Discovering Alaska: Land of the Midnight Sun

Alaska Hope historical cafe. (Photo by Donna Long)

By Donna Long

Alaska, the 49th State of the Union, Land of the Midnight Sun and the Last Frontier is calling adventurous souls like a siren, beckoning them to discover its beauty – from the rugged snow-capped mountain peaks to the miles of ocean shoreline to the small towns and villages that far outnumber populated metropolises.

Purchased from the Russian Empire in 1867, the transaction quickly became known as “Seward’s Folly” after United States Secretary of State William Seward due to a belief that Alaska was a frozen inhospitable land. The acquisition added 586,412 square miles to the United States, but the Territory remained mostly uninhabited until the discovery of gold in 1896 when fortune seekers rushed to the frozen north with dreams of finding golden veins in the ground.

Many were unprepared for the brutal and unforgiving environment of Alaska. Others, full of grit and determination, carved out a meagre existence developing deep ties, purpose, and respect of their new home bursting with vibrant beauty.

Fast forward to present day, Alaska is the largest state in the Union encompassing more than 663,000 square miles – twice the size of the next largest state, Texas, which has just over 268,000 square miles, but still the least populated. Even though much of Alaska is only accessible by small planes, riverboats, or snow machines in the winter months, there is still so much to see and diversity for travelers to experience.

To read more, pick up a copy of the September/October issue of LiveIt magazine.