Tag Archives: Alaska

An Honest Appraisal of Our Alaskan Travels

Trail of Blue Ice, Alaska

It was the best of times, it was just meh sometimes, it was an occasion for adventure, it was an occasion for boredom, it was a place of indescribable beauty, it was a place of insufferable kitsch – in short, Alaska was what we brought to it and sometimes what we brought just wasn’t enough.

Before leaving for Alaska I spoke with a woman who owns a campground that is a common launching point for road trips to the great white north. She said that people returning from their dream Alaskan excursion tell her they either loved the trip or hated it. Before actually going I couldn’t understand how anyone could hate Alaska. Now that I’m back, I can perhaps see where they’re coming from even if I don’t share the intensity of those feelings.

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Alaskan Dall Sheep

Alaskan Dall Sheep

Going to the Dogs at Denali

Alaskan Sled Dog, Denali National Park

They look more like lovable mutts you’d find frolicking in backyards rather than elite canines. That’s because the dogs of Denali National Park weren’t bred for a particular look but for traits crucial to their unique role, like large paws, long legs, and double-thick coats to withstand sub-zero temperatures. Another important quality: a strong desire to run and pull.

Denali is the only national park whose staff includes sled dogs, or Alaskan huskies. Furry, four-legged rangers of a sort, they play an important part in maintaining and protecting the park—patrolling acres of wilderness off limits to motorized vehicles, hauling supplies and humans such as wildlife researchers, and performing other important tasks.

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Exit Glacier Mountain View

Glaciers to Go

Hiking Exit Glacier, Alaska

You know you’re in the company of hardy folk when you hear them describe this portion of Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park as a “drive up glacier.” It’s true that Exit Glacier is the only area of the park accessible by road, but to describe it as “drive up” gives a whole new meaning to the expression.

We’ve seen a lot of drive-up stuff during our tour of the lower 48. It’s really amazing the ingenuity we use to serve people who never want to leave their car. There’s drive-up coffee, of course, but also laundry, banking, groceries, and – our all time favorite – drive-up liquor. Because, you know, nothing goes with a fifth of whiskey quite like the soft purr of an idling engine ready to hit the road.

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Float Plane, Alaska

Alaskan Float Plane

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