By: Melonie Graves
Alaska is by far the largest American state, equaling roughly one-sixth of the entire Country. The Aleut people called it Alaska, the great land, a land that was rich with wildlife and natural resources to feed, clothe and house them. In mid-summer, even at midnight, the sun is so bright you would think it is 12:00 noon. Even at that late hour, I found myself enjoying a snack and listening to Loons and Canadian geese calling on Campbell Lake. I was awakened the following morning to the moving parking lot of floatplanes taxiing the lake to depart for work, a way of life in Alaska.
Just south of Anchorage, the Seward highway hugs the dramatic shorelines of Turnagain Arm, a four-mile wide flats area where Alaska’s most famous bore tide occurs. Driving along the Seward highway, you can expect to see moose and mountain goats on the side of road, eagles soaring in the sky above, and absolutely breathtaking views of white-capped mountains on the horizon. Seward, better known to most as the embarkation or debarkation point for many of the major cruise lines, but more importantly, it marks the beginning of the 1200-mile Iditarod, the famed sled dog race and a National Historic Trail to Nome.
During our visit, we explored over 140 miles of Prince William Sound and saw 26 glaciers, none of which looked the same. While cruising, we saw seals lounging on ice floats and sea otters playing with their babies, bald eagles everywhere, and black bear on shore fishing for their next meal. Occasionally, we saw orca or humpback whales. The highlight of my trip was a day of trekking Matanuska Glacier, putting on yaktraxs and taking off on solid ice, exploring stunning melt water pools, towering ice formations, and mysterious crevasses. We were able to capture incredible views of the Alaska Range, the Talkeetna Mountains and the Chugac Mountains. Alaska, with all of its spectacular beauty, wildlife, mountains, and water ways, will simply take your breath away and seems bigger than life itself.