Summer In Alaska : The Land Of The Midnight Sun
Summer In Alaska
The Land Of The Midnight Sun
The Great Land, The Last Frontier, The Land Of The Midnight Sun… no matter what you name you give it, Alaska is undeniably an awe-inspiring, wild wonderland.
Believe it or not, I got my start in the world of Photography by taking pictures of landscapes. The ability to instantly take a shot that would document the magic of nature & to then be able to see & re-live those moments by looking at those images later was the thing that first made me fall in love with taking photos. Even though I spend most of my time shooting Portraits these days, I always incorporate elements of nature into my work as often as possible & I jump at opportunities to explore the great outdoors whenever my schedule allows. Just me, my camera, the sunset, and a beautiful landscape...heaven!
This particular travel blog is very close to my heart, as I was born in Anchorage, & much of my family lives & works in Alaska. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to make many summertime visits to Alaska to spend time with family, to disconnect & be in nature, & to have a very welcome break from my day-to-day work schedule. Following is a small collection of some of my favorite shots I’ve taken of myself and my family in the midst of our adventures from the past few years... photos of wildlife, fishing & hiking explorations, etc. I wanted to share a few of my favorite destinations with you as well - If you’d like to visit Alaska someday, be sure to keep a couple of these spots in mind! Read on to come exploring with me...
I find it very challenging to explain what Alaska is like to people who’ve never experienced it - the absolute rawness of the landscape is intense and overwhelming. I feel such a deep connection to spirit, to earth, and to myself when i am there - i always feel recharged and re-inspired after spending some weeks out in nature without the distractions of modern society. I’m a natural introvert, so having occasional time away from work and city environments is absolutely essential for me to be able to stay in touch with myself & my goals.
People don’t come to Alaska for the cities - they come for the adventure, for the sightseeing, and to experience something that we don’t have much left of in this world - peace, quiet & untouched, wild nature. There’s an instinctive, heightened sense of awareness that appears within us when we are out in the wilderness and have to be cognizant of the fact that we alone are responsible for our own existence - for finding shelter, water, food, and for protecting our tribe of loved ones from predators and threats. This reminder of what truly matters in life puts us back in touch with our primal selves and core needs. It’s something that i believe is extremely important for all of us humans to experience now and then. It’s so easy to disconnect from ourselves & our purposes on this earth when we live in cities or places where our careers, the expectations of others, and the stresses of our social obligations & everyday lives are always demanding our full attention.
What’s my favorite part about Alaska? I’ll never be able to decide… I love the native lore, art & history… the green forests, the flowers, the animal sightings (always lots of moose & bald eagles!), the multiple coffee shops, and the gorgeous landscapes. Every single year i count down the days to when i get to visit… it’s definitely my happy place.
Hatcher’s Pass, Alaska
Archangel Trail is located in a valley along Hatcher’s Pass & is one of my all-time favorite spots. It’s a gorgeous hiking area full of small streams & beaver ponds, blueberry patches, & stunning mountain ranges. It’s a little over an hour’s drive from Anchorage, & is the perfect summer day trip if you’re looking for a laid-back hiking adventure! The drive up the mountain to the trail head is unbelievably scenic - the glacier-blue river winds along the side of the road & in the summertime you can expect to see fields of glowing purple fireweed.
It’s a popular destination for rock climbers, & there are multiple little trails, boulders, & even some remnants of an old mine to explore. I’ve visited this valley multiple times throughout the years, & it’s always a beautiful experience regardless of whether it’s sunny & clear or overcast & rainy.
In addition to blueberries & fireweed, you can find Alaska Cotton plants, many types of wildflowers, & can definitely expect to see songbirds & ground squirrels rustling through the plants. If look closely, you can catch little glimpses of small trout in the clear river pools as well. I like to sit by the old water towers up towards the top & just breathe & take it all in… Being in the midst of those massive mountains makes me feel like i’m lost in a mystical landscape. It’s truly magical. Definitely a favorite adventure that can be enjoyed by people of all hiking levels!
If you’ve got an ATV at your disposal & want a more remote adventure, the Chickaloon area has multiple trail systems that lead to scenic views, amazing fishing, more blueberries, & if you keep an eye out, some moose sightings too! The Matanuska River is nearby & makes for another gorgeous fishing spot. Keep your eyes peeled for the details - on our most recent trip, we came across some black bear paw prints in the river mud! Another amazing trip - & the potential for exploration is endless.
If you’re like me & bring your camera everywhere, be sure to have a way to shield it from the elements - you & your gear will definitely get very, very muddy as you splash through the ATV trails. The mud is more than worth it, though - the expansive mountainscapes & wildlife sightings are absolutely breathtaking.
One of my favorite drives in the entire world will always be the trek along the Seward Highway. The road from Anchorage to Seward is unbelievably scenic...the views of the mountains & the ocean are expansive & amazing. There is so much to see around every corner & there are multiple places to stop & hike a bit to take a driving break & enjoy the views. If you’re lucky, & depending on the time of year, you might catch a glimpse of some Beluga Whales in the ocean inlet, or even of a few Dall Sheep hanging out on the cliffs along the side of the highway.
These pictures I've included for this section are simple and don’t do this drive justice - honestly, an entire blog post could be dedicated to the things you can see along this road. The small fishing town of Seward lies at the end of the highway, and is a popular destination for people looking to go out on a charter boat and ocean fish. There are campgrounds, multiple hikes, & a cute little downtown area full of cute shops and coffee houses to explore. This little day trip never gets old for me!
Kenai River & Denali Highway, Alaska
Alaska is a veritable mecca for both deep-sea and fly fishermen alike! The yearly salmon runs draw crowds of people all looking for their next big catch - watching the fishing action & competition is, in my opinion, just as enjoyable if not more so than participating. The massive Kenai River is a popular destination for Salmon, and my family & I make trips there upon occasion to see what we can reel in. Another popular place for fly fishermen is throughout the Denali highway - all of the multiple little creek systems and hidden ponds are full of potential!
A Few last thoughts…
I always tell anyone that I talk to about Alaska that if they’ve never been, they must visit if they ever get the chance. It’s more than deserving of a place on your bucket list! There are so many places in Alaska that I have never seen or explored and I hope that I am able to in the future. One of my personal bucket list items is to be able to photograph some wild bears someday - hopefully from a safe distance! I’ve seen a few bears over the years, but they’ve all been away on some far- off hillside, or I’ve just been unlucky & not had my camera on me at the right time in the right place. Someday, i’ll make it happen. Below are a few more photos of my favorite views…the flights in & out of Anchorage, Thunderbird Falls, & the full moon reflecting off of the lake nearby my family’s cabin. As cliche as it may sound, I believe I am truly blessed to be able to visit this unique place so often & to know that I can go there to rediscover my wild woman self & reconnect with my soul desires whenever i’m feeling lost.
Have you been to Alaska? If so, where did you go? what was your favorite experience?
share your thoughts with me in the comments down below - i’d love to hear them!
Hello! I’m a Portrait, Lifestyle, & Personal Branding Photographer based in Portland, Oregon.
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