Scenic Drive

Alaska is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the pleasure of living. Or even visiting. Every stretch of road has awe-inspiring beauty to offer; mountains, waterfalls, moose, caribou, lakes, bays—postcard worthy scenes at every turn.

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There is one stretch of Alaskan road that stands out as my favorite: the 137 mile stretch between Palmer and Glennallen—The Glenn Highway. On my first drive across those gorgeous miles, a friend and I nicknamed it the “Glacier Highway.”

This isn’t the route you take if you want to speed by and get where you’re going. This drive demands you slow down and be a little bit of a tourist. Relish in the beauty and take that extra moment to pull over and step out of your car.

When the decision was made to move to the lower forty-eight, I knew I couldn’t leave Alaska without traveling this highway once more.

I had only driven this road once before, several years ago, while on a spontaneous road trip with a friend. Unless you’re traveling between Valdez and Anchorage, it’s not a commonly traveled route for those in Fairbanks, where I was living at the time. If you drive from Fairbanks to Anchorage via the Glenn, you’re going to add 2-3 hours to your drive, if you don’t pull over several times like I did.

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On the Glenn, there is a large stretch of road that winds through the mountains. I drove into a thunderstorm right before reaching that mountainous stretch. I was forced to pull over and wait it out. Well, not forced. I’d call it more like a welcome delay. There’s something majestic about watching a lightning show in the mountains. I felt like I’d hit a jackpot, like Alaska didn’t plan to let me leave without a proper sendoff.

If you ever have the privilege of traveling this scenic highway, expect a kink in your neck. Your eyes will be glued to your window, viewing pristine lakes, enormous mountains, wildlife, and glaciers everywhere you turn. There are actually a few places where you can park and walk to a front row view of some of the glaciers, such as the Matanuska Glacier at mile 91.7.

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Enough of our days are filled with rushing everywhere we go, trying to complete a never-ending to-do list of chaos. Sometimes, you need to take that scenic route and stop to admire the Fireweed. Live in the moment and savor it. You’ll thank yourself later.

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