July 8, 2011 | By Rusty Chambers
This is a letter I recently received from a friend that has been spending the summer on a cruise ship in Alaska. He has some interesting insights as well as some spectacular pictures to share.
ALASKA – SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE!
Whether you know it or not, Alaska in all of it’s rugged natural beauty is the place to go… if you go in the summer. Tongass National Forest, the largest temperate rainforest in the world is located in Alaska – along with more land mass than all of the Eastern Seaboard states COMBINED. There are 2 million people in all of Alaska, with about 12 of them living in the Tongass. Perhaps because on average there is over 260 days of rain per year? However, in the last two and a half months, Alaska has experienced one of the best springs on record for days of sunshine and merely a small handful of the wet, grey days that I had anticipated to be living in week after week.
Alaska also features coastline. Miles and MILES of coastline. I love a good road trip, and I love adventuring into the interior to get lost in the desert or the prairies or the inland forest. But give me some coastline and I’ll be happy. The great thing about Alaska coastline is that you don’t have to give up the forest or the mountains when you choose to stay on the coastline. You can tramp along all three in the same afternoon. And the added bonus is that without too much trying you’ll get distracted by the REAL locals of Alaska: sea lions, otters and bears (oh, my). Even a whale, or ten.
To be completely truthful, several of these photos just happened to be on a few of the overcast days, so you can imagine the sheer beauty when the sun is out and shining down on snow capped peaks and post glaciated valley floors.