In 2005, when I came home from a summer studying in Ghana, I was on the phone with my grandmother, and she said “Now all you need to see is Alaska.”
For my grandmother, who died in 2009 as the last of my grandparents, Alaska was truly the last frontier. I found it so interesting that she was so enamored with this distant, oil-producing extension of the United States, of which it accounts for a fifth of its size.
Then you should go see it, I told her. Maybe, she said, but I don’t think so, not now.
So I went.
Today I arrived back from a two-week, backpacking tour through three national parks sandwiched between landing in Fairbanks and departing Anchorage.
Some sights I saw:
- I sat on a freakin’ glacier
- I saw freakin’ icebergs
- The top of a small peak of the Kenai Mountains near the Exit Glacier
- A glacier feeding a river, cutting away rock for thousands of years
- Long, lonely, beautiful hikes off empty dirt roads
- Famed, oil pipeline
- Wolves, coyotes mountain goats, moose, sea otter and other animals I ain’t seen before in the wiiilllld
- I fished for Alaskan pink salmon and caught a bunch… all of which were already spawning
- Vast, evergreen forests (though not as large as the ones part of the logging industry elsewhere in the state)
- Uh, the Northernmost Denny’s in the World, which brought many a remark about my past with Denny’s and travel.
- The inside of a Chevy Imapala with three other dudes for the better part of a couple weeks