Destination Alaska

In a month and a half I am flying up to Alaska to work for a bush plane company operating out of Wrangel St. Elias National Park and Preserve (map / wiki).

 

When I visited Wrangel St. Elias National Park last year it made a lasting impression on me. I toured the old coper mining facility and took a guided hike out onto Root Glacier. It was an incredible experience, and the deep sense of remoteness anchored my interest in the area.

 

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Copper mining facility in Kennicott.

 

I’m scheduled to stay there for three months to work as a shuttle driver and mechanic for Wrangell Mountain Air (website). I’ve been hired to transport people between the hotels in Kennicot to where the airport is in McCarthy and to maintain and wash the shuttle vans. It’s about a 45 minute drive between Kennicott and McCarthy, and I’ll be making that circuit a handful of times per day. 

 

I think I’ll get to know that chewed up dirt road very well.

 

As you might expect, the real reason I applied for this job is not for the stellar pay or invaluable work experience but for the chance to live in and explore the most rugged and expansive wilderness in the United States. If Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve became its own state, it would be the nations 42nd largest, just behind West Virginia. People could claim a plot of land and homestead within the park as recently as 1986.

 

This place is out there.

 

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Guided tour out on Root Glacier.

 

I consider this to be my last hurrah.

 

When I get back home in September, I plan on returning to the default work world. Over the last year I’ve stretched my dollar as far as possible, and I have no regrets having done so. But this is the reality of my situation.

 

So the countdown begins. I fly out on May 21st, and I am vibrating with anticipation.

 

Because I’ll be staying in one place instead of writing from the road I hope to convey a more full and intimate depiction of the area, and I expect with relative certainty that this trip will produce will be some of my most inspired work yet.

 


 

These are a few of my favorite landscape pictures from Alaska when I visited last August.

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Ferry ride up to Haines, Alaska.


 

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Sunset in Haines (location).


 

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Near Northway Junction (location).


 

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Eagle Trail State Recreation Area just south of Tok (location).


 

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Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve near Chitina (location).


 

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Off of McCarthy Road in Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve (location).


 

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Off of McCarthy Road in Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve (location).


 

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Matanuska River near Palmer (location).


 

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Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park (location).


 

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Denali National Park (location)

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