365 Million Acres of Adventure
I’m a born-and-bred Alaskan with eighteen-plus years to my credit — and yet I’ve spent most of that time in one small corner of the state. No matter where you think you’ve been or what you think you’ve done, you cannot pull a”been there, done that” attitude in the Last Frontier. It’s just too big and too diverse. Within this single state there are 365 million acres of rushing freshwater rivers and crashing salty coastline; towering peaks and flat expanses; tufty tundra and lush rain forest. Separate Alaska by region and you have four very different destinations.
Even clipping along at a million acres a day, covering Alaska would take an entire year. We cannot exhaustively explore (or even describe) the forty-ninth state, so here’s a taste of what each region is like:
Southeast Alaska is the region nearest the contiguous United States, and its wet, lush environment reflects its proximity to the Pacific Northwest. Most of Alaska’s “panhandle,” an intricate strip of islands and channels, cannot be reached by road. Southcentral Alaska, on the other hand, is linked by miles of pavement, connecting travelers to both the urban and the wild.
To the north lies the Interior, anchored to the more populous Southcentral by Alaska’s few highways. This alternately hot and arid, numbingly cold region basically consists of everything but the coasts and the Arctic.
Everything that cannot be reached by car — the Arctic, Kodiak Island, the west and southwest, the Alaskan Peninsula, and the Aleutians — everything that’s more wilderness than civilization is the Bush.