Lately I’ve been writing frequently about bucket list destinations and experiences, typically equating those desires with faraway locales. Indeed, the more you experience new environs, the more you crave wilder, more remote, more breathtaking locales, and big, new, stronger, rarer fish. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to catch arapaima on swimbaits, or char in the Arctic Circle, but the idea that to be a great trip something has to be expensive or distant is patently false. There are plenty of options for most of us that are within a day’s (or a few hours’) drive and don’t cost an arm and a leg.
In the summer of 1995, after studying for and taking the bar exam, I went to Alaska for just under a month with my friends Matt and Cory. We planned to tent-camp around the state – from Anchorage to Denali to Fairbanks to North Pole to Chicken to Dawson City (Yukon) to Wrangell-St. Elias, to Valdez to Seward to Homer and back to Anchorage. Just reading that itinerary takes me back and makes me tired at the same time.