Story: Le Manh Binh

Photo: Phan Tuong Van

Located some 800 kilometers across Canada from the next closest U.S. State, Alaska is extreme in its remoteness as well as its landscape.

There are 616 named glaciers in Alaska, and there are around 100,000 glaciers overall, more than you’ll find anywhere else. It’s been said that anyone who wants to take a sip of water that’s a thousand years old can come to Alaska’s coastline in the summer to savor the glacial meltwater.

Alongside glaciers are Alaska’s other geological wonders: volcanoes. One destination where both features are on display is the small town of Homer in the Southern Bay of Alaska. With a population of 5,000 inhabitants, the town is world-renowned for its halibut fishing.  But Homer is also encircled by four active volcanoes at a relatively close distance.

Crossing the Alaska Mountains, you’ll find the city of Fairbanks, the center of Alaska. This place is a favorite destination for visitors who want to catch the Northern Lights.

Before arriving at Fairbanks, visitors can take a detour to the nearby town of North Pole, the “home” of none other than Santa Claus.

While Alaska makes a fascinating tourism destination, indigenous Eskimos (also known as Inuit) have lived there for tens of thousands of years. It is long believed that the first people to reach the Americas crossed the 85-kilometer-long Bering Strait from Siberia around 16,000–30,000 years ago, before moving southward over the course of the next few thousand years, migrating  all the way down to South America.

The indigenous people of this region have managed to survive in such a challenging by living in close communication with the natural world.

As a thousand-year-old adage of indigenous people living on the banks of the Gulkana River says: “Look with your ears and listen to the beat of your heart.”