Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park (Source: Nic McPhee) Alaska? Sure, that sounds interesting! One spring morning, many moons ago a friend called and was driving across the US on her way from New York to Alaska. She asked if I wanted to tag along and work in Alaska for the summer. I was currently working in St. Louis and thought, sure why not it will be a great adventure, I’ll be back in the fall. Ha… little did I know.
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So off I went with only a back pack and the hopes of a grand adventure. I ended up getting a job in Denali National Park, working at the front desk of the hotel and the tour desk. It was great, I met so many fun and interesting people, both visiting and working there. What an exciting and energetic environment. I packed my summer with hikes, river trips, car trips, flight seeing, midnight volleyball, horseback riding ….. anything. Summer solstice meant the sun never set, so I decided to make the most of that and did everything I could. The northern lights were amazing in August in Denali… took my breath away. Alaska was so much more than I had expected. People can try to describe the natural beauty, but it seems so much more vibrant in person. And staying for the summer gave me so many more opportunities to experience the unusual things, seeing a brand new moose calf taking its first steps, seeing grizzly bears catch and eat salmon, spending the night on the Ruth Glacier. Talk about priceless!
When summer was coming to a close, several people were talking about “wintering” over in Anchorage. It sounded so mysterious, I thought, why not. Let’s give it a try. I was persistent in my task of securing full time employment and was able to start working full time in tourism that winter. Ever since I’ve been an “Alaskan”. Front Desk, Tour Desk, Transportation, Reservations, Yield Management, Sales, Guest Service and Operations – I’ve done them all. My Alaskan journey has afforded me many wonderful opportunities. I’ve met some great people, experienced amazing things and have parlayed my summer adventure into a 20 year tourism career.