PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREW FREIRICH
Each year, Travel Alaska/The Official State of Alaska Travel & Vacation office in conjunction with Princess Cruise Lines invite journalists and Producers to come explore the state. I was fortunate to be invited. Tourism planned a two week trip, with one week by land and one by sea.
Alaska is one of the destinations I have always been drawn to. It is one of the most diverse eco-systems and animal populations in the world. Alaska’s topography is also unmatched. Ancient glaciers, mountains, bodies of water, wilderness, and so much more to explore and take in.
Alaska pristine in nature, I wanted to feel it, see it, and be a part of it. Alaska brings you back in time to an ancient history on this earth.
Some things have not changed for thousands or millions of years.
With my trip mates, we spent the first week touring and exploring major destinations accessible by land, and in proximity to the Princess Cruise Lines hotel locations. I went salmon fishing on the Copper River. We went bear tracking and hiking. One of our destinations was the Princess Denali, we ventured off on many day treks, and that experience inspired me to do more high altitude alpine climbing with Mt. McKinley on the radar again.
The food was absolutely incredible. I was eating fresh fish caught hours before, feasting on salmon, and meeting the amazing chefs at the different lodges who were using local incredients and traditional methods combined with innovative new approaches. I was definitely inspired and looked forward to re-create some of those meals back in my own kitchen.
We ventured out on ATVs and followed the Alaskan pipeline for 20 miles. We took floatplanes into those hard to reach areas, where we saw Kodiak, black and brown bears in their natural habitat.
We took a five hour train ride with the Princess Alaskan Rail Service from Talkeetna to Whittier where we would arrive at port and board the Sapphire Princess. Over the five hour stretch by train, we experienced an incredible array of landscapes and nature. Every moment was so scenic and inspiring. I’m so grateful for the craft that I enjoy so much that affords me these tourism opportunities.
We sailed to Skagway, Juno and Ketchikan. We climbed glaciers and navigated around and over cravasses. We visited remote Alaskan towns accessible only by boat. We were fortunate enough to meet some of the indiginous peoples, getting to know their culture and how they interact with the land. Everywhere I went, there was something incredibly unique.
The amazing thing is that I bring back each and every location around the world with me in some way. I also go into each trip with an open mind to explore the opportunities and potential projects that are borne from each location.