Coring Trees and Flying over Seas, Hoonah, Alaska 2023

Guest Bloggers: Lilly Hinkley and Tyrell Cooper

Tyrell, Lilly, Nick and Dr. Wiles of Wooster’s Tree Ring Lab (WTRL) were in Juneau and Hoonah, Alaska working in collaboration with the Alaskan Youth Stewards (AYS) in order to extend our tree ring chronologies. Once we collect the tree cores, the WTRL group will head back to The College of Wooster to prep and measure the cores and do a climatic analysis on them to try and connect the data with some of the Tlingit oral histories we learned about during our time. 

Nick, Tyrell and Lilly at the Mendenhall Glacier ice margin.

Day 1

Tyrell and Lilly safely landed in Juneau. We fueled up and then went on a short walk around Mendenhall Glacier Lake where we saw a triple sun dog – a sign of good luck as we embarked on our journey in Alaska.

We met up with a fellow dendrochronologist, Markus Stoffel (left), along with his family who are from Switzerland. We also met up with another colleague, Ben Gaglioti (second from left) who works as a researcher at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Ben joined us while we were in Hoonah as well.


Lilly and Tyrell in front of Nugget Falls. Which pours from a surrounding glacier into Mendenhall Lake.

Day 2

On day 2, The Wooster Tree Ring Lab (WTRL) crew started off the day with a hike on the West Glacier Loop trail.

Took a quick peanut butter and jelly lunch break with a great view of the glacier.

After a long journey we made it to the glacier’s terminus, and walked down into an ice cave beneath a moulin.

Day 3 


On day 3, we headed out on Alaska Seaplanes from Juneau to Hoonah.

Aerial view from the flight to Hoonah.

Once getting into Hoonah, we took a drive around town with our friend Jeff, who gave us a brief history of Hoonah. We then took a quick hike at the Suntaheen trailhead to stretch our legs.

Later that night, Nick, Lilly and Tyrell went out to pick some wild blueberries and salmonberries.


Day 4


On day 4, w met up with the Alaskan Youth Stewards (AYS) crew and then began our arduous hike up Ear Mountain to look for some slow growth Mountain Hemlock trees to core.

Photo of the “ears” of Ear Mountain.

Lilly coring a Mountain Hemlock.


Day 5


On day 5, we began the day by coring Yellow Cedar.

The AYS group had gone out on a boat earlier to catch Bull Kelp, Halibut and Dungeness crab. We met up with them at the harbor where they showed us how to filet halibut.

Photo of Bull Kelp.

We later helped them prep the Bull Kelp for pickling.

To end the day, we went to the beach to pick some beach asparagus.


Day 6


On day 6, we met with the AYS crew in the morning to show them the process of mounting, sanding and counting the tree cores.

After a quick lunch break, we learned how to pickle the Bull Kelp using a brine mixture and put them into jars.


Day 7

On day 7, after flying back to Juneau from Hoonah, Dr. Wiles, Lilly, and Tyrell visited the State Museum. We learned more about Alaska’s native population. Photo includes Woolly Mammoth tusks.

Exhibit of seal intestine raincoats that Alaskan natives would wear.

Exhibit of a large cross-section of old-growth Western Hemlock. This tree was commonly logged.


Day 8

Last photo in front of the Mendenhall Glacier before heading back to Wooster.

To learn more about the AYS group click here

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2 Responses to Coring Trees and Flying over Seas, Hoonah, Alaska 2023

  1. Mark Wilson says:

    Fantastic post, Lilly and Tyrell! An adventure of a lifetime. Such diverse experiences and activities. Wonderful images. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to seeing you back on campus!

  2. Emily Armour says:

    What a great trip! I love the photos and the explanations. You were really close to that glacier!
    (I just visited Exit Glacier (Seward, AK) 2 days ago, but you can’t get very close… It has receded quite a bit into steep and difficult terrain.)
    Keep up the good research!

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