Pacific Wonderland : Alaska - Part I

Hey everyone! Thanks for being patient while I've been in an editing frenzy these past few weeks. I still have a ton of photos to sort through, but wanted to start sharing the first stop of my Northwest journey : Alaska. After years of dreaming of visiting this place, I finally got a taste of these wild lands. And after my week there, I'm hooked. We only explored a small portion of the vast landscape, staying south and landlocked in the state's capital of Juneau.

Our first day was spent hopping on planes up the southern Alaskan coast. My first moments in the state were spent in the city of Ketchikan. Wide eyed and speechless, I watched as wisps of fog moved in and around the giant mountains and towering evergreens. From there, we moved on to Sitka, just in time for golden hour. Cabins nestled on small islands, amidst glowing snowy peaks. Onward, we arrived to our final destination : Juneau. We were welcomed with an incredible display of alpenglow, and I honestly don't know how many times I said WOW on our ride into town. 

The next morning, with jetlag on our side, we awoke early to a dreamy display of low lying fog. With a chill still in the air, we pulled on some cozy layers, hopped in the car, and made our way to the nearby Mendenhall glacier. I'll never forget the first moment I laid my eyes on it. Or the fact that we had the place to ourselves. The blue ice formations built up to form a truly unique landscape. The scale of which still boggles my mind. Best of all, it was also home to an insane waterfall! The first of many that I saw on this trip.

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The following day, with the weather still not in our favor, we took to the mountains. En route to a local ski area, we had to stop to admire the scenery. For the first time on this trip, it felt like was had a moment to just...sit back end enjoy. So that's precisely what we did! 

The first couple days of this trip were nothing short of amazing, but Alaska still had A LOT to show us. So excited to share more from this journey!

x

J.

Fresh Powder in the Presidential Range

Hey guys! Happy Spring, I guess?! I didn't realize how busy this past month would be, what with work and trip planning (and alright, road tripping to play in the snow every moment I could). I think the thing that surprises people the most about the Northeast are how prolonged our seasons are! Winter around here starts in late October/ early November and then just stays put until April. In fact, the first day of the month was spent hiking up a mountain with over a foot of fresh snow on the trail! But more on that trip later.

I wanted to share with you guys some photos from our hike up Mount Madison last month. Not only was it my first time hiking one of the Presidentials, but it was my first time hiking one in WINTER. Just figured I'd go all out, ya know? While I've hiked some of the smaller peaks in the White Mountains, and have definitely done my fair share of Winter hikes back in the Adks, nothing quite compared to this. My friends and I started up around 3am, thinking we'd have more than enough time to be at the summit for sunrise. What we didn't count on was having to break trail of the fresh powder the entire way up. There were moments when my snowshoes wouldn't catch and I had to crawl up! But all the effort aside, the views up top more than made up for it. Above treeline, we were met with the first light of the day, and watched as the valleys below were bathed in pink and gold. The final leg was by far the most grueling for me, both physically and mentally. It was definitely one of those moments where I had to just push through my fear and exhaustion. And honestly, I'm so happy I did. Seeing the camouflaged hut that my friend had told me about was the goal of the hike, and I can't express the feelings that came over me when I first laid eyes on it! The cherry on top was of course seeing Mt. Washington covered in a blanket of snow. After a quick rest, we were all ready for the climb down, where pancakes and coffee were calling our names. That fresh powder helped rather than hindered our process on the descent. I'm pretty sure I half hiked, half slid down that mountain! I don't know if it was because we were all so tired, or if it really was just that funny, but I have never laughed as hard as I did on that hike down. Anyway, I now can't wait to get back there for summer hikes. And by the time I get back from the Northwest, it will be just about that time! So soon, guys! 

xo

J.

Snowstorms and Big News

Hey guys! 

I know it happens every year, but I can't get over how quickly the month of February goes by! This past month was busy, as always, but there was still enough time to have some incredible adventures. If you've been following along on my Instagram, you'll know that I hit quite a bit of snow recently. Probably more than in previous winters!

My friends hosted another meetup for The Northeast Collective, this time to explore the countless frozen falls in west New York. A small group of us also got together in New Hampshire a couple weeks ago to hike to the MOST BEAUTIFUL fire lookout I've ever seen. Honestly, probably one of the best days ever. My favorite part of these trips is how they bring all my friends from the area to one place for the day. Sure, it's nice to see these beautiful places, but the best parts are always the in-between moments. The inside jokes, sharing stories, and definitely pancakes. No adventure would be complete without them! :) 

I think that's why I'm most excited for what's next...I'll be heading back to the Northwest next month!! First stop, and the one I'm most anxious for, will be to Alaska. Honestly words can't even describe how excited I am to explore out there! From there I'll be wandering all around B.C., Washington, and Oregon. The best part is that I'll be spending my time out there with new friends! I can't wait to get back to those green forests and big mountains. In the meantime, fingers crossed for a few more snow days.

xo

J.