Canal is VERY long, and we will paddle down it to Mole Harbor for several days. Along the way we have other places to visit. Tomorrow we hope to stop and see Stan the Bear Man at his floating log home. I met Stan several weeks earlier, when a boat on which I was touring, stopped to see him, and I really looked forward to seeing him again. With that destination in mind, we eventually turn our canoes into the beach, just north of Stan’s small tidal bay at Pack Creek, and set up our first camp. The gods are kind, as we get the canoes unloaded and the tents up before the sky falls in,..which it does. This IS the Tongass rainforest, and now it is REALLY raining. One of the first lessons we all learn from our guide, Jeff Sloss, is the pitching and use of a gigantic blue tarp as our group kitchen cover. The tarp is HUGE and it takes numerous paddles to support it, but once up, we can all stand beneath it while we eat dinner standing up. Sipping soup from their Sierra cups, Philip and Carey stare out at the torrent of rain, so dense the opposite shore has nearly disappeared in the haze of droplets. Note the 1st generation Patagonia hooded trench coats they are both wearing,..so chic! Stylish brims as well!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Weekly Post, High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers

High and Wild: Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

After receiving my MFA from CalArts, I was invited by Bill Lund, Sharon Disney’s husband, to come stay at the families' Diamond-D Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming. Bill thought I might like to photograph in the nearby Wind River Mountains, which I did, backpacking through them extensively over the next three summers. Welcome to a world of big granite walls and huge alpine lakes!





Monday, April 22, 2019

High and Wild:  Three Years of Wandering in the Wind Rivers, #87:
Wind River, #87:  Having walked out 18-miles from the Wall Lake basin in the course of the day, Vicki Golden and I are now happily lounging around our Log Cabin Motel room, enjoying both the shower and the bed, as we await the arrival of our friend Michale Knowlin, whom we expect tomorrow. After a luxurious night of sleep, shei and I spend most of the day preparing our gear, and shopping for supplies. Michael arrives about midday, and joins in on the shopping. His vacation time is limited, so we plan to begin a hike into the Titcomb Lakes basin, early the next morning, and we need complete all of our preparations today. We finish in late afternoon, and it has been a pleasantly warm day with no weather, so I suggest we take cocktails in Elkhart Park, and have a view of the terrain we will begin to traverse, tomorrow. Directly before us in the image above, are the high peaks that surround the Titcomb Lakes. They are about 20+miles away. Well below us on the left is the gigantic Fremont Lake, and further into that lake-valley system is also Long Lake, and Suicide. If all goes well, tomorrow night, we will be camped on the right (shaded) side of those dramatic granite domes in the foreground-right, and we can watch the sunset on the sheer wall that rises above Suicide Lake.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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HELP WANTED: Hypothetical Partner for the Pebble Mine by Joel Reynolds, NRDC

HELP WANTED: Hypothetical Partner for the Pebble Mine


April 22, 2019

Joel Reynolds, Natural Resources Defense Council

Canadian owner of widely condemned Bristol Bay mine desperately seeks new partner with a few billion to spare. Financial, social, and environmental indifference required. No need to apply if you’re fazed by economic infeasibility, relentless local opposition, pervasive risk, and potentially catastrophic social and environmental impacts.

It’s no secret that Northern Dynasty Minerals (aka the Pebble Partnership)—the sole remaining partner in the embattled Pebble Mine proposed for the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay—is in urgent need of a new financial partner. To be sure, after four of the world’s major mining companies (Mitsubishi Corporation, Anglo American, Rio Tinto, and First Quantum Minerals) have walked away from the project since 2011, it’s a tough sell.

At last year’s general meeting of shareholders, Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen expressed confidence they can make a deal. The only question, he told me, is “what deal”—that is, what terms will be required to entice a buy-out or at least a new major partner. With the company’s history of failed partnerships in mind, I began to speculate about what the profile of such a partner, if indeed there is one to be found, might look like.

Here, in no particular order, are some essential characteristics:

(1) Unconcerned by financial risk
Contrary to industry practice—and despite repeated requests—Pebble has refused to release an economic feasibility analysis for its latest mine plan, now under permit review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When asked by the Army Corps’ consultant AECOM to produce information on Pebble’s “cost/feasibility,” the company refused, citing a Canadian securities regulation whose purpose is to prevent securities fraud relating to mining properties. When pressed by the Bristol Bay Native Corporation (“BBNC”) last December, Pebble’s CEO Tom Collier, too, declined, explaining that such an analysis “remains on our to-do list.” Just this month, pressed by E&E News, he demurred once again because “an economic analysis is not a required piece of the permitting puzzle.”

