Cold water rushed around our submerged feet without an ounce of liquid penetrating our skin other than our own perspiration. The moon was out, alive and well, while its counterpart remained above the horizon as the clock struck midnight. We made it knee deep before the waters proved too quick to go further. Even though each cast proved unfruitful, spirits soared higher as the night only got lighter.
Earlier in the day the guardrail ripped passed us as the mountains loomed in the distance, seemingly frozen in time no matter what the spedometer read. Miniture looking waterfalls poured from great heights as we continued on arguably the most scenic drive in the U.S., Continental or otherwise. Our collective hangover blew out the window in the crisp wind as Sigur Ros serenaded us south of Anchorage to Soldotna for quintissential Alaskan activities.
Picture perfect waterfall tucked into a lush northern forest? Check.
Cabin on a river? Check.
Salmon fishing at midnight? Check.
Drinking beer while watching a Bald Eagle soar amongst the tree tops? Check.
While it felt a little odd to make my first pass at Alaska without a snowboard in hand, the summer solstice is undoubtedly a sight to behold in this wild land. The locals are making the most of the sunlight, Mother Nature has put on her best dress, and the animals are out in full force, even though us Lower 48ers didn't see a single bear, moose, or even salmon.
Towards the end of our time beyond the wall, as our brains emerged from a fog of bear meat and Alaskan beer, the magnitude of this place and this whirlwind trip began to sink in. From seeing Modest Mouse in the night light in Anchorage, to road-tripping America's most scenic highway, to almost getting into it with local pools sharks over table turn etiquette, to crashing into a swamp on a three-wheeled contraption equipped with a beer cooler, Alaska proved to be the final frontier where everyone with even a hint of wanderlust should boldly go.
Photos by Kait McNally and Jacob Malenick
Words by Jacob Malenick