As Anchorage disappeared from my rearview mirror, so did most conveniences associated with modern civilization. The Alaskan wilderness is both isolated and isolating. The only other time I have experienced similar feelings of remoteness was when traveling through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
En route to the rural outpost of Tok, I was treated to the majestic scenery of the Chugach Range; towering peaks, gently flowing rivers and signs of autumn visible in the changing colors of the leaves. The welcome sign that greets travelers to Tok – a “census-designated place” of 1,400 – did not disappoint. The wood frame is solid and rustic; the welcome message is heartfelt and meaningful. And the small flowers that decorate the edges reflect a softness that is not often apparent in an unforgiving environment.