There is great beauty in Alaska. I worked there from 1983 to 1986 as the Executive Director of the Alaska Lung Association. One of my jobs had been to lead 100-mile backpack trips as fundraisers to support the organization’s activities. (Not many executive director do that.) In addition to raising money, the treks provided me with an opportunity to explore some of the state’s more remote corners and vast wilderness areas.
In March of 2016, Peggy and I returned to ride the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage with our son Tony and his family to attend the world championship ice carving contest in Fairbanks. Tony was flying helicopters for the Coast Guard out of Kodiak at the time. The train trip reminded me of just how beautiful and wild Alaska is. We were fortunate to travel on a clear day that provided great views, including Mt. Denali. In Fairbanks, it was exciting to watch some of the world’s greatest ice carvers at work and see their completed sculptures. Today’s photo essay will reflect the train trip. On Friday, I will show you the ice carving contest.
NEXT POST: On Friday I will show you photos of the world championship ice carving contest in Fairbanks. The sculptures were amazing. You won’t want to miss them.
33 thoughts on “A Train Trip in Alaska and an Ice Carving Contest… The Wednesday Photo Essay: Part 1”
If you ever get the chance, drive the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse. It is breathtakingly beautiful, especially north of the Brooks range.
I bet it s Greg. I’ve driven over the Alaska Highway five times but never the Dalton. I have backpacked up in the Brooks however. it doesn’t get much more wild. Thanks. –Curt
You can hitch a lift on a train? Wow!
Isn’t that fun. It’s pretty much the only way in and out some of the people living along the line have, at least in winter. –Curt
Such gorgeous country. Makes me miss the Yukon.
I’ll bet, Alison, having driven through it five times. It’s the same type of wild beauty! –Curt
Some of these photos seem familiar, especially the first one, with reflections on the side of the train, which I particularly love. Have you showed us any of these already? Oh I do love the beauty of Alaska, and I’m filled with memories when I see these shots. It’s appropriate to see all that snow too, since it’s 26 degrees out right now. Brrrr!!
Yes Crystal, I have. One of the things I am doing with my Photo Essays is scrolling back through history with my 90,000 photos and picking out favorites. If folks have been hanging out with me for a while, they are bound to recognize some of the photos. I’m approaching a thousand blogs. 🙂 –Curt
If one is so prolific, it’s bound to happen.
It makes me happy when I recognize old photos, because it reminds me that we have a friendship that spans some time.
🙂 A friendship I have enjoyed a lot, I might add.
Also a good photo of a beautiful area deserves to be looked at more than once… –Curt
Curt, your post is beautiful on so many levels. The story you tell us is enchanting and filled with descriptions of wonderful landscape.
The pictures are beautiful and fun. I love the ones of Peggy and you with your little grandson. You are all three cute.
As to the trees against the snow, don’t you think they both enhance each other.
Those train rides really seem like something else.
Thanks, Miriam. it was a magical trip, for sure. And fun to relive. I fell in love with the Alaska wilderness when I lived in the state and the train trip gave me an opportunity its to revisit it. The family was frosting on the cake, so to speak. 🙂 –Curt
Great snow scenery – would love to see something like that. Never have. And the cutest ice copter and picture of your grandson asleep on your head. A memorable trip, for sure.
It was special, Rusha, one of those occasions where I am so glad to have photos t o go back and relive it. –Curt
How fun! Trains and ice! Love it.
Laughing. A slight twist on your trip of train tunnels and ice! 🙂 –Curt
Well I’ll be darned. We were at the ice carving contest in Fairbanks in March 2016!
I remember that Peggy. We were going to try to get together but our schedules were slightly different. As I recall, you went in search of the Northern Lights. 🙂 –Curt
Oh yes, that’s right. Maybe someday.
Despite the wealth of beauty in your photos, and my general preference for color, I really liked the monochrom of the trees the best of the photos. I think it’s because it’s so Ansel Adams-ish. Sights like that would make the trip worthwhile even without the added pleasures of family and the destination to look forward to.
It was definitely a case, Linda, where the journey was equal to the arrival. The train trip was a real treat for me considering my years in Alaska. And it was a rare day given the beautiful weather.
The birches seem to lend themselves to black and white treatment. –Curt
Somehow it doesn’t look all that cold. Has anyone noticed too that at least in the northern part of Europe the winters are not what they used to be? Helsinki, in Finland barely had below zero this winter.
When I was there in 1965, we had below -35C for a number of days.
You were there in March, so, perhaps spring had started.
Each time I see snow and ice I feel like visiting a cold and snowy region again. Of course I can open the deep-freeze of my fridge and look at that, but it is not the same.
Great photos, Curt and fine story.
It really varies here, Gerard. North Dakota and Minnesota still get ‘polar expresses the drop the temperature to the minus 50 level. When I was in Alaska I slept outside on ski treks where it got down to a minus 30. But you are right about Fairbanks. I’ve been there in minus 50 degree weather and the temperature at the ice carving contest was barely below freezing.And thanks! –Curt
Oh my, Curt, the scenery is breathtaking and it looks so pure and I’m sure I could sense the crisp of winter from the photos! Thank you so much for sharing and what an amazing trip for all the family! I can’t wait to see the ice carving sculptures … I take the helicopter was one! It looks great! A perfect finale photo … heavenly!
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Alaska over the years, Annika. And I have always enjoyed the beauty. But that train trip was special.
The helicopter was at the park where the contest took place but not part of the contest. They had several other fun sculptures there as well, including ice slides you could slide down. Fast! –Curt
Wow! Absolutely gorgeous photos. Must add Alaska to my list.
Thanks, Gail. and Alaska is an incredibly beautiful state. –Curt
Alaska. Another place I haven’t been, but have often wondered about. It seems like it’s so big and so inaccessible I get put off by it. But those mountains – wow.
Glorious, huh, Dave. But here’s a secret. A two day drive out of Anchorage up and back to Denali and a two day drive to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula will show you much of what the state has to offer. –Curt
I’ll keep that in mind. And maybe scrape the rust off my pilot’s license.
Wow, what breathtaking country up north! Stunning photos, Curt! Thanks for the AK tour.
Thanks much, Kelly. The country is magnificent . Curt