Alaska: Bears, Berries, and Mountain Beauty

After I visited Alaska as part of a journalism fellowship in 2008, I admit I hadn’t given the state much more thought. Not to say I didn’t have an incredible time during my two weeks at a scientific research station in the remote Arctic, a place most people never see. I hiked the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, saw muskoxen in the wild, and swam in the Arctic Ocean.

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But I’m one of those “once and done” people—there’s so many places to see in the world, I’m hyper-focused on getting to as many as I possibly can. So I rarely repeat, with the exception of Paris (I have family there, and well, it’s Paris) and sentimental spots like Ocean City, Maryland.

But I was extremely lucky to get another chance to explore Alaska when my clever boyfriend won an organized trip there. And not just any organized trip–a pricey seven-day journey that we would never be able to afford.

And man am I glad I rediscovered Alaska. Like last time, I flew into Fairbanks, but then traveled south instead of north, going through Denali National Park, Talkeetna, Girdwood, Prince William Sound, and then Anchorage. At each place, the scenery is truly knock-your-socks-off, and it’s relatively easy to see wildlife, whether you’re in the backcountry or just biking along downtown Anchorage.

Alaska Wildflowers

My picture album has a lot more details of what I saw, so I won’t repeat it here, but suffice it to say I’m definitely making an exception to my repeat rule with Alaska and going back a third time—after all, I haven’t seen the Inside Passage and the cool towns of Seward and Homer. Who knows when that will be, but it’s officially on my bucket list!

I usually close out my blog posts with a hint of my next trip, but I don’t have anything major planned at the moment. I am going to Minnesota next month, which will mean I have only three states left to visit: North Dakota, Iowa, and Hawaii. I’d love to visit the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota—we’ll see if I can make that trip happen sometime in 2015!