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A Day In The Life of Alaskan Campers

By: Jacob Schlussel and Lexie Finkelstein

Wow! After completing our second backcountry of this trip, the Kesugi Ridge in Denali National Park, we traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska. After a long drive on the bus, we made it to Fairbanks. Following breakfast, we spontaneously spent the day in Pioneer Park, enjoying the historical aspect of the small town within. We continued our journey in Fairbanks by meeting the first woman to complete the Iditarod race, Mary Shields. She shared with us the stories of her career in racing and stories about her dogs. We also enjoyed meeting her five beautiful Huskies.

We stopped at a local recreation center to swim and clean up after our backcountry. The following day we conquered Angels Rock, a 3.9 mile hike with a fair amount of elevation. We spent the night at Rosehip Campground where we enjoyed home-made pizza and an exciting evening program. On our way out of Fairbanks, we stopped at the famous Santa’s House in North Pole, Alaska.

Our next stop was Haines, Alaska where we embarked on the incredible journey of hiking Mount Ripinski. Mount Ripinski was a challenging hike: a 7.8-mile trip with almost 4,000 feet of elevation. The strenuous journey was worth it thanks to the incredible view showing a 360-degree view of mountains and sea, and the completion of one of the hardest hikes of the trip. After an awesome night together, we explored Haines then boarded a 5-hour ferry to Alaska’s capital, Juneau. In Juneau, we hiked above Mendenhall Glacier to see the vast glacier which leads into the sparkling water of Alaska. The next morning we awoke around 4:00 am to watch our last sunrise on Alaskan ground. After a bittersweet morning of saying goodbye to a state we now call home, we boarded our final ferry ride of the trip to Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The 31-hour ferry ride was full of beautiful views of Alaskan water and mountains. We were fortunate enough to spend another fabulous night at the church in Prince Rupert followed by an early morning. We caught up on sleep during the bus ride to Prince George, BC where we stayed at a beautiful campsite. We spent the night making s’mores and enjoying a meaningful program under the stars. We then woke up this morning and began our journey driving to Jasper National Park and enjoyed yoga in a park preceding lunch.

Which takes us to where we are now, writing this letter and looking out the windows to see beautiful mountains and rivers of Jasper National Park on our way to another incredible hike.

We would like to thank our parents and families for giving us all the opportunity to have the best summer on this adventure. We have created a beautiful and strong bond together with countless memories as one family. We are excited to live the final 10 days to the fullest. Thank you again to our parents, families, our staff and Tamarack Camps.