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By Natalie from Infinite Adventures
When is the last time you experienced something bigger than you expected?
I always thought of Alaska as a remote and wild place, cold, snowy and full of wild animals. After spending three months in the most northern state of North America, I can confirm the remote wilderness and wild animals.
Not so much during the summer months – in fact, Alaska is also called the land of the midnight sun, so during June and July you will almost get 24 hours of sunlight!
- When is the last time you experienced something bigger than you expected?
- When is the last time you overcame your fears and did it?
- When is the last time you felt like being a part of nature, a part of something bigger?
- When is the last time you felt your own energy and joy of life at a different level?
Come and join me on one of my adventures in Alaska.
What is an adventure in Alaska like?
Alaska takes any hiking experience to a new level as there are many places where you won’t find hiking trails. It’s for you to decide whether to head north, south, east or west.
It’s for you to decide whether to hop over the small creek or find another way around it. And it’s also on you to keep your senses alert and be aware of possibly running into a bear or a moose!
But hold on, I should start my story by mentioning the adventurous ride on Denali Highway – one of the most remote highways in Alaska – a gravel road in partially poor conditions.
Bouncing around in our remodelled school bus we make our way to the Maclaren Lodge. From there we pack up some cooking gear and tents ready for our wilderness adventure. An hour boat ride brings us close to the bottom of Maclaren Glacier.
Wilderness: no cell phone, no cars and no trails
Now we’re out in the wilderness on our own, no mobile phone reception and no roads. With excitement mixed with a slight anxiousness, we pitch our tents quickly and then head off towards the glacier – an easy landmark to head towards.
Hopping over small creeks, enjoying the stunning view of the glacier and surrounding mountains in front of us we are making our way through the brush. Soon we can’t see our tents anymore.
We’re starting to realise that it is easier to head towards the glacier, but trying to remember the way back without any significant landmarks is a different hiking experience.
But this is what we came to Alaska for – experiencing the wilderness and getting out of our comfort zones.
I overcome my slight worries about how to find our way back, start looking for animals and enjoying the freedom to choose my own path.
We finally reach the bottom of the glacier and climb on a small hill to rest, enjoying the view and trying the wild blueberries.
Spotting antlers in the brush!
Suddenly I spot antlers not far from us on the left.
“Is this a moose? Do I have to run and hide behind a tree? Where do I hide if there aren’t any trees around?”
Thoughts flash through my mind before realising that these antlers belonged to a caribou which isn’t supposed to be dangerous.
We duck down and watch him curiously looking at us, prancing back and forth to get a better line of sight. After watching the caribou for a while, enjoying the close encounter with wildlife, it’s time to turn around and find our way back to “base camp”.
It’s already after 5 pm! Hiking in such a remote and stunning place allows you to forget the time. It wasn’t so much a problem with daylight as the sun shines past 11 pm, but we were all getting pretty hungry!
But with the flat skirts at the bottom of the glacier and the river somewhere to our left it isn’t too difficult to find “back home”.
Campfire and gazing at the stars
After reaching our tents, we’re ready for a well-earned dinner and an evening around the campfire.
What is better in life than sitting next to the campfire, listening to the river, birds, and wind while chatting with your fellow travellers about your trailblazing adventure?
Maybe the fact that most of us decide to sleep outside and gaze at the stars for a while before we fall asleep.
You can watch a short video of hiking in Alaska here:
Natalie left Germany at the end of 2010 to backpack West Africa. After feeling the freedom of the road, she applied for a tour leading job and since then has been driving overland trucks from Cairo to Capetown and Rio de Janeiro to Quito. After remodelling an old school bus into an ultimate overland vehicle and starting her own adventure company with Dave (who she met travelling and working in Africa) Natalie is on the road again. This time to enjoy the beauty and wilderness of Alaska with like-minded people.
To hear more from Natalie and David, listen to our podcast interview with them here.