But there is a more likely, more compelling explanation:

Based on publicly available information and Northern Dynasty’s own assumptions in a 2011 feasibility analysis of potential mine scenarios, a former longtime Rio Tinto mining expert submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers his own analysis of the project’s economics, concluding that the project is “almost certainly not economically feasible,” with a strongly negative net present value of -$3 billion.

(2) Unconcerned by relentless opposition in Alaska
As each of the major mining companies that abandoned the project learned the hard way, the people who live in the region don’t want the Pebble Mine. There is overwhelming local opposition, registered for years, by Yup’ik, Dena’ina , Alutiiq and other indigenous peoples, and a survey released by BBNC found that 81 percent of its native shareholders strongly oppose the mine. In addition, more than 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents and 85 percent of commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay oppose the mine.

In addition to tribal governments, the list of regional organizations actively opposing the mine includes BBNC (a multi-billion dollar native-owned development corporation representing more than 10,000 native shareholders), the Bristol Bay Native Association (representing all 31 tribes in Bristol Bay), the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, Salmon State, Katmai Service Providers, and many more.

The latest state-wide poll, undertaken by the Alaska State Senate, found continuing state opposition at 61 percent, following closely the 65 percent statewide opposition reflected by support for the 2014 Bristol Bay Forever Initiative.

(3) Unconcerned by harm to the greatest wild salmon fishery on Earth and the region’s economic engine
After three years of twice peer-reviewed scientific study, as well as public comment that supported EPA’s process by a staggering 98 percent (and 84 percent from Alaskans state-wide), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) concluded in 2014 that the proposed mine would result in “significant and unacceptable adverse effects” to important fishery areas in the Bristol Bay watershed, that the Pebble Mine would have "significant" impacts on fish populations and streams surrounding the mine site, and that a tailings dam failure would have "catastrophic" effects on the region.

Against this scientific record and all common sense, Pebble disagrees, suggesting to its captured investors and credulous federal regulator that gouging a massive open pit mine into the tundra at the top of Bristol Bay’s watershed may be good for the fishery (from Pebble’s Collier to BBNC in December—citing “our sophisticated models”—the project will have a “potentially positive impact on fish habitat . . .”; and from Northern Dynasty’s Thiessen at last year’s Annual General Meeting of shareholders, the value of the Bristol Bay fishery will “actually be enhanced” by development of the Pebble Mine).

(4) Unconcerned by political risk that Trump Administration approval would be reversed by a future Administration
It is undeniable that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt threw the Pebble Mine a life-line when, in May 2017, after a one hour meeting with the project’s CEO, he announced, in disregard of the multi-year scientific process described above, that the agency would abandon its efforts to limit the size, scope, and risk associated with the Pebble Mine. Science and advice from agency technical staff had nothing to do with his decision, since he apparently consulted neither.

By contrast, in December 2017, former EPA Administrators for Presidents Nixon, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush joined with former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in condemning the Pebble Mine as “fundamentally flawed” and the “wrong mine in the wrong place.”

The previous year, in September 2016, the World Conservation Congress, including representatives from over 120 nations, virtually unanimously urged the U.S. government to deny a permit for the Pebble Mine.

(5) Unconcerned by partnering with a company that has a long history of failed partnerships
Northern Dynasty was created to develop the Pebble Mine, and it has no other assets. In 2010, it had a formidable list of partners and major mining company investors. All have left the project—Mitsubishi in 2011, Anglo American in 2013, Rio Tinto in 2014, and First Quantum Minerals in 2018. Since 2011, Northern Dynasty has itself been trying unsuccessfully to sell its own interest in the project.

(6) Unconcerned by generous compensation levels of Pebble’s corporate leadership despite consistently poor corporate performance
While Northern Dynasty’s stock has declined steadily in value from over $21.00 per share in 2011 to less than $0.60 per share today, Pebble’s corporate leadership continues to be very well compensated, especially Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier. In 2017, for example, Collier received total compensation of CAN $2,357,744 and stands to gain a US $12.5 million bonus upon early completion of the Army Corps permitting process. That same year, Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen received total compensation of CAN $2,118,486, and the company’s Chairman of the Board Robert Dickinson was compensated CAN $339,570.

