- Photo Essays
It turns out diminutive five-seater planes and I don’t really see eye to eye. As we begin our bumpy ascent and the world starts to spin a little, I’m beginning to think that a scenic flight over Denali National Park in Alaska’s central interior was not such a great idea.
It is known to the locals in Alaska as ‘The Mountain’.
Unfortunately, the chance of seeing Denali (Mount McKinley) in Alaska is only around twenty percent and many visitors leave the Denali National Park disappointed, having seen only the mass of cloud cover that keeps North America’s highest mountain hidden.
It is there, however: in all its 20,300 feet of snow-covered glory.
No, I’m not at all done with talking about Italy but I thought I would mix it up a little, keep things interesting. Besides I am just too excited to keep it to myself any longer.
This is a dream come true for me. Iceland has been on my travel radar for years and it’s still a little surreal that I am actually here.
Even the name excites me. Iceland. A land of Ice.
I am told Iceland is a place that you fall blissfully in love with and keep returning to, again and again.
This tiny island that floats on the edge of the Arctic has intrigued me for years. Its vast open spaces; the rugged natural beauty; iceberg choked lakes; thundering waterfalls; the largest ice cap outside the north and south poles; the elusive northern lights…who wouldn’t be intrigued by Iceland?
But I never imagined going there alone.
There are no words to describe the feeling you have when your face is only a couple of feet away from a polar bear: so close that you can imagine the heat of their breath.
Of course, if this happened away from the safety of the hulking polar rover, there would be no imagining necessary. These polar bears have been living on a diet of berries for months now. They are carnivores. They are starving. I rest my case.
Things can get pretty wild this far north. And I’m not talking about the nightlife.
But for today at least the weather is behaving itself. It’s minus 13 degrees Celsius with wind-chill out on the sub-Arctic tundra near Churchill, Manitoba but the skies are clear and the barely-there dawn light is perfect.
I feel like I have been driving forever.
Since that first nerve-wracking drive through Anchorage over two months ago I have driven nearly 4000 miles (6400 km) through Alaska and the western states of the USA. I was sure I would never get used to that uneasy feeling of driving on the right-hand/wrong side of the road, and yet now I feel as though I could do it in my sleep.
Getting ‘off the beaten track’ is getting more and more difficult these days with tour companies providing access to even the most remote areas of the globe. This also means that if you have the dollars, you can pretty much go anywhere you like!