Travel & Destinations

Exploring Alaska, the Last Great Frontier

It’s true: some beautiful paths cannot be discovered without first getting lost.

For me, the last frontier —Alaska — was indeed this place. From the moment I arrived in Anchorage and Barrow, till the plane passed through the clouds on my departure, I was absolutely astounded at the beauty of Alaska. Pictures do not do the vast Alaskan terrain justice.

First stop was Anchorage.

If you enjoy fresh seafood, you will be in heaven. I went to Humpy’s, in downtown Anchorage, for a most memorable meal of beer-battered halibut, hand-cut fries, and a local IPA. The fish was fresh and moist. There’s a reason Humpy’s is one of the top-rated fish-‘n-chips places in the city.

Next on my agenda? Experience the highest mountain peak in North America: Denali, with a summit level of 20,310 feet. I was shocked it wasn’t just white, as I’d thought. Denali has a blue tint to it. This is a MUST see, and an effortless day trip from Anchorage.

Denali Moose
The stunning landscape of Alaska

From my hotel window, each morning, I would drink a cup of coffee and watch planes take off and land on skis on the nearby frozen lake. I also enjoyed watching moose walk along the lake and side of the road, with everyone else. These animals are so large and robust that, according to the locals, they sometimes just walk over cars like we would walk over a step.

After three days in Anchorage, I was off for an overnight in Barrow. When I left Phoenix, it was 107 degrees. Anchorage was 65 degrees. Barrow was 34 — considered a summer temperature. In the winter, Barrow is 60 below, and polar bears are known to walk up and down the streets like they own the place.

There is no Uber or Lyft service in Barrow, so you’ll need to taxi everywhere. Or you can make instant friends with the locals, like I did. Some were kind enough to drive me around. I was even invited to stay at one of my new friend’s home, but the top-of-the-world hotel was just perfect for me.

But don’t expect to relax with a beer in the evening: it’s a dry town, so no liquor is sold. And experiencing Barrow’s grocery store was a huge shock. Why? A dozen eggs cost $9.99; one-gallon laundry detergent, $56; a gallon of ice cream, $15.99!

It was all worth it, though. I was truly blessed to experience the beauty and glory of Alaska. For those of you looking for a similar adventure, I cannot recommend the beauty and wonder of the last frontier enough!


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Shirene Hayes

Shirene Hayes is the CEO of The Waxing Window, a lover of travel, solo or with friends and family and a published author. She has 2 wonderful sons and lives in Arizona.

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