In front of us, the sharp-pointed China Poot Peak rises above a cove and is flanked by snow-covered mountains. To our right and behind us way across the immense Cook Inlet, active volcanos named Illiamna, Redoubt, and Augustine lie silent in the distance. While they are quiet for now, their deep bowels within tell a different story because each of these is capable of erupting once again as the nuances of the Earth’s plate tectonics and a constantly moving crust dictate the ebbs and flows of unseen magma. While the boat skims headlong into the quiet seas, another guest and I talk and speculate about the impact that an eruption would have on the landscape and local populations. While our questions are rhetorical and our speculation moot, it’s a fun mental exercise in which to engage.
The boat’s cresting and falling caused by the gentle waves and hum of the craft creates a syncopated rhythm and is a bit hypnotic. The wind off the seas, although cold and with a bit of a bite, is welcome. For here, seven people from all walks of life and all corners of the country come together and meet at a place where our love of photography and nature intersects. This time, it just happens to be in the wilderness off the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula.