Alaska Trip Recap

Alaska is a destination that has been on my bucket list for years, but the pieces had never come together quite right to make it a reality. That finally changed this past summer as a good friend and I planned a two-week trip to the 49th State.

One reason it took so long to plan a trip to Alaska was because of the breadth of options available to see and do. Mountains? Rain forests? Rivers? Ocean? More mountains? We initially considered Gates of the Arctic, but some pragmatic reasons pushed us to look at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve instead (Gates is high on the list for next time, though!). Around that core part of the trip we were also able to squeeze in some activities around Anchorage, as well as a brief trip to Kenai Fjords National Park.

While I brought a good selection of photography gear on the trip, I only brought a basic setup on the backpacking portion due to weight and space. This included one camera body, one lens (17-50mm), a compact tripod, and a few accessories (extra batteries, lens cloth, filters, and remote, primarily). While there are always shots I wish I had a different lens available for, the simplicity was nice, too. You start to see all of your images based on the lens you have with you, not every lens in your toolkit. For a brief time before the trip, I had considered only taking a 50mm prime, but decided not to, thinking it would be too restricting. However, it’s an option I would strongly consider in the future!

Finally, a big thanks to Expeditions Alaska for guiding the portion of the trip in Wrangell-St. Elias. It made the trip smoother having someone to lead it who knows the area well (and our guide, Carl, knows the area VERY well). We’d certainly recommend them if you’re looking for backcountry experiences around the state.

With that, here are my 10 favorite photos from Alaska.


Waiting for the bore tide on the Turnagain Arm outside of Anchorage.

None of the planes we flew in were seaplanes, but our last night in Anchorage afforded us a lot of entertainment as we stayed on the edge of a lake that is one of the busiest seaplane airports in the world.


Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park, near Seward. Only had a day here, but still worth the detour.


Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Our plane that dropped us off at the airstrip to start the backpacking portion of our trip.


Hiking cross country in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Castle Mountain in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. This mountain could be seen from just about everywhere during the hiking portion of our trip.

A braided river flows through the valley below us. Our airstrip is in the background on the left.

Perhaps my favorite photo of the trip. The clouds this morning were ebbing and flowing, creating countless compositions.

Another river, this one viewed from our bush flight.

Flying back out at the end of the trip. The flights were incredible in and of themselves.


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This was also trip #16 of my 40 by 40 challenge. Check out other trip reports here.

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