Why You Should Visit Alaska – Adventure and Awe Are Closer Than You Think

When I first began telling everyone that I planned to visit Alaska, I was surprised that many people didn’t share the same enthusiasm I did for the incredible beauty of the landscape, amazing opportunities for adventure, and intriguing people and wildlife. You don’t want to visit the largest mountain above sea level in the world, and see the mind boggling power and size of timeless glaciers?! You don’t want to experience Iditarod dog sledding, fly-in salmon fishing, snorkeling in crystal clear and totally unique eco-systems, ATVing into untamed wilderness, river rafting, ziplining, huge trains and more cool planes that one person can be reasonably expected to handle?! WELL WHY THE HELL NOT. Now that I’m back from experiencing it firsthand, I’m preaching Alaska to anyone who wants a vacation that won’t break the bank, but will blow their mind.

Why You Should Plan a Trip to Alaska: Adventure-seeking Made Easy

alaska glacier bay

alaska mckinley explorer denali

Now, admittedly- if you’re only seeking luxury and quiet relaxation by a pool, Alaska is not for you. Book a cheap holiday for 2014, find a beautiful sun soaked spot, and more power to you. With that disclaimer out of the way, you have your whole life to take those types of trips and explore those types of experiences. Heading up to Alaska, in the winter or the summer, offers a unique combination of once in a life time scenery, pioneer history, incredible wildlife, and an expansive stretch of pristine nature just waiting to for you to come and play. If in between all that, you want to take a break and unwind, then that’s cool too; it’s an easygoing place. It may seem worlds away, but for the price of an overseas flight, you can pay for your entire trip- and there are other benefits too: If you live in the states, there are no currency exchange issues, language barriers, visa and passport hassles, or unfamiliar rules for driving or transit.

alaska mendenhall glacier and waterfall

I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of traveling, and it’s been to a number of totally different types of locales in terms of climate and culture. One thing that I can say truthfully is that I enjoyed my time in Alaska even more than most of my time traveling through Europe. It’s not that they’re comparable- it’s that Alaska spoke to me on a much wilder, more primal level. Every direction I traveled in was a stark reminder that there are still many places on Earth that we haven’t absolutely destroyed with greed and excess. In Skagway, and Juneau, mountains wreathed in wispy clouds frame brilliant blue skies, protectively guarding the towns and tapering right down into the base of the community. Ketchikan reclines along the coastline, with dense forests right behind that give way to Misty Fjords National monument. And between Anchorage and Fairbanks, attended to by six million acres of the most beautiful land I’ve ever had the joy to explore, lies the crown jewel of my entire traveling career, Mt. McKinley.

alaska mckinley at 30000 feet

Also known as Denali, this mountain is more than enough reason to visit the state, but nowhere near all it has to offer. The third most prominent peak in the world (only behind Everest and Aconcagua,) it’s a beautiful and fickle reminder of how absolutely small we are. I say fickle because at its staggering height, it distorts the air currents around it and creates its own unpredictable weather. During my travels through the state, locals kept telling me how lucky I was to continually catch glimpses of the mountain- especially when it revealed itself from base to summit. (Some of you who follow our Facebook page might have gotten to share my first glimpse with me.) It’s said that about 30% of visitors will see some part of Denali (The High One), but only 10% will witness it fully unobstructed. I was one of the lucky ones, and later on in this series I’m going to share what it’s like to buzz around the base of the mountain through the Alaska range at 7,000 feet.

alaska denali mt. mckinley

alaska iditarod sled dogs blue eyes

So why should you visit Alaska? Over the next week or two, I’m going to share with you some of the gems that I discovered firsthand while traveling across the state which I promise will transform your life if you get the chance to head up there to experience them. Landing on a lake in the wild places of the fjords with Carlin Air in Ketchikan, racing through the forests outside Juneau with Iditarod sled dogs during summer training, biking out to abandoned Gold Rush towns in Skagway, floating through Glacier Bay National Park to witness the calving of a glacier and the birth of icebergs, training from Anchorage into Denali National Park, experiencing life at a dog ranch that’s fully off the grid and self sufficient outside Fairbanks, watching the Aurora Borealis from the warmth of a window-walled log cabin in the lightless hills above the city- this isn’t a National Geographic Adventure special. For a few weeks it was my life, and it changed the way I look at the world and the things I want out of it… so stick around, and I’ll share it with you.




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Author, Designer, and "that girl your mother warned you about." Looking good seems to be my job, whether it's working with the site design, or a number of other more interesting capacities. I have a ridiculous sense of humour and a brutal sense of honesty- you'll see a lot of that coming through in my writing, so don't say I didn't warn you if I somehow manage to offend you AND hurt your feelings at the same time. On the plus side, it makes my dating and advice columns a lot more pertinent to an unfinished man in the real world.

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