Midnight in the Tongass

Midnight in the Tongass, 12×16 acrylic on canvas, $400.00. Available for purchase at the Art Shop Gallery, Homer Alaska. Prints coming soon!

One of my very favorite places on earth is the Tongass National Forest. It is the largest national forest in the US at 16.7 million acres and is also the largest intact temperate rain forest ecosystem in the world. A visit to the Tongass, located in coastal SE Alaska is pure magic. The forest is dominated by huge stands of Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar, and Western Hemlock. Though logging has been an important influence on the Tongass in the past, large portions of the forest are now protected by the Roadless Rule. In addition to being home to three Alaska Native nations, the Tongass is a vital part of the cycle of salmon species in Alaska. The Tongass filters and cleans the abundant rain water as it flows into rivers and then the oceans. The many rivers are vital habitat for young salmon, which then migrate to the oceans, and after several years feeding, return to the rivers to spawn and die. Their bodies then return nutrients to the Tongass in a beautiful never ending cycle.

If you ever get a chance to visit Southeast Alaska, I highly recommend a hike through the Tongass, where you can enjoy the unparalleled natural beauty, breath the fresh air, and dip your toes into icy streams that lead to dramatic rocky shorelines. It is a true gem.

Twin Spruce: The Story Behind the Name

As you may have read in my “about” page, my family and I live on a lovely piece of property in a tiny village called Ninilchik, on the Kenai Penninsula, Alaska. The property is mostly wild, with a small area cleared for my garden, chickens, and ducks, and a small yard around an old log cabin which we are restoring.

The old cabin and the beginnings of a garden. Excuse the mess, we are just getting started.

If you look to the south of the garden, you see these lovely old Sitka Spruce trees.

Which, upon closer look, are actually two trees of the same age which have grown together into one beautiful twin spruce. I wish I had a better picture because this one doesn’t really show how they have wrapped around each other and joined not only at the trunk but also at several branches. (I will try to get a better shot in a few weeks when the snow is gone.)


We all have become quite attached to our beautiful Twin Spruce trees, and they happen to stand right in the dead center of our property, so they have become for us the natural symbol of our home here. And that is the story behind the name!