Ah, Alaska! There’s a lot to love about this wonderful US state – even if it’s in the far north and away from all notable cities in the country. But there’s one reason why Alaska stands out among the states in the region: It’s tremendously mysterious.
My trip there was one with haste and with a friend who had garnered just enough valour to explore Alaska’s secrets with me. Yes, we’re hardly the epitome of men (despite what our beards might insinuate).
It was in May last year that we headed to the city of Fairbanks in Alaska. It’s an expensive place for tourists, so we decided to make use of the camping equipment we had purchased from the local mart. But after a long chat (on serial killers and missing persons) with the ‘man with the mean-looking mustache’ we decided against it. He went on to call the state “the land of missing people”.
So, our next trip was to a skylight treehouse which was just a few kilometers away. Now, however, we can only look back at our days there and smile. And yes, we did make it back alive.
The history of Alaska may be peppered with eerie stories but the tale of how the state came into existence is actually astonishing. In 1867, the United States purchased Alaske from the Russian Empire for $7.2million, following which it was admitted as the 49th state in the country.
Since the 20th Century, however, it has turned into something of a tourist spot. Yes, the stories are hair-raising, but there’s no denying the thrill that
it brings along. I’d gladly visit Alaska again, and that time, I’ll probably camp
in a tent too.
The state is famous for its crystal-clear fjords, serene peaks with virgin snow, and above all, days that never end. Daylight can be as long as 19hours in certain months, and for someone hailing from Oman that’s exasperating.
But if you’re ever in the state, make sure you head to the suburbs. The people there are friendly. Of course, make use of your instincts when judging people; don’t simply jump into someone’s pickup truck if you don’t trust the person. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Still, the nicer people will show you around Alaska for free – and also tell you about the stories surrounding the place.
Did you know that Alaska is home to several werewolves, Big Foots, ghouls and, as per my travel guide, aliens too? I can only chuckle about it now because, believe it or not, I did not want to sell my soul to a ghost or, even worse, an alien.
1. Visit the Kenai Fjords
2. Try your hand at trekking in the Denali mountains.
3. Take a trip with your loved ones to the Mount Roberts Tramway.
4. Kids can learn about science and arts at the Anchorage Museum.
5. Explore the 19th Century Dolly’s House Museum Gift Shop.
My favourite place: Despite the initial chills, my time in the treehouse was splendid. We thoroughly enjoyed the freakishly cold nights mixed with the spooky stories. Anyone seeking to explore the wild should head to Alaska, period.
Highlights: The state of Alaska is situated to the northwest of the US – and is one of the coldest places in the US that you can live in. The importance of the place came to light when oil and gas reserves were discovered in the area, however, the energy reserves have largely depleted since. Nevertheless, tourism is slowly gaining traction – and the cold temperatures coupled with the snow is turning it into a hub for sporting activities.
Lowlights: Contrary to what I’ve written so far, Alaska is a relatively safer state than some of its neighbours. However, those travelling from Oman will find the weather unforgiving. Oh, and do try staying clear of the terrifying stories lingering around.
Souvenirs: Alaska is famous for its wide variety of fusion chocolates and salmon. If you’re up for the challenge, try the spicy chilly chocolates too.
Getting there: It’s hard to find direct flights to Alaska. Instead, opt for a flight on Emirates to Seattle, and then hop on board an Alaska Airlines flight to Fairbanks International Airport.
Where to stay: Without a doubt, you should head to one of the several campsites in the state. The Tongass National Forest is a perfect spot for groups heading out to the wilderness for some adventure.