TOPIC: Field Report with Sam Diephuis
PROJECT: Education on Denali National Park and Preserve
Alaska is remote. I mean really really remote. The type of remote where if you wanted to go camping by yourself for a month and not see anyone, it wouldn't be a problem. To better understand Alaska's vast emptiness I've complied a few facts below:
+ Alaska is the size of 2.5 Texas', yet has only 700k people and half of those people live in Anchorage.
+ The top 4 largest national parks are in Alaska
+ There are 70 people for every plane (in the lower 48 its 1/1600! Gotta get around.
+ 1/6 have a pilots license.
+ 100,000 Glaciers
+ 100 Volcanos
+ The tallest Mountain in the US at 21K (Denali) and 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the US are located in Alaska
+ Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the United States combined (over 34,000 miles).
+ Even the capitol Juneau, cannot be accessed by road from the rest of the state!
As you can see, the motto "Alaska, the last frontier" is pretty spot on.
Because of the expansive wilderness, most people watch Alaska through the windows of a bus, train or plane. Fair enough, not everyone is capable of glacier climbing, hunting bear, or heli-sking. Also, many of the visitors to Alaska are older and have done their fair share of adventuring in their younger days and they want the comfort of a nice hotel, soft chair, access to warm food and water-- experiencing nature through the comfort of a luxurious tour. AND this brings you to how I got here. My parents asked me to join them on a 8 day tour of Alaska, including Denali National Park and Kenai Fjords. To see this much of Alaska one needs to be in planes, trains, buses, and boats and doing a tour is just about the only way to make it happen, unless you have lots of time and are very adventurous.
Even though it wasn't my usual way of traveling, it was a great way to cover a lot of ground, spend some quality time with my parents and still get some great photos. More importantly the beauty is everywhere, around every turn is another amazing view, lake, river, glacier, animal, or snow capped mountain so one can literally take some amazing pictures from the comfort of a chair. Nature does all the work and creativity. During the trip I had a lot of time to think about how blessed we are in the US to have such amazing places that are forever protected and untouched and Denali is at the pinnacle of this principal, as it's one of the least exposed to human contact due to size and lack of easy accessibility. It's great to know that these pieces of our country will be around for many generations to see.
Sam Diephuis Photography