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Adventures in Alaska: braving the last frontier.

Last summer, I took an amazing trip to Alaska! My family and I spent two weeks traveling through the state so we could learn about Alaska's wildlife and history, and marvel in its beauty. There were two main parts to our trip. The first week we camped out in a tent on the Kenai Peninsula. It was freezing! During our second week. in Alaska, we spent much of our time farther north, at Denati National Park and Preserve.

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Kickin' it on the Kenai

While camping on the Kenai Peninsula, we took a nine-hour cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park. Along the way, I saw so many animals: whales, sea otters, sea lions, bald eagles, harbor seals, and puffins.

At one point during the cruise, the strong Alaskan wind beckoned to me and I walked toward the front of the boat. I opened the door to the cabin slowly and a blast of salty air almost knocked me over. Not many people were on the bow, and I could see why--the arctic wind was overpowering. Before the wind could seize my hat, I quickly took it off. As I gazed out over the bleak ocean, a loud voice interrupted my thoughts.

"Orca whales to the starboard," the captain called. Doors flung open and people rushed out. The ship slowed to a halt, and the waves calmed beneath us. A whale surfaced, and gently cleared its blowhole; the noise carried out over the still ocean. As I watched, another whale surfaced. The shiny black orca whale raised its head gracefully out of the water, showing the white spot near its mouth as if in a friendly smile. The whale then flipped its body down, showing its tail in a beautiful arc. As everybody flooded back inside the cabin's warmth, I realized how beautiful the world of nature can be!

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Onward to Denali

On the second part of our trip, my family drove north of Anchorage to Denali National Park and Preserve. We rented a small RV and pickup truck and drove it as far as we could. Once we reached the park, we took a bus ride deeper into the wilderness where private vehicles, like our RV, couldn't go.

The park's dirt road was extremely bumpy, and it took the bus twice as long as a smaller car to travel the same distance, but it was all worth it. While we rode the bus, we saw nine bears--including five cubs, two moose, tons of Dall sheep, lots of caribou, a wolf, a red fox, a rare gyrfalcon, and a couple of golden eagles!

The scenery was unbelievable. We even got a couple of clear views of Mount McKinley, or, as the Athabascans, a group of people native to Alaska call it, Denali. It is the tallest mountain in North America.

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Ending the adventure ... for now!

My family and I visited three national parks in Alaska: Kenai Fjords, Denali, and Wrangell-St. Elias (the largest national park in the United States). I saw a great number of wild animals, braved my first time camping in an RV, and went to more museums than you would believe! My favorite museum was the Alaska Native Heritage Center, where Alaska Natives performed a few dances and showed off some life-size Native dwellings. Vacationing in Alaska rocked, and if you ever get the chance, I hope you check out its great rugged beauty!

Annie Szczurek Davis, 11, lives in Colorado with her parents. She likes to play the piano, write, read, and work on her Girl Scout badges. She was inspired to write a story about her trip to Alaska because she wanted to remember all the great things that happened along the way.
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Title Annotation:GO GIRL!
Author:Davis, Annie Szczurek
Publication:New Moon Girls
Article Type:State overview
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:622
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