It’s hard to pick just one

Ask a dumb question, get smart aleck answers—at least from the sassiest members of the Alaska magazine team. For our staff question on page 8, my inquiry was in earnest, yet some responses were telling: It’s nearly impossible to choose just one good reason to visit Alaska, and their replies radiate incredulity at my audacious request to narrow the scope. Pick one? Preposterous!

They’re right, of course. The list of reasons to explore Alaska is practically endless: natural beauty and scenic wonders, wildlife, interesting people, cultural diversity, unparalleled recreation options, abundant local foods, one-of-a-kind events, distinct seasons, geographic variety, quirky towns, find yourself, lose yourself, etc. etc. Lesson learned—never underestimate a person’s fierce loyalty to and love of Alaska.

Kinship with place is not unique to the Great Land, of course, but it’s different here than anywhere else I’ve ever been. Maybe because Alaska is the poster child for the last great wilderness on Earth. Maybe because Alaska resonates with people in a primal way, reminding us of our place in the larger scheme of things. Both Bjorn Dihle and Nick Jans address what Alaska means in each of their pieces in this issue. Carl Johnson’s photo essay illustrates his deep ties to and appreciation of natural Alaska. David A. James’ review of In Pursuit of Alaska highlights the many reasons travelers of yore flocked to the north. Alli Harvey describes how, and why, to get thee to one of Alaska’s main attractions—a glacier—by any available method. Molly Rettig interviews the Alaska Adventure 55 Ways authors, a father and daughter, who updated a classic outdoor trails guidebook; the original, 55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska, was written by the family matriarch, who, at 86, still hikes, cross-country skis, and treks annually to her remote cabin. That’s devotion. That’s the Alaskan way.

No one needs a reason to see Alaska. All the reasons are right here, just waiting for you…

Susan Sommer, Editor

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