Every year about this time, my mind wanders to the calendar – the big blank year yawns in front of me with nary a chore on the schedule. Since this time of year happens to coincide with some of the darkest and coldest times of the year, it is also very tempting to fill that calendar with trips to Hawaii and San Diego, Tucson and Mexico.
But this is idle dreaming by someone who has neither the time nor bank account to fund such numerous trips. As much as a sandy beach would be dreamy about now, so too is the thought that for a fraction of the cost, I can indeed fill that calendar with closer-to-home adventures.
This month, regular contributor Chris Batin shared his tips on some of the best public-use cabins in Alaska for the ultimate in-state getaway. Alaska might have the best public-use cabin system in the country, with multiple options ranging from bare-bones lean-tos to heated cabins complete with showers (outdoor showers, to be more precise, but isn’t that part of the fun?). Here in Alaska it is possible to have a full-on vacation in some of the most breathtaking areas of the state – all for the nightly cost of filling up the gas tank of your F-250. That beats the price of round-trip tickets and expensive hotels any day.
While we were at it, Après columnist Katie Pesznecker agreed to chime in. A seasoned traveler who flies practically every month to some cool locale like Portland or New York or New Orleans, Katie also is a fan of Alaska vacays. She shared a few of her favorites – and these, too, do not break the bank. Check them out on pages 10 and 11 in our in-print magazine, or online this month.
Staring at that calendar, I start to think about Skagway’s challenging hiking opportunities in May, Fairbanks’ tropical weather in June and Homer’s sandy beaches in August. I scroll through cabin openings in Eagle River, Kachemak Bay and Prince William Sound. Add all of these trips together and it might amount to close to 20 days worth of activity, and all for less than the cost of one weekend family trip to the Lower 48. It’s time to start doing the math, reserving the space and packing my bags.
It might still be dark outside and the winter days are lingering. But now is the time to start planning to enjoy every corner of Alaska