Alaska: A Semester in Photo Review

Well, I’ve survived my first semester in the “Great White North.” It was definitely an unique and rewarding experience! Alaska is one of the most beautiful and scenic locales I’ve ever been to. It’s really something to be constantly surrounded (at least in winter and for most of spring) by snow covered peaks; being able to see the wilderness right on your doorstep is a crazily interesting experience!

It’d be hard to go into detail about all the things I managed to get into while up there (apart from crazy amounts of reading, that is)…so I think a photo compilation might be a more practical approach to sharing some of my (mis)adventures.

These are just a few of the photos I took these past few months – each with a little story of its own.

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This was late one night as my roommates and I were walking back from doing laundry.  As we were walking, one of them noticed how beautiful and clear the skies were that night – and how high and full the moon was! Absolutely breathtaking – even if it was a late night, low light cell phone pic taken with one hand while balancing a laundry basket on my hip!

P.S. I feel epic about even being able to take this picture given how clumsy I usually am.IMG_0457

As it’s Alaska, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you it snowed like crazy. Like crazy! All the time! This was taken from my living room – our apartment had a really great view of this little creek and these fun trees, and it was really nice to just stand around sometimes and look outside.IMG_0463

This one’s from my back balcony (which was right by my our living room/kitchen area, hence the “same” view). There were a couple of times where we got multiple feet (yep, craziness – and they didn’t even cancel class!) of snow, and this is what the creek would look like after it.IMG_0462

Snow covered trees in our “backyard.” It’s amazing how nice it is to just wake up to views like this; it really sets a great tone for your whole day!IMG_0455

This is Magnus! One of the not-so-great things about moving far away from home and to such a remote location is that (no matter how many new friends you make) loneliness and homesickness set in at some point.

To battle my blues, I got Magnus! He’s an adult betta fish, who’s just so cute and fun (yes, I am one of those obnoxious people who loves their pets more than they love some humans). 

It’s a funny story because I had no intention of getting a pet – in fact, I’d never had a pet before and I was totally cool with that. One day, however, my roommates and I were out and we wandered into a pet store. My roommate had been thinking about buying a fish (she’d had lots of previous experience) and I just really hated the fish she chose. So she told me to stuff it (nicely, sorta) and just get my own. Which I did. Best. Decision. Ever.IMG_0460IMG_0459

Okay, so these two pictures are actually from the same night (and the same time, same place, same everything except that the first one was taken without flash).  It was a midnight snow storm (although my roommates, all native to Alaska, would swear that it was “barely snowing”), and it was one of the most beautiful things I saw while up there.IMG_0468IMG_0467IMG_0464

These three photos were taken while driving up to Hatcher’s Pass! I thought that the views from the highway were unbelievable…but that was before I got to the top of the mountain!IMG_0461

This was up at Hatcher’s Pass. One of the most unbelievably beautiful and serene places I’ve ever been. I honestly felt like I was standing on top of the world (even though I was just standing on top of a snow bank – and a crumbly one at that – while taking this).IMG_0458

I actually took this early May, during one of those brief recesses from snow. The snow that had been on the ground just two days before was all melted away and in the distance (although you can’t see it in this photo) was a whole heard of moose doing moose-like things. It was a gorgeous day!IMG_0469

This is the Kenai River! I took this photo while driving to Kenai (well, I was in the passenger seat) and this is gonna sound crazy (and little cliche), but…this water was the bluest, clearest water I have ever seen! It was ridiculous; I swear it looked  like the kind of water you’d expect to see somewhere warm and tropical – I was totally not expecting that while driving to the peninsula, but it was really a pleasant surprise!
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This one’s from a coastal hiking trail that my roomie and I went on one afternoon/evening. We came to a break in the trees (or in this case, branches) just as the sun was setting. It was epic! We stood there and watched the entire sunset because it was just so breathtaking watching the reflections on the water and seeing the different colors in the sky. I mean it was really something guys!IMG_0466IMG_0465IMG_0452IMG_0453

These four pictures are from a series of trips outside the city to go see cool nature stuff! They were all taken along the same stretch of highway – which isn’t saying much since it goes on forever. No seriously, it’s like two or so hours of mountain, highway, sea. 

We pulled off to the side, and in some cases, crossed the railroad tracks to go see what there was to see. These pictures show the ice on the water, but – more interestingly, I thought – they also show the mud flats, which fascinated me! Apparently if you’re really brave (or really stupid), when the tide is out you can walk out on the mud flats and actually be standing like halfway across the bay – you just, you know, have to get back before the tide comes in. And if you’re wondering: the tide moves CRAZY fast right here.

Check out this awesome video below to see how fast (and also to hear me trying to convince my Mom to come visit lol).

Yep! That happened!

IMG_0451This final photo was taken on the ski tram at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood.  Oh my gosh, I was so, so, so nervous getting into this (fairly flimsy looking) tram and being whisked up the mountain – and I’m not even scared of heights, it was just so much that it was ridiculously unnerving! Anyways, I survived and loved it! Up at the top of the mountain was beautiful and riding the tram was actually real cool. I mean, c’mon, where else are you gonna get views like this?

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