Sebago Lake in Maine is a special place. I've made a habit of visiting almost every year. The lush forests surrounding the lake, the wide open water, bald eagles, world-class lake kayaking, fishing, and pristine sandy beaches are all the things that make it worthwhile coming back to year after year.
The New England seacoast is a magical place. Small fishing towns, beaches, miles of marshland, islands and inlets. The seacoast is a source of income for many local fishermen, business owners hoping to cater to the bustling summer beach industry, as well as a source of inspiration and creativity. Many antique shops and galleries are scattered throughout towns like Essex, Portsmouth, and York.
Colorado doesn't need a ten paragraph blog post to explain the awesomeness of this place. So this time around, I won't bore you with the details. Not to say that there isn't much to talk about when it comes to my trip to Colorado a few weeks ago, but I figured this time, I'll let my photos do the talking.
Fall is awesome. Pacific Northwest is beautiful. Pacific Northwest in autumn is awesomely beautiful. Epic.
Few places in the world offer such pristine landscapes where glaciers meet the oceans, wild animals roam freely unafraid of people, and endless forests stretch as far as the eye can see. Alaska has a lot going for it, and I am glad I finally decided to check it out. A couple of my friends, Larisa and I started planning our trip earlier this year. Sometimes, when going to other parks, things are certain - go here, go there, hike this trail, hike that tail. Easy. Planning for Alaska was a whole different kind of beast.
Alaska has eight national parks, scattered across a landmass the size of eastern continental US. Transportation and amenities in Alaska are generally expensive compared to other destinations in the lower 48. Visiting as many different places as possible is usually in most people’s interest. After long deliberation and many days of research, we all agreed on three core places to visit: Kenai Fjords, Denali and Katmai National Parks over the course of ten days.
Alaska is known for the number of national parks and national forests and their size. For most people visiting the 49th state, Denali and Kenai Fjords national parks are at the forefront of the places to visit and are the most-visited national parks in the the northern part of the state.
When Larisa and I were originally planning our trip to Alaska, we didn't even consider any other parks due to their remote locations, high cost, and low popularity. I started doing more research and talking with people who have been to Alaska, I've discovered that the true gem of a park is actually located several hundred miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula - Katmai National Park and Preserve.
Katmai National Park, established only 35 years ago in 1980 to protect the area of extreme geological interest and the prime salmon and costal brown bear habitat is located 235 air miles from Anchorage and getting there isn't easy.
With an area larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, Denali offers enough space to cover the distance as far as the eye can see in all directions. Denali is the king of all the National Parks. We were slated to spend three days in the park - a tight schedule considering the sheer geographic area.
Denali National Park and Preserve is located about four hours north of Anchorage. Having been warned about wildfires along the Parks Highway, we made sure to leave early on Monday morning to make it to Denali at a decent hour. Luckily, there wasn’t much traffic, nor wildfires on the way up, and we even got a glimpse of Mt. McKinley from a viewpoint just south of the park. We were hoping that we’d get a much closer view of the mountain from inside the park, but later we’d be grateful for having at least seen it on the way in.
Located a couple hours south of Anchorage on the mountainous Kenai peninsula is Kenai Fjords National Park. Most of the land area of the park is actually covered by a massive glacier, a remnant of the ice sheet that covered much of North America as recently as 10,000 years ago. While Harding Icefield stretches over 300 square miles and flows out through 40 glaciers of varying types, it is rarely seen by most park visitors. For most people visiting Kenai Fjords Nat’l Park, the experience is all about marine wildlife and tidewater glaciers, seen by boat from the bays and inlets surrounding the park.
So I’m going to Alaska in July with my girlfriend and a couple of friends. This is a trip I’ve wanted to take for many years. After all, Alaska is that special, magical place everyone talks about, kind of like Iceland.
We’ll be gone for 10 days from July 3rd to July 13th. In the week and a half that we are there, we will be going to four key areas of the state: Anchorage (think cool galleries and shops), Kenai Fjords National Park (think whales and glaciers), Denali National Park (think sweeping views of tundra and Mt. McKinley), and Katmai National Park (think bears, lots of bears).