I've been trying to put this post together over the past couple of weeks and I simply haven't been able to find the words to truly describe what spending five days in Alaska was like. I didn't see darkness the entire time I was there, I think I slept a total of 26 hours over the five days, and I can honestly say that I don't think there is anywhere else in North America that compares to Alaska.
The main goal of the trip was a bear hunt for my Dad. We were unsuccessful on that front, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. We explored and hiked the Alaskan bush at all hours of the day, starting hikes at 11 AM one day and 2 AM the next. Another day we got snowed on at the Arctic Circle with eating steak out of gold pans. We braved 26° temps in the stand at 4 AM, only to have the day time temp the next day reach 75°. We saw all the scat: wolf, moose, bear, deer, and ptarmigan and found a fully intact lynx skull (was able to get that back to WA without much trouble which is awesome). We got in a helicopter and saw some mountain goats just east of Denali National Park. It's truly awe inspiring how much we were able to do and yet we hardly scratched the surface of what interior Alaska has to offer - not to mention that we didn't even touch coastal AK, northern AK, the tundra, the numerous mountain ranges, and the islands to the west, all of it is still left to explore.
I'm going to walk through the trip with a series of photos, which don't show the true beauty that the Alaskan wilderness has to offer - I'll do my best, but you really need to experience it in person.
First view of Denali from Fairbanks
Day one, headed north into the wilderness
Night one, photo taken sometime around midnight
We had some snow and incredible golden hour light at the Arctic Circle
Helicopter tour was an unexpected addition to our trip, Denali in the distance
Zoomed view of the photo above, Denali
Looking into a valley of Denali State Park, just east of Denali National Park
Same as above, looking more south
Panoramic from the mountain top on the helicopter tour, Denali is -----^
"Sunrise", but did the sun ever really set? View to the south west on top of a ridge during a 2AM hike
About to start a two-mile trek through the Alaskan bush
Midway through the trek, being full disconnected from civilization was quite nice
Chipmunk, really posing for the photo here
The rock formation on this ridge looks like a musher with their sled dog team, used as a landmark for truck drivers and pilots in the area
Dad glassing over the valley to the east during the helicopter tour, he was STOKED
Panorama with our trusty stead parked oh so nicely in the ridge line
From the ridge; Jay, Dad, and me, with Denali in the background