(Caption: Glacier runoff can be seen leading towards to the Denali and the Alaska Mountain Range; Denali National Park, July 2016)
When I think about traveling, the first thing that comes to mind is Europe. With that initial thought, it’s easy to forget about the marvelous locations in our very own backyard! Well, maybe this place is a tad farther than your backyard, but nonetheless, it is still a part of the lovely United States of America! I am talking about our 49th state, Alaska! Now what makes Alaska so special? Well, it’s pretty much a whole new world, and I had the privilege to spend a month there this past July for an internship. Keep on reading to see why this state should be added to your bucket list!
(One of the many moose crossings; Talkeetna, AK; July 2016)
You might think people are joking when they say moose are everywhere, but they’re not kidding! When driving, you have to very vigilant for moose popping out and crossing the roads, just like deer here in the continental US! The thing about moose is they are very territorial, so if you see baby moose (calves) there is a momma somewhere (cow) protecting her babies! Along with moose, you have to be wary of the bears! Both black and brown bears are found throughout Alaska, and the first time I saw one, it was an exciting experience. Black bear sightings are more common in Alaska because they are curious creatures, but you can possibly see a brown bear hiking in the woods. If you plan to visit, please make sure that you have the proper protection (ex. bear spray) when hiking!
(Eagle River Nature Center, Eagle River, Alaska; July 2016)
If there was one thing I could not get enough of, it was the views! Everywhere you looked, there were mountains (and I’m not talking about the mountain-scapes of NEPA… These views blew you away!). One of my favorite things about Alaska is that there is a State or National Park close to you no matter where you are. The state of Alaska does a very good job of preserving their state/national parks.
(Myself at Denali National Park, July 2016)
Denali Nation Park
Formerly known as Mount McKinley, Mount Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America. The summits elevation stands at 20,310 feet above sea level, which gives it the title as the third most prominent and most isolated peak after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. While I was unfortunately unable to summit any part of the mountain (due to it being off climbing season in July), the sight of this marvelous mountain has aspired me to summit it one day. But even if summiting Denali is not for you, there are plenty of other things to do in Denali National Park! Like all National Parks, there is a visitor center with loads of information and easy trails located around the center.
(Seward, Alaska; July 2016)
This little fishing city in the Kenai Peninsula is home to many different attractions from fishing, camping, hiking and boat tours. While I was there, I had the privilege to go on a boat tour and see most of the Kenai Peninsula and the wildlife that inhabit it. One of the best parts of this little city is that all of the food is SO fresh! One of Alaska’s biggest exports are the Alaskan King Crab and King Salmon. Seward is 100% the place to go if you want a “straight from the boat” seafood experience. If you ever make it over to Alaska, definitely add Seward and the Kenai onto your to-do list because you won’t regret it!
Many, Many More!
While I wish I could take you through a slide show of everything that I saw, I have included some photos and captions below of some of my favorite sights. So remember: when you are thinking about traveling somewhere, please don’t forget about the beauties in your own backyard, like Alaska!
(Myself underneath a melting glacier; Byron Glacier, Alaska; July 2016)
(Denali National Park, Alaska; July 2016)
(Beluga Point, Alaska; July 2016)
(Humpback Whale’s tail, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska; July 2016)