Heading North To The Great Unknown

I recently had the opportunity to visit Alaska for the first time, a trip that merged work and play and allowed me to: attend a day long meeting in Anchorage regarding our National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska campaign; meet and build relationships with various League partners in Alaska; travel by train from Anchorage to Talkeetna (and meet the local mayor, Mr. Stubbs); and, have the unbelievable luck to see amazing places (Denali) and amazing wildlife (four moose!). This is a recap of my trip, and some photos I took along the way – make sure to click on each for a better view!

I took this first photo while walking along the Coastal Trail in Anchorage, joined by fellow League employee Maggie Massey and her dog Brownie. We walked a short portion of the 11-mile trail along Anchorage’s Cook Inlet coast. The trail has great opportunities for recreation, and of course beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

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Next stop was Talkeetna. Knowing my winter driving skills were not up to par, I decided to get there via the Alaska Railroad, which is located on the southern edge of Denali National Park and Preserve. On the train I was treated to spectacular views of the mountains and wild landscape along the way. Each moose we passed brought with it a heads up from the train engineers so passengers could spot them too.



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While in Talkeetna, I met the honorary mayor, Mr. Stubbs. He proves cats really do have nine lives – Mayor Stubbs has survived being shot and mauled by a dog. As the look on his face suggests, Mr. Stubbs is likely tired of being photographed by tourists during his 18 years as mayor.

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One of the most memorable parts of my trip was seeing Denali on a clear day. Denali is North America’s highest peak, and I was told I was extremely lucky to see the mountain like this in the winter. I took this photo along the Talkeetna Riverfront Park, where you can see three rivers – the Talkeetna, Susitna and Chulitna – converge. As cold as it was, you can still see a portion of the rivers flowing in the foreground of this photo. From left to right: Mt. Foraker, Mt. Hunter, and Denali.

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At the close of my trip, I was able to snap this photo of the sun setting on wild Alaska. The coloring in the sky was like nothing I had seen before. My first Alaskan experience can only be described as unforgettable, and I am grateful to be able to connect to the place we all work to protect in a stronger way.

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