Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Fish on the Alaskan Tundra

ALASKA: A place where the sun never sets and the mountains last forever. Two summers ago I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: a month on the Alaskan tundra and Prince William Sound. I went with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and I'm not kidding, this was by far the best month of my entire life. Nowhere else I have ever been compares to Alaska's ability to take your breath away. This is coming from someone who loves to be outside, but you catch my drift. 

With 14 other students my age, I hiked across the Chugach Mountain Range for the first two weeks (beginning in Anchorage and ending in Valdez), and sea kayaked across Prince William Sound for the second two weeks (beginning in Valdez and ending in Whittier). I'm convinced the only way to express the aura and beauty of Alaska is through pictures I took while I was there, so here we go.

These are the girls on the very first day of hiking! My hair was still clean at this point. Look how stylish we are. 

Kristen is one of my best friends from home, and she somehow let me convince her to come to Alaska with me. I'm also seriously considering moving to Colorado next year with  her. 

If you look really closely, you can see our tents at the base of the mountains. Ladies and gentlemen, my humble abode for the month.

These are the best cinnamon buns I've ever had (once they were cooked). Now, this is probably because I was in the middle of nowhere, but it's amazing what you're capable of making when you carry around flour, raisins and cinnamon and are desperate for something sweet and bad for you. This is also why I probably didn't lose a single pound on this trip.


My instructors hung up Tibetan prayer flags on their tent at each campsite. I love the colors and I now have a pair hanging in my room at home. 

Hiking is tiring. This is also the spot where we saw a mama grizzly and her cub down in the valley. It was awesome!

In between the hiking and sea kayaking session, we spent a day in Valdez getting ready for the next two weeks. Watermelon has never tasted so good. Oh, and I got my first (and only) shower for the trip.

Sea kayaking in Prince William Sound.

Absolutely breath-taking.

Some of the most amazing people I've ever met.


 This is why Alaska is my favorite state.

Kayaking next to the glaciers was awesome, but very cold. They really put you into your place in the world--they're HUGE.

Kristen, myself and Brady in our cool gear.

Our very last campsite on the beach. I need to go back here.

The girls right before we went back to Anchorage. This was one of the most bittersweet feelings I've ever experienced. Obviously I couldn't wait for a shower and some new clothes, but there's nothing like living off of the earth for a month. I can't WAIT to do it again. 

And there you have it. Alaska does in fact exist. I hope you enjoyed the pictures! 

xo, MPF

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