Glen and Alana (aka The Wilderness Collective) fell in love with photography and with each other at their undergraduate university in Colorado and have been traveling the country taking gorgeous photos ever since. On their most recent trip, the pair ventured into the Alaskan wilderness and experienced a little more than they bargained for.
This was not what we expected.
“As all great stories go, there’s always a beginning, middle, and an end. The first part of our trip seemed promising. Winter was mild here in Colorado and Spring came early upon us. The West Coast was beautiful and filled with warm sun by the sandy beaches. We picked up two of our friends from Seattle and made our adventure even more fun and memorable as we had some people to share it with. All seemed good, and we were excited to cross the border.
"After crossing into Canada, the trip really took us by surprise. Being so far North, Alaska was still a frozen desolate area and looks like what every person imagines The Last Frontier to be, a frozen tundra. We were met with white out storms, frozen lakes, and frigid winds. Every night we camped, we were met with single digit weather.
The Arctic winds blew daily which usually brings snow soon after.
"We planned our trip based on the Alaska we had experienced on our trip last summer; all grass, warm weather, and lots of mosquitos. Instead we were trapped on top of a mountain in a snowstorm, post-holing through snowy hills, and staying by the fire to stay warm. Lots of our activities were scrapped because it was too snowy. All the planning we did for the past 6 months was useless, and it really hit us hard. Our morals were the lowest they have been. Alana and I even had a moment of weakness and discussed turning around. But we stuck with it and decided that we were already here.
We made the best of the situation and found ourselves with an opportunity that we would have never been able to have by turning around.
"In the end we made with a great friend who showed us the around and helped us find the beauty of an Alaskan winter. We saw the Aurora Borealis on Alana's 20th birthday, right at midnight. But most importantly we shared memories that even pictures can't capture. Our experience up there is nothing that we can even describe, only shared between the people who have been there. One thing that the Army taught me is that the best memories are created during the crappy times. We can go to Cancun, Mexico and lay by the beach for a week sun tanning and tell our friends that we lounged poolside and soaked up the sun. But during our time in Alaska, things were hard, and things got real ugly. Who else can say that they've road tripped to Alaska in the middle of winter?”
After 11,000 miles, 40 days, 9 states, 4 people, 2 countries, and 1 road trip, Glen and Alana made it safely (and warmly) back to Colorado, forever grateful for the experience they shared in Alaska.