Destination - Alaska
Why did you choose this destination?
There are very few places on my “drop everything and go” list. (Who am I kidding – everywhere is a “drop everything and go” location.) But truly, with real life getting in the way of taking some trips at some times, and all trips all the time… Alaska was just that. Alaska was a high-priority and attainable location, my best friend and I knew… we just had to jump at the chance to just go.
How long were you there?
My travels to Alaska over the last few years have been varied in length and all throughout the area between Fairbanks and Anchorage. But I’ll focus on just one in particular trip here, taken with my best friend on a whim years ago for my first Alaska visit: “Everyone says they want to go to Alaska… let’s actually go.” So we did.
What’s the estimated cost of the trip?
If you aren’t counting flights, because who knows where you’d be coming from, visiting Alaska can be extraordinarily inexpensive if you travel outside of peak-times. Daily expenses in Alaska including lodging can be upwards of $400 in the summer, but closer to $200 in the late fall or early spring. For us, once arriving in Anchorage, our Alaska Adventure trip went for about $1,000 (USD) which included a small plane flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks, lodging and experiences near Fairbanks at a hot springs resort, an Ice Castle tour, and also a railroad trip from Fairbanks back down to Anchorage.
Must do attractions?
The most majestic and awe-inspiring attraction is, without a doubt, the northern lights. Their elusiveness only feeds the extraordinary draw they have on you. Be sure to take time to get away from any of the cities or towns, find your way to the right overlook or field to get a good vantage point. Bring plenty of warm layers (as the best lights are in the cold nights of winter) and be sure to experience the lights not only through your lens, but simply experience the moment without the distraction of your camera.
Things to know before you go
Most notably, you must know what weather you are walking into (or what weather you might surprisingly come across). On our trip (very late fall – almost winter) we weren’t surprised because of too much snow, but surprisingly during one moment we found ourselves with not enough snow. The dog sleds that need plenty of snow to run weren’t able to run because of the unusually low snowfall before our trip. The most important factor in Alaska is to be ready for any weather at any time. You never know if you might get stuck in the middle of nowhere without gas, cell phone reception, and without good hearty boots. You will love your gloves, you will swear by smartwool, and you will adore anything that covers your ears, nose, or cheeks!
What was your least favorite part of the trip?
Our least favorite part of the trip had to be the disappointment of not being able to take the dog sleds out and about the resort because of the not nearly present enough snow. Though there was so much magic and beauty all around, so the loss wasn’t felt too deeply or for too long.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
Aside from the Alaskan Railroad views and sights, sounds and experiences; our favorite part of the trip was staying at a hot springs resort near Fairbanks. By traveling outside of peak season, we had much of the resort to ourselves. The hot springs are an experience you never want to leave, and the stargazing is second to none, but the ice sculptures and carvings in the ice castle, sitting at an ice bar, drinking martinis out of ice glasses… you can’t beat that! While you’re in Fairbanks, be sure to swing by the North Pole, it’s not too far by car. You can meet Santa there.
Make sure you try
The absolute must for Anchorage is Kaladi Brothers Coffee to warm your hands and insides. Their brews and crews are outstanding and so welcoming as you step out of the cold and into their warmth. In addition, if you are looking for great views of Anchorage, a few high level or building top restaurants are certainly perfect for a view and a meal. We loved our meal at the Crow’s Nest, with a 360 degree view of downtown Anchorage. Truly breathtaking with the sun setting through the clouds in the distance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hello, I’m Christin Elise. Elise is my middle name, a family name. Given to me from my Mother, Grandmother and so many more. So it holds a special place in my heart capturing all these incredible ladies in that one name. Adventurous Women. Beautiful Women. Extraordinary Women. My namesakes.
I’m a leader in my field; which is a field that has nothing to do with photography or anything artistic. However it takes me all around the world sometimes, and when I’m not traveling it affords me the time to visit local areas capturing the beauty all around me. I adore my job for many reasons – but being able to feed my adoration of travel and recently realized love of photography – makes me love my job even more. However, if money was no object, I’d be heading on a trip to Antarctica without a second thought or glance back at work – sorry teams!
Everything about me has always been about independence and adventure. From my first lone-flight to France when I was 12… all the way to death defying choices like Skydiving and deployments to Afghanistan. I have always aventured towards the extraordinary, the captivating, the beauty of God’s handiwork on earth.