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Alaska's Wilderness: The Lure Of Adventure

Compliments of Holland America Line

"Some places in the world fill a space larger than their actual geography ... I realized the truth of this as our small plane flew over Glacier Bay .... It was as if we floated above both the beginning and the end of the world, a world that contained both chaos and serenity."


ALASKA'S WILDERNESS has long had a transformative effect on visitors. But what is it about wilderness adventures that excites our senses and makes our spirits soar?

Goethe believed it was the novelty of such activities breaking up our ordinary days. For the late Alaskan Colonel Norman Vaughan, wilderness challenges "make you think clearly and properly." He should know - he spent a lifetime exploring as a dog driver on the first Byrd Antarctic Expedition in 1928-1930, searching for downed planes on the Greenland ice sheet in 1942 and competing in the Alaska Iditarod dogsled race 13 times. He climbed the 10,302-foot mountain in Antarctica that is named for him at the inspiring age of 89. A sharp mind, indeed..


.....but adventure is more than just a tonic for tedium or a way to stimulate our mental capacities. It is as essential to our existence as the air we breathe or the water we drink. Colonel Vaughan's home state of Alaska offers a richness and variety of adventures you won't find anywhere else.

Gain new perspectives.

Perhaps one of the most magical things about Alaska is that it puts so many of your dream adventures within reach. Natural wonders and wildlife are easily accessible in so many ways, letting you form a three-dimensional understanding that goes far beyond textbook knowledge.

From a floatplane or helicopter in Juneau, you get a very different view of the tidewater glacier you admired from the sea just the day before. Whereas then it appeared as a massive cliff face towering overhead, now you can look down and see the sinuous curves of the frozen river, observe how it flows from high mountain peaks, and admire the tattered texture of its cracked and pitted surface. Trekking on the glacial surface gives you yet another perspective, as you gaze into a crevasse that recedes to indigo and ponder the moraines formed from rocks that may have once stubbed the toe of a mastodon.

Even Alaska's "tame" experiences bring you new insights. At the Kroschel Films Wildlife and Educational Center near Haines, experience an emotional close encounter with the region's orphaned animals. Wolves, lynx, reindeer, wolverines, foxes, porcupines - it's amazing to be close enough to these reclusive animals to see the multicolored shading on individual hairs, watch their pupils change shape and their ears gyrate as they catch sudden movement in the bushes and discover how reindeer hooves actually change texture to adapt to the season.

Your wild Alaska begins here.

Read the reviews and check out the available dates and prices for Alaska and the Yukon, many of which highlight wildlife and wilderness.

Open yourself to new experiences.

The distractions of daily life vanish the moment a wild grizzly comes into view, strolling effortlessly through raging rapids in search of spawning salmon. When a humpback whale near your tour boat launches its 30-ton body into the sky. Or when battling a 40-pound king salmon from the deck of a charter boat in Seward.

Everything seems fresh and new - like moving from black and white to full color - as you heli-hike along the remote upper Skagway River through pristine old-growth rain forest to view the magnificent Laughton Glacier. When you go rock climbing and rappelling up the smooth granite walls of fabulously scenic White Pass. Or as you shoot down class IV rapids on the untamed Tatshenshini River near Kluane National Park.

Let the magic overtake you.

Cruise Traveler Magazine

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