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Related Web Sites

Alaska's Marine Highway
For ferry routes and schedules, check out the Alaska Marine Highway's official Web site.

Colors of Nature Photography
Photographer Rich Reid and his wife operate Colors of Nature, specializing in travel, nature, and adventure photography.

The Thin White Line
In 1925 a deadly diphtheria epidemic swept through icebound Nome, Alaska. The only way to bring the antitoxin across 674 frozen miles (1,085 kilometers) was by dogsled.

Desktop Wallpaper: Adventure Photos
Browse the adventure and exploration photos in our archive—each one ready to be downloaded as wallpaper.

National Geographic Photography Home Page
Find additional photo galleries, tips for taking better pictures, and more.

 

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Photographer Rich Reid
Alaska's Virgin Islands
Trade in frozen margaritas for frosty glaciers and a BOB trailer on the ultimate mountain bike tour—island-hopping the Inside Passage.
By Carey Ostergard

Over a decade of experience as a backcountry guide makes photographer Rich Reid about as close to an Alaska expert as they come. So when Reid and Contributing Editor Robert Earle Howells pitched Adventure a twist on the classic Alaska-unbound experience—using the ferries of the Alaska Marine Highway to island-hop the Inside Passage—we were hooked. (Check out "Floating Into the Country" in the May issue.)

Their strategy was simple: To cruise up to a handful of the hundreds of islands that stud the Inside Passage, saddle-up mountain bikes and BOB (Beast of Burden) trailers, and pedal off into a wilderness teeming with mystical totem poles, black bears, old-growth forests, and glorious vistas of