Alaska …the beautiful!

The most immediate, and dramatic, impression Alaska is likely to make on you comes from its sheer size. Alaska has more than twice the area of Texas, and is rimmed by more coastline than all of the other states combined. No wonder the Aleutian people named it “the Great Land.” MountMcKinley — the tallest peak in North America, at more than 20,000 feet — looms over Denali National Park and Preserve. The park itself is larger than Massachusetts, helping to explain how Alaska contains more than two-thirds of the United States’ total national park acreage.

Not only is Alaska huge, it is magnificent. The unbelievable scenery is what first catches the eye. Row after row of glacier-garbed mountains stretch to the horizon. Some are reflected in the water of lakes dyed a bluish hue by the silt of melting ice and snow.

Braided rivers, which find new routes around ice dams that form during winter, meander through U-shaped valleys that were gouged out eons ago by advancing glaciers. Whether flying over, driving through, walking in, or viewing it from the deck of a ship, the sheer drama of Alaska’s scenery is difficult to express in words.

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