(7) Unconcerned by a wide range of significant reputational and other risks, including the risk of protracted litigation
For over a decade, the Pebble Mine has been the focus of relentless opposition led by the people of Bristol Bay, supported by a wide range of state-wide, national, and even international stakeholders that includes the commercial and sport fishing industries, conservation groups, sportsmen, hunters, and businesses.

This diverse opposition has steadily increased public awareness and state, national, and international condemnation of Pebble, and it has committed to pursue all administrative and legal challenges for as long as it takes to defeat this uniquely reckless and irresponsible mining project.

(8) Unconcerned by operational risks and remediation costs
The multi-billion-dollar cost to construct the massive open pit and operate the mine – still undefined by Pebble for its current mine plan – has almost certainly been underestimated. But without question the technical challenges of construction and operation in the remote, hydrologically complex, and seismically active upper Bristol Bay watershed would be enormous.

In addition, to transport gold and copper from the mine site to market, Pebble will have to construct and operate massive infrastructure, including a marine terminal in Cook Inlet, roads, pipelines and even infrastructure in Lake Iliamna to support a preposterous southern all-season ferry route across the lake through pristine wilderness to Amakdedori Beach on Kamishak Bay in Cook Inlet. To construct roads, Northern Dynasty Minerals must acquire access rights from area landowners—access rights that some of these very landowners have vowed to oppose, including BBNC.

The list could go on. But the range of significant obstacles to, and risks of association with, the Pebble Mine is unprecedented – financial, social, environmental, political, reputational, regulatory, legal, and operational.

And while, as Northern Dynasty’s Thiessen has said, there may indeed be a financial “deal” to be made to perpetuate this international pariah of a mining project, there can be no doubt that any new partner or major investor will inevitably and deservedly be tarred with the global condemnation that, more than any other mining project anywhere, has justifiably been focused on the Pebble Mine.

We will never relent in our support for the people of Bristol Bay in defense of their way of life, their children, and their future.

Take action now.

Weekly Post, "The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get
by Robert Glenn Ketchum


Growing up my parents had a home near Sun Valley, Idaho. It was there that I learned to ski. Over many years I befriended members of the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club, with whom I had both life, and art-forming outdoor experiences. I had my camera, and these are my adventures.  Enjoy!!  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum



Monday, April 22, 2019

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #155: DFCFC, #155:  Gordon takes my partner, Vicki Golden, and our friend Jennifer on a tour of the Hyndman-Old Hyndman-Cobb (to the right) basin, below our encampment. As you will see in future posts, the views are dramatic. Chris Dupont goes in the opposite direction, climbing the slopes of Hyndman, to explore the basin between Hyndman and Duncan Ridge. Both of these trips offer me photographic possibilities, so I opt to stay out of my skis and in camp, so that I can use the footpaths we have created to move between my spread-out subject matter. Jennifer has no problem with the heel-free skiing, and LOVES being in such a spectacular environment, so this crew has a wonderful morning and are now headed back for some lunch. To follow Chris’s adventure, I climb back up into the rocks, where I established footpath on the previous evening (posts #152-153), and from that vantage, I can see him as he crests the rise he is climbing, and skis into the basin.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Weekly Post, "Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands: Bowing before St. Elias" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

The Yakutat Forelands are where the Tongass rainforest and the Chugach forest to the north meet. It is also home to many large glaciers, a stunning coastline, the huge Alsek-Tatshenshini river, and Icy Bay, which sits at the foot of Mount St. Elias, the greatest vertical rise from sea level in the world. There is a lot of powerful energy out here.



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias, #94:
The Yakutat Forelands, #94:  The spectacle of the exaggerated, and very visible, changes in the parts of Icy Bay we actually explored, is quite sobering to all of us. As the plane climbs and heads for the coast, we fall silent as each of us ponders the numerous times we have encountered life-threatening circumstances in just these past 10-days. This was NOT a casual Alaskan kayaking adventure. Our pilot suggests we have been in the middle “of an epic weather event,” and he acknowledges that he wondered what he would find in flying in to pick us up. He also notes that all flights in and out of Yakutat have been grounded for the better part of the last week, so he was not even sure if he would be allowed to come for us. As our flight path hits the coast, where we will turn south, the large river pouring out of the bay has flushed so much mud and silt into the Pacific, that it is actually changing the color of the ocean water for many square miles. Well, it IS Alaska! Go big, or go home. We have done one, and now we are going to do the other. I want to sleep on a mattress. We have all come to bow before St. Elias, and now suitably humbled, we retreat to play another day.

photograph(s) © copyright, Robert Glenn Ketchum, 2018, @RbtGlennKetchum, @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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