@ The Outset

Last Look: Alaska

Photograph: Ian and Anna, wearing life preservers, drag a canoe through a shallow channel. Thick overgrowth abounds.

This was taken miles from Denali, in Nancy Lake State Recreation Area. I mentioned that we canoed to a lake cabin earlier in the trip; this was that trek. If you go there and you’re up for a challenge, see if you can book the James Lake cabin. Getting there involves canoeing over ten lakes, and carrying your rented watercraft over a series of portage trails in between.

The sense of isolation — no, solitude — is breathtaking. To walk through the forest, the loudest thing for miles; to shake the branch of a spruce tree and listen to each needle fall, one by one, to the Earth.

This was Alaska, for me.

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A headshot of the author.

Joey Castillo

Texan by birthright, Joey now lives in Brooklyn, NY with four roommates and his truck, Ghost. He likes backcountry hikes, cold weather camping, dark starry nights and hot camp stove coffee in the morning. He’s carried a national parks passport since 1996.