I have travelled to a lot of very different places over the years. After each trip, I have a coffee table book printed with all the photographs of the holiday, and it is amazing when I look through these albums every few years, to see how many beautiful places I was fortunate enough to explore.
|Alaska from the airplane|
|Mountains & pink flowers|
These are also their top (or rather only) tourism months, so just beware, because the price of everything is four times the normal price!
It is like stepping into a different era, a time before we all became so totally disconnected by technology and our many social connections. Historically, Alaska is a place that has attracted those fed up with conventionality - I think I can fit right in...
|Harbour @ Seward|
|Alaskan Liquid Gold|
I also didn't realise how much money they are making from their fur trade. They call it liquid gold. When you visit their art galleries, I found that everything had a dark, almost sinister undertone, testament to what it takes to survive in this wilderness. This is truly the last frontier.
We saw a husky breeding farm, which was started by Susan Butcher, a remarkable woman who is an Alaskan legend. She won the Iditerod race seven times, when nobody even thought she had a chance to survive the first one. She died recently of cancer, but her husband is continuing her wonderful legacy. The huskies gave us quite a show I must say. Next on the river, we visited an Inuit village, and learnt about Salmon farming and drying (that is how they feed their animals during the cold winter months). They also had a water plane take off next to us, and the houses we viewed on the riverbank was absolutely spectacular mansions, each with their plane and boat docked outside on the river.
|Santa's House @ North Pole|
Next it was off to the Wildlife Conservation Centre, to see whether the bears are just an Alaskan rumour... It is a brilliant, vast, well kept "sanctuary" where they have Bison, Elk, Moose, Brown and Black Bear, Musk Ox, Eagles and more in huge contained areas, where they can roam free, but safe. You can walk or drive this route, it is perfectly safe and not too big to walk around.
I get that. I left a piece of my heart in Alaska, and barely a day goes by that I do not think about, or long to go visit it again. Why is it that Alaska crawled into my heart? I guess after being there, I realised that I am secretly dreaming of a simpler life. A life where everything still has value, where time goes by slowly, and where e-mails don't have to be attended to hourly.