Our Travels: Alaska, United States

The writers and and editors who make up the World Words team are regular and enthusiastic travellers. You could say their passion for exploring our incredible planet is insatiable. It is this first-hand knowledge and on-the-ground experience which is infused into all their writing. When we aren’t busy crafting travel content for our clients, we’re on the road making travel tales of our own. And this blog series – Our Travels – is where we share them with you.

So far in this series, we’ve covered destinations as varied as Japan, Iceland and Oman. This month, it’s the turn of staff content writer Samantha Wilson, who heads off to meet brown bears and orca on a trip of a lifetime to Alaska.

Scroll down to read her story…

Samantha and her husband in Alaska

Sam with her husband standing in front of Aialik Glacier in Alaska.

Why I went to Alaska
Alaska had been a long-standing top-of-the-bucket-list dream wildlife destination of mine, and so my husband and I thought that our honeymoon would be the perfect excuse to visit. We travelled there during the shoulder season of June when there was more accommodation availability, slightly lower prices and less crowds. As it turned out, crowds are not something to ever worry about in Alaska, for this truly is one of the world’s last great wildernesses.

My highlight of the trip
While we saw brown bears (and their oh-so-cute cubs) in abundance in the wilds of Denali National Park, our trip to watch grizzlies fishing for salmon was an undoubted highlight on a trip of shining lights. After hopping aboard a tiny float plane in the Kenai Peninsula, we soared and swooped over the grey Cook Inlet and got hair-raisingly close to the jagged crevasses of a glacier as our pilot showed off impressive flying skills, before landing at the mouth of Wolverine Creek. From our little boat we watched as great lumbering brown and black bears came to fish for fat pink salmon with their mighty paws, coming so close we felt the splashes of water as they dived in.

What else I love about Alaska
I had always imagined Alaska to be wild and unspoiled, but its sheer untamed vastness was even greater than I’d thought. Amidst this land of towering snow-capped mountains, gushing icy rivers and gargantuan glaciers lives some of the most free and thriving wildlife on the planet, and a small population of hardy, welcoming locals. I loved staying in cosy B&Bs and meeting Alaskan families, whose local pride is palpable. On one occasion, the owner of the little log cabin where we stayed in Seward took us in his small fishing boat into Resurrection Bay to meet an inquisitive pod of orcas, some shy seals and to fish for salmon. We visited long-abandoned gold mines, rafted down the Upper Kenai River, and heard the crack of thunder as great chunks of ice calved off Aialik Glacier.

Bear in Alaska

A bear spotted by Sam and her husband while travelling in Alaska.

Why you should go
There is nowhere else in the world like Alaska, a place that cannot be tamed by man and demands exploration. It is the ultimate wildlife-watching destination, where bears, moose, wolves, orca, seals, whales, bald eagles, otters and so many more creatures amble unhindered in this wild playground. Discover the joys and hardships of life in this remote American state through friendly locals, and learn about its gold mining history and indigenous culture.

How you can visit
Alaska has three international airports; Fairbanks in the north, Juneau in the south, and the capital of Anchorage slap bang in the middle. The latter receives the lion’s share of flights. Once you’re in Alaska, you can travel by car, motorhome, train or domestic flight (many of which are floatplanes). Camping and caravanning are hugely popular in summer, but there are charming B&Bs, rustic log cabins, no-frills hotels and luxury resorts to choose from too.

At World Words, we have regularly written content on North America. Read some of our blogs, feature articles, itineraries and city guides on the region here. You can also keep up to date with all our latest news on Twitter.

- Article and photography by Samantha Wilson.

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