Sichuan and Alaska
I might be able to travel to Sichuan and Alaska in February-March, for about 9 days each. Would anybody be interested in joining me?
For Sichuan, I’ll try to persuade a friend of mine who knows it as the back of his hand, speaks Chinese and has a Chinese driving license to join us (he works as a guide of botanical tours there later in season, and would charge something for his services). Hardly anyone does mammalwatching there in winter, but judging by Foping it might actually be much more productive than in other times of year. I’ve heard that red pandas are particularly easy at a certain location. In August 1993 I got 40 species there in two weeks, and in May 2009 35 species in 10 days, even though I didn’t know about many places I know about now 🙂
For Alaska the plan is to do the usual loop (Anchorage-Denali-Fairbanks-Glenallen-Anchorage) with side trips up the Dalton Highway (at least to the edge of the lowland tundra), to one of the hot springs near Fairbanks, and to Independence Mine. The remaining days will be spent on Kenai Peninsula. There will be fewer species than in summer, but all of them will be in gorgeous winter coats, and we’ll be able to do some snow tracking, particularly for mustelids. We’ll probably also try some baiting for larger carnivores. Northern lights and ptarmigans in winter plumage should also be expected. Airfares to Anchorage can be ridiculously low that time of year. We’ll split the cost of car rental, but I’m planning to sleep in the car, so if you’d rather stay in hotels, you’d have to pay for the entire room (I think it’s fair since I’ll be planning the whole thing).
Both trips are in very early stages of planning and might not even happen, so for now I’m just wondering if anyone would be interested in general.
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If the Chinese leg happens in March, there is a slight chance I could make it, however, I probably wouldn’t know until sometime in February. I think my girlfriend would be interested as well, as long as the Red Pandas were attempted.