It’s neat to know your words and ideas are getting attention. That people across the country tune in to what you have to say. Neater still when readers approach you and ask if they can share their own thoughts in the space you have created.
So when Jon of No See Um Lodge in Alaska emailed to ask if he could share on my blog, I was thrilled. I have never been to Alaska, but the idea is certainly on my bucket list. I want to go see the big wilderness, the open spaces, and the lights. Thank you Jon for inspiring me to stay committed to the dream of Alaska. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to come stay at your beautiful lodge. For now, I will bask in the beauty of the pictures you captured, and keep dreaming.
Words & Pictures by: Jon Clark of No See Um Lodge
Beauty is always in more than the eye of the beholder. It surrounds us every day in so many ways. It can be the sound of children laughing or the fragrance of roses. The shaggy feel of a favorite four-legged friend’s hug is as beautiful as the loving look in those big brown eyes. From the flavors in a perfectly prepared homemade soup to the feelings evoked by a stunning sunset, beauty is an amazing sensory experience.
We also know that beauty can be a dream come true because it surrounds us every day up here in Alaska. The longing to live in a pristine wilderness became a wonderful reality for us many years ago. We’ve been fortunate enough to make our home in an area that defines beauty on an almost infinite number of levels.
When our kids laugh up here, it’s often at the sight of sea otters bobbing on their backs just off the shoreline. Suddenly, the otters roll over and spring into playing wild water games. They chatter and race and splash, and we’re all caught up in their fun. It’s beautiful music to our ears.
We do a lot of fly fishing on the crystal clear rivers up here, and brilliant blue skies serve as our back roads to favorite spots. When we take off with the rising sun, the views from our float plane take our breath away every time. Sailing just above the tree tops with rugged mountain ranges in the background, it feels as though we can reach out and brush our hands against the natural beauty all around us.
Hiking the backcountry immerses our spirits in everything that we love about this amazing great outdoors. We’re very lucky to live in one on the last places on earth that encompasses vast ranges of untouched wilderness. We take a deep breath filled with the smell of towering spruce and crisp, fresh air, and we know that beauty has an aroma.
All of these things make home here our slice of paradise, but nothing transports us to an otherworldly place of extraordinary beauty like our Northern Lights. When people visit, they’re excited about exploring the reaches of Katmai National Park and photographing brown bears. They want to watch whales, cruise past glaciers and dine on fresh salmon. But most of all, they want to see the Aurora Borealis. We understand.
The Northern Lights perform a ballet in our winter skies that always stops us in our tracks. An entire lifetime here in Alaska isn’t enough to take in the endless variations of colors that drape and billow across a backdrop of twinkling stars. What begins as a faint flicker in the distance slowly grows reaching farther and farther up into the night.
The incredible show peaks with a dance that fills the sky with gracefully undulating curtains of lights and ignites the darkness with reds, purples, blues and greens. A celestial glow reaches the highest points in the heavens and lights up our faces here below as we gaze up basking in this miracle that illuminates our nighttime sky. If we had to define beauty in Alaska with just one thing, it would be our Northern Lights.
One of the most beautiful things about living in the Last Frontier happens every time we greet someone who’s new to our part of the world. The look of wonder on a face and the excitement in a voice confirms what we already know. Alaska holds the promise of unforgettable experiences and delivers a lifetime of beautiful memories. We feel very blessed to be able to share it all.
No See Um Lodge is a family-run operation that was established by Jack Holman in the early 70’s. Today his son, John, who is both a pilot and a guide, maintains No See Um’s well-earned reputation for pampering and pleasing its guests. John has been living, fishing, guiding and flying in Alaska for most of his life. He and his guides know the best fishing spots and how to get you there safely.
*If you are interested in contributing a guest post, please email me at 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com*