Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Last Frontier

Cook Inlet with soaring eagle,
and backdrop of Mt. McKinley 
Tourist brochures, as well as local vehicle license plates, proclaim the 49th state 'The Last Frontier.' They're not just referring to the far reaches of gold-rush country in Yukon Territory or the frigid Arctic wilderness of Alaska's world-famous Iditarod Trail to Nome. Breathtaking scenery at every turn validates this claim.

A day's train ride south to Seward, a road trip by car to Wasilla (no sightings of former governor, Sarah Palin), even a walk down Anchorage's West 4th Ave. to Cook Inlet gave us a glimpse - or an eyeful - of what frontier means:

Unexplored territory
Region of backcountry
Outer limits

Captain James Cook and his crew weren't the only living creatures to travel between Alaska and Hawaii. I had hoped to spot a few friendly humpback whales that had wintered in Hawaiian waters and survived the arduous trip home through the Pacific. Though not to be, we were blessed with a sighting of their smaller cousins, a pod of excitable, black and white porpoises that flitted from bow to stern of our Klondike Express catamaran until everyone had a plethora of photos to show family back in the Lower 48, or in my case, 5-0. 

Today is Armed Forces Day, a day to extend a heartfelt thank you to all retired U.S. military and to members who currently serve our country. Most importantly, we remember all those who have given their lives to defend our freedom.

Alaska has played an important role in American military history since WWII.

Did you know the only successful invasion of American territory since the War of 1812 was in the Aleutians during WWII?


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