I boarded the plane in Portland (Oregon) at 9pm with the sun just dropping below the horizon. During the three and a half hour flight, I drifted off for about an hour, waking up at 11pm to sunshine pouring through the oval window. I knew the sun sets late during an Alaskan summer, but this was just unreal! The sky had the look of early morning, the golden hour light dancing over far off peaks. Below us, snow-capped mountains shot up as far as I could see. I honestly have not seen anything like that in my whole life. At that point I got giddy, knowing Alaska would be an experience like no other. I laughed to myself, remembering I haven’t even touched ground yet.
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My friend Zach, who also is a First Responder and highly trained mountaineer picked me up at the airport. He has a truck ready for the apocalypse, fitted with room to sleep, a camp kitchen, extra storage, and outlets for charging all sorts of devices. For the next 10 days, we’ll be driving the route for our summer itinerary, meeting with all the outfitters, and checking out the various accommodations. We haven’t left Anchorage yet, but even Anchorage is nestled between literally hundreds of peaks. It’s stunning.
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From here, we’re driving east to McCarthy. McCarthy is a small mining town that originally was meant to be what Anchorage turned into. Because the train tracks were diverted away from their originally planned route, McCarthy never grew. Now it’s a sleepy town at the edge of North America’s largest national park, Wrangell St.Elias National Park and Reserve. It’s just shy of 13 million acres (six times bigger than Yellowstone). It’s where we’ll be spending three days this summer doing a combination of glacier walking and ice climbing, rafting, and taking a historic tour of the town, learning all about its history and that of Alaska.
David signing off!