Alaska. It is the most northern and western state in the United States (note: Although the Aleutian islands go several degrees beyond the 180 degree mark, the International Date Line bends to keep it all on one side). Alaska is also the largest state. It is perhaps the last true frontier this country has. For comparison, the state is about 9,653 times as large as the nations capitol, Washington DC, and yet they have essentially the same population.
Visiting Alaska had always been a dream of mine. The raw beauty of the state combined with my fondness for cold weather and my love of hiking gives Alaska a special status for me. Thus it was with great enjoyment that I spent a few weeks in the summer of 2000 hiking and kayaking in Alaska with some friends.
The trip was broken in two sections. For roughly one week, we had a back-country permit which allowed us to roam freely about a small section of Denali National Park. The solitude and sheer vastness of the state is perhaps what best characterizes this portion of the trip.
The second portion of the trip included roughly a week of sea-kayaking in Glacier Bay National Park. Although not a huge fan of water, the experience here was beyond words. I have never seen so much wildlife outside of a zoo before.
Some day I hope to return to Alaska. With only two weeks of time available, I was barely able to scratch the surface of what lies within this state. Besides, I have always wanted to see what the winter there is like!