It was almost fifteen years ago when my wife and I packed all of our worldly possessions into two trucks and left our small cabin in Haines, Alaska––for good. It was a sad day, but life in Alaska is tough. While we had the mettle to thrive in a small town in our 49th state, it proved too far away from family and friends, and not to overstate the obvious, the winters were brutal. Not cold, they were dark, depressing, and the extreme isolation made them drag on forever.
As hard as it was at times, it was also a magical period in our lives, so special we never returned. I suspect we never went back for fear it wouldn't live up to our memories, of which we have many. When I had the opportunity to return on assignment for Overland International in conjunction with a project sponsored by HEMA maps of Brisbane, Australia, I wasn't sure if I should go.
I'm glad I did.
Time has a way of distorting and embellishing memories, but what I returned to was the same Alaska I remembered and cherished. Perhaps even more magnificent than I recalled. In the three weeks I was there I traveled to many places from our past like our tiny cabin in Haines, our favorite beach on the edge of the Lynn Canal, and many other haunts. Arriving with a professional mission, to record the area for a series of editorials to appear on Expedition Portal, I returned home to Arizona with a few thousand images, a handful of notes, but more importantly a renewed appreciation for Alaska and what it means to me.
We are small things, we humans. Within the scope of Alaska we are almost insignificant. It is a special place unlike any other on the planet. I hope we always protect it, appreciated it appropriately, and never let it lose its luster. I could go, but instead I think I'll let the images speak for themselves.
I present to you, Southeast Alaska...