In this world full of hyperactive schedules and daily struggles, our lives can be labelled nothing more than monotonous or dull. Somewhere deep under our stoic demeanours still remain the kids who are looking for their magic wands. All of us here are just waiting for that one little escape, for that one desired holiday and for that one dream place to visit.
The practicality of this world has always crushed our hearts and taught us that fairylands actually don’t exist beyond the fairytales. But it’s not true. In this world full of reality there is a place which takes us closest to the fiction, a place called Alaska.
Alaska, the largest and the most sparsely populated US state, is an epitome of beauty. It is the land where adventure meets the quiet. Situated in the north-west extremity of North America, Alaska is strangely distant from the rest of the United States. Breathtaking sceneries and vast wilderness of untamed terrain make it an almost overwhelming experience for anyone who visits the state.
Alaska was discovered in 1741 by a Danish explorer Vitus Jonassen Bering along with other sailors on a voyage from Siberia. The sailors hunted the animals found in the state and took their furs back to the Old World. People were impressed by the rich quality of the furs and soon Alaska became one of the most sought after hunting and trading grounds for the travelers. Picturesque landscapes and rich resources have attracted a lot of visitors over the years. Alaska finally became part of the US on April 9, 1867 after it was purchased from the Russians for 7.2 million dollars.
The Russians, Spanish, British, and Americans, all have exploited Alaska’s land for its resources at some time or other. But even after all of this Alaska still remains one of the few lands on earth which has not been destroyed by man; somehow it has managed to stay beyond the human greed. This raw, unexplored beauty is the thing that sets Alaska apart from the rest of the world.
The daunting beauty of Alaska is not for the faint hearted and certainly not for those who cannot live without the luxuries of life. It is for those who want the thrill and adventure. It is meant for the explorers who want to `witness the world it its rawest, in its most natural form. From the rocky mountains to the unspoiled land, from the bevy of bears to the smallest of creatures, from glaciers to the flowing rivers, Alaska is the ultimate hub for the travelers to discover.
The myths surrounding the climate of Alaska have always been the biggest obstacle in the tourism of the state. People who live in far off continents imagine Alaska to be a freezing cold chamber without a ray of sunshine. This is absolutely incorrect as three-fourths of Alaska is in the North Temperate Zone and only one-fourth is north of the Arctic Circle. Summers in Alaska can be pretty hot with temperatures reaching as high as 90°F in the region of Fairbanks. Although the winter season can be a little challenging but it comes with an unparalleled beauty of its own. All great things in this world come after a struggle after all. Another false belief is that people think Alaska to be an extraterrestrial state which is beyond their reach. Whereas the truth is that it is a well connected state with great transportation facilities. We just have to hop a plane or climb aboard a ship or simply hit the road to experience the grandeur of Alaska.
Not just the climate and transport, Alaska is a great tourist destination also because of its rich history and culture. Alaska is the state of wildlife and has a lot of national parks and reserves. The Denali National Park and Preserve is a pristine ecosystem which is home to a wide variety of animals ranging from wolves to Dall sheep. This place is a great tourist attraction and one of the ultimate showstoppers of the state. Another famous one is the Glacier Bay National Park. Alaska is famed for its Inside Passage cruises, and passing through this national park en route is the highlight of the trip for the visitors. Along with the national parks and the beauty of wildlife, the Alaska Highway also offers a splendid view and is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world.
But there is one other thing, beyond anything else mentioned here, which makes Alaska divine and immortal. Alaska is the place where you don’t have to make any effort to witness the natural beauty. You can simply look up to the sky and witness one of the most extraordinary phenomenons of this universe, the phenomenon called the Northern Lights.
Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights can be best described as the nature’s disco lights. The bright, dancing rays have always captured the attention of human beings. Our ancestors believed it to be the wrath of God; the modern man believes it to be an absolute gift of nature. But as the experts say everything in this world has a scientific explanation. Electrically charged particles from the sun when hit the atoms and molecules high up in our atmosphere they emit the auroral emission around the North and South magnetic poles, explaining the light show we see in the sky. But splendours of some things rise above science and Northern lights is surely one of them.
The northern lights are the painter’s brushstrokes, and they are the poet’s poetry. They haunt and the same time fill people with hope. They make us realise how insignificant we all are and how little is our existence in this wide universe. They are made of superstitions, fantasies and a whole lot of magic. This irreplaceable magnificence is the reason why this phenomenon tops the bucket list of so many people in this world.
Alaska is one of the best places in this world to view the Northern Lights. The sparkling city of Fairbanks offers the best Aurora experience in the state. The city is situated directly beneath the oval of the Northern Lights and the aurora borealis hunters don’t have to venture too far away in order to spot it. Not just Fairbanks there is a lot of other locations as well in Alaska to experience the lights. We just have to bundle up and go on a long drive on those untraveled roads of Alaska to experience the most unforgettable experience of our lives.
Alaska is beautiful in more ways than we can imagine. It is calm yet so scary, and it is silent yet so wild. It is a metaphor for peace and it is the land of adventure. Here you can feel the end of the world is near and at the same time you can feel more alive than you have ever felt. It is the place to identify yourself and to make your dreams meet the reality. Alaska is the fantasy world that we always hope to find and most certainly that dream land we always wish to visit.
Author Bio : POOJAN SEHGAL, 20 years old student from New Delhi. A participant of International Essay Competition organized by Monomousumi.com , month of March.