Into the wild we go...
The quaint town of Ketchikan.
It’s hard to believe but Creek Street, a local arts and crafts area was once the Red Light District of Alaska. Now instead of men, salmon travel by the thousands in the summer months upstream to spawn.
Everyone is obsessed with kettle corn in Alaska! The flavors were endless. My favorite cinnamon-sugar.
A local totem pole artist who still relies on traditional methods in crafting totem poles. They can cost up to $30,000!
Except for occasionally opting to use the much more convenient store bought paint, totem pole artists use natural materials to achieve their structural and aesthetic qualities.
Traveling through Alaska is incredibly picturesque.
The fresh caught halibut made these fish and sticks melt in my mouth- literally! And the salmon chowder was like no other.
Traveling along the Inside Passage.
I fell in love with this Pendelton blanket I found in a small craft store in Juneau!
Wolves, foxes, bears, oh my! Whether its a mink or angora you are looking for-take your pick of furs they run bountiful in shops all around the coast.
Icebergs from Mendenhall Glacier.
This was downtown Juneau!
The first glacier I saw in Glacier Bay National Park!
I felt like I was standing in front of a fake backdrop it was so beautiful!
This mama bear did not want me getting anywhere near her two adorable cubs that I wanted to scoop up.
This was my first time ever seeing our national bird.
Glaciers of College Fjord named after American Ivy League schools.
The glaciers are magically blue, even more so than this picture lets on.
Taking the White pass railroad up the rugged terrain of the Yukon route.
“The mountains are calling and I must go,” words written by the famous American naturalist, John Muir, were ringing in my ears when I decided to join my father and little sister on a trip to discover southeastern Alaska. Muir, who was the first to claim that much of Alaska was formed by glaciers, often traveled alone taking only a tin cup, a handful of tea, bread, and his copy of Emerson. Feeling inspired, I attempted to pack light: my Fjallraven backpack, a 35mm camera, trusty boots, and way too many jackets, and headed off to discover the last frontier. Knowing next to nothing about Alaska, except that the unabashed Sarah Palin resided there and that nature reigns, it had quite an impressionable impact on my New York pessimism. The pristine landscapes revealed to me a place where, simply put, life is different. The blue glaciers dating back to the ice age, the wildlife, and the small port towns elicited a spiritual recognition and undiscovered appreciation for the natural environment within me.
Traveling along the inside passage of Alaska, a narrow strip of land that borders British Columbia, we stopped in three port towns on the way to Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord. Our first stop was in the southernmost port and salmon capital of the world, Ketchikan. The historic town houses the world’s largest collection of totem poles, which we were able to watch a local artist make in the Saxman village. The lovely Ketichikan creek flows through the middle of the town forcing shops and houses to be built above and around it. After gorging on fresh fish and chips and tons of kettle corn, we made our way north to the capital Juneau.
Juneau has no roads leading out of the city and is only accessible by boat or plane. The high country, forested mountain slopes, rocky shores and salt marshes of the island's channels mark a distinct Alaskan ecosystem and makes perfectly for a wildlife expedition. Along with a naturalist expert, we jetted around the waters of Juneau and were lucky enough to see not only humpback whales but also two orca--a.k.a killer whales--as they were diving! Before reaching Glacier Bay National Park we made a final stop in the small town of Skagway, population of about 700. This town was born at the turn of the century during the Gold Rush days and was known as the “Gateway to the Klondike.” We boarded the White Pass Railroad, which takes you up through Alaska on the Yukon route, the very same path taken by hopefuls looking to strike gold. Along this incredibly scenic passageway I saw some of the best landscape views of Alaska as well as the Steel Cantilever Bridge, an architectural feat considering the terrain it was erected on.
But what is perhaps the most defining gift of Alaska are its Ice Age glacial formations. Often thought of as static, these colossal and incredibly dense structures are very much active, continuously dropping icebergs into the sea as well as slowly melting changing the Alaskan landscape. Winding through mountains, Glacier Bay National Park spans 3.3 million acres of inlets that move the tide from the glaciers towards the sea. Up the coast on the pocket of Prince William Sound the 16 tidewater glaciers that form College Fjord are all named after Ivy League schools that represent the scientists that discovered the area in 1899.