Alaska: The Last Frontier

2 people, 1200 miles

By Pavel S.

As a foreign students, we’re always trying to explore the US as much as we can. We didn’t have exact plan for our trip, just plane tickets to Alaska and a truck rented from Turo. We didn’t stay at one place for more than one night — new day, new destination. We ended up visiting Anchorage, Palmer, Matanuska Glacier, Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali, Alyeska, Whittier, Kenai, and Seward only in six days.

Our first stop on our way up to Matanuska Glacier was Reindeer Farm in Palmer, where we got to feed elk, reindeer, and bison.

We chose Matanuska Glacier not only because of its outstanding views, but also because of its accessibility. Stunning vistas, ice fields, mountain rivers, and its landscapes make this glacier look like another planet.

On our way to Talkeetna, we had to stop almost every half hour — we couldn’t pass up each opportunity to take in the breathtaking views.

The road to Denali seemed empty — we only encountered moose and bears along the highway.

Denali National Park was our one-night stop because of the weather conditions. Even in May, there was snow and average temperatures hovered below 40 degrees. We hiked the whole day and explored pristine environment.

On the way to Alyeska, we decided to take a road less taken through Hatcher Pass. The sign said that the road wouldn’t be open until July, but we decided to give it a try. A few miles later, we were fully immersed in a wild taiga and found the road blocked by a huge layer of snow and ice, so we had to make a U-turn and head back to the highway.

Alyeska Resort was surprisingly comfortable as we wound our way to Whittier. We took a tram to the top of the mountain, where you can see the astonishing Turnagain Arm (with a bunch of snow on the top, of course), and the weather took a turn for the better, so we caught some summer sun in the very wintery conditions.

A glacier boat tour in Whittier was one of our Alaskan must-dos — killer whales, humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, alongside 26 different glaciers in only five hours.

Our last stop was Exit Glacier near Seward. It’s crazy how fast it is melting, and consequently the landscape changes here every year.

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