Alaska Magazine

We crave wild spaces in Alaska. The natural and raw beauty surrounding us compels us to drive, fly, or float miles and miles from civilization to let the magnitude and solitude fill our adventure cups. But in the small community of Girdwood, it’s easy to find balance between community and nature in a space that’s

A hiker makes his way up the Mount Healy Overlook Trail. Photo by Steven Merritt By Steven Merritt With its vast wilderness and the chance to get an up close and personal look at wildlife, visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve often are pulled away from the core area of the park entrance, but there’s plenty to do in and around the Visitor Center—especially for day hikers. While many of the shorter trails in the area stick to the lowlands near the visitor center campus, the Mount Healy Overlook Trail—one of the steepest in the park and often lightly trafficked—offers a perfect outing with a hikers’ trifecta of views, exercise, and elevation gain. Located off the Taiga Trail, not far from the Visitor Center, it rises steadily through spruce forest before reaching benches at an overlook near the halfway point. From there, switchbacks introduce a steeper climb as you…

Logan rafting The Chilkat at age nine-Courtesy Michelle Theall A Vacation in Southeast Alaska By Michelle Theall It’s the end of April as I type this, and it’s snowing outside my window. Big, heavy, cement spring flakes that melt as soon as they hit the pavement. But June is around the corner, which means adventure is too! Instead of sending our 13-year-old son to camp this year, we rented a place in Haines for two weeks and another in Sitka for two weeks to explore Southeast. I found both places on VRBO, and they both overlook the water, and in truth, they are about three times as expensive as summer camp typically costs us. I confessed this a week or so ago, after booking flights and ferries and a rental car. Funny how things spiral out of control once you put them into motion. We’ll be eating ramen noodles the…