The Last Frontier

By Valerie Wang

Known as “The Last Frontier” and the 49th state of the United States, Alaska is one of the most distinctive places on the planet. Juneau, the capital of Alaska, is the only capital city in the United States exclusively accessible by boat or plane. Hundreds of years since discovered, only about 160,000 acres of Alaska is explored, while the other 349,840,000 acres still remain untouched.

Alaska is home to grizzly bears, polar bears, lynx, moose, humpback whales, bald eagles, caribou, grey wolves, and many many more special animals. When visiting Alaska, I saw a moose standing right next to our car, eating leaves off a tree in a schoolyard, and a polar bear at the zoo—once in a lifetime sights to see! Incredibly, Alaska holds North America’s tallest peak, Mount Mckinley, at 20,230 feet, and approximately 5% of the state’s land is covered by glaciers. 

The aurora borealis, otherwise known as northern lights, is a widely admired gift of nature, and Alaska happens to be one of the finest places to view the breathtaking scene. Yellow, green, blue, purple, and red patterns of light energy fill the night sky. The aurora borealis occurs in all four seasons, but is best illuminated in the months between August and April (with less daylight). Through offered northern light tours, tourists are able to see the enchanting light show with their own eyes. 

Denali National Park and Reserve, the third largest national park in the United States, presents a vast wilderness unspoiled by human hands and encompasses the famous Mount Mckinley. I actually took the bus tour at Denali National Park and I saw an abundance of natural wildlife and alluring scenery. The park certainly proves to be life-changing and forever memorable. I definitely recommend checking out the park if you plan to visit Alaska. 

Because Alaska is positioned so north, it doesn’t receive much solar energy, meaning the summers tend to have more pleasant, warm weather. Although, I experienced first-hand the mosquitoes galore throughout the summer season.

However, I think Alaska’s most extraordinary attribute is the unique sunlight sequence. Annually, from around May 10 to August 2, the sun never sets. This phenomenon is recognized as the midnight sun. In contrast, from around November 18 to January 24, the sun never rises—the polar night. Quite remarkable!

With that said, hurry up and catch a flight to venture the brilliance of The Last Frontier for yourself!