​Reasons You Should Visit Alaska This Summer

​Reasons You Should Visit Alaska This Summer

The 49th state is just waiting to be explored
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Known as the last frontier and purchased from Russia for a cheap two cents per acre, the 49th state is worth visiting even if you have to endure a long flight. In some parts it is truly the Wild West, and you are transported back in time, and in others you are in instant awe of the size of the mountains surrounding you and the giant Moose walking before you.

1. The natural beauty makes you feel small

Alaska is the kind of place that immediately makes you say, “Yep, there is definitely a God up there.” Whether you are camping next to a salmon-filled river, white water rafting with bald eagles flying overhead or hiking on a huge block of ice that is just a small part of a moving glacier, Alaska puts your life in perspective. It is a place that makes you realize just how small you are compared to the natural wonders that surround you.

2. The fishing and wildlife viewing

If you are an avid fisherman or fisherwoman, Alaska is probably already on your bucket list of places you wish to go fishing. I never had a chance to go salmon fishing, but I have heard it is quite the sport. You must snag the fish in the mouth with your hook because they normally don’t bite. I have however gone halibut fishing, and it gave me a huge amount of respect for the men and women that fish in the Gulf of Alaska as a career. The waters are rough, the wind is cold, and if you don’t have much arm strength like me, reeling up the massive fish can be challenging. It was however one of the best fishing experiences I have had, and I came back with pounds and pounds of fish.

The wildlife viewing in Alaska also cannot be beat. The only way to describe it is that the animals, birds and insects are larger than life. The bald eagles are massive, way bigger than you have ever seen, the bears roam freely and it is not at all uncommon to see two to three moose each day. Not to even mention the magnificent whales, sea lions and orcas you can see on whale-watching tours. It really is a wildlife experience on steroids.

3. Adventurous activities

Have you ever wanted to raft on class V rapids or hike up a giant mountain? What about 4-wheel down riverbeds or snowmobile off the side of cliffs? You can easily do all of these things and more when visiting Alaska. It really is an adventure-seeker’s paradise.

4. The overly fresh seafood

Image Source: www.adventuresportfishing.com

I almost don’t even want to eat salmon now because of how good it was in Alaska. I am officially spoiled. Fresh salmon is red people, not pink, and trust me it tastes so much better as well. The crab, sushi, halibut, rockfish…you name it, is the freshest I have ever tasted. I would probably jump on a plane right now for the seafood if I could.

Do you ever wonder why there are so many TV shows that follow the lives of Alaskans? It is because the things you see there you can’t see anywhere else in the world. Save up now and hop on that plane because those mountains and rivers are waiting for you to explore.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Where Did They Go?

In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh renewed Humphrey Gilbert's patent to explore the New World. But this is a start to a mystery still unsolved.

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Following his half-brother's death, Raleigh was granted a royal charter by Queen Elizabeth I to explore and colonize "any remote, heathen, and barbarous lands, countries, or territories, not actually possessed of any Christian Prince or inhabited by Christian people." In return, he would provide one-fifth of the gold and silver mined from that land. It was intended by Raleigh and the queen that the venture would provide riches from the New World and a base from which to send privateers to raids the Spanish treasure fleets.

Raleigh never visited North America. Instead, he leads expeditions to South America in 1595 and 1617 in search of the golden city, El Dorado. Needless to say, the guy never found it. But he sent others to 1585 to establish the Roanoke Colony. Today, it is known as the Lost Colony.

The first expedition to North America was a bit rocky. The small fleet of ships was separated by a storm of the coast of Portugal, eventually meeting up again on Puerto Rico. One ship did reach the Outer Banks and the north end of Roanoke Island. Just over 100 men settled building a small fort but were lacking in food and other supplies. When there was no sign of the promised relief fleet, many took up the offer to return to England from Sir Francis Drake, who was returning from a successful raid in the Caribbean. Those who returned introduced England to tobacco, maize, and potatoes. The relief fleet turned shortly after Drake's departure, finding the colony abandoned. The relief fleet returned to England but left 15 men behind to keep up their English presence and to keep Raleigh's claim on Roanoke.

A second expedition launched in 1587 to again establish a settlement on Roanoke Island. This time, the settlers were more diverse, including entire families who were to be governed by John White. He re-established relations with the Croatans and other local Native Americans when the colonists arrived again on Roanoke. Soon after, White was persuaded by the colonists to return to England and explain their desperate situation. The colonists were lacking in food, supplies, and feared to the anger of the nearby tribes.

White left behind 115 colonists, the men and women who made the Atlantic crossing and his new granddaughter, Virginia Dare, who was the first English child born in the Americas. White promised to return in a year but a series of delays turned that year in three.

White returned to the colony on August 18, 1590, his granddaughter's third birthday. But when he arrived, he found it deserted with no trace of a struggle or battle or the 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children he left behind. What he did find was the word "CROATAN" and the letters C-R-O carved into nearby trees. All of the houses and forts had been dismantled meaning the colonists were not hurried out of their home. He told his people before leaving to carve a Maltese cross into the tree to signify that they had been forced to leave. He assumed the word carved into the tree meant they had been moved to Croatan Island, today known as Hatteras Island, but he was unable to conduct a search due to a storm. He returned to England, hopeful that his family was still alive. In a letter to Richard Hakluyt, he expressed that "he must hand over the fate of the colonists and his family to the merciful help of the Almighty, whom I most humbly beseech to help and comfort them."

We still are not entirely sure what happened to the colonists of Roanoke. They could have died of starvation. They could have fought with the nearby tribes and were taken as prisoners. They could have sought shelter with a nearby tribe as well. There are many theories as to what happened to the colony and hopefully one day we will have answers. For now, Roanoke Island keeps it name, the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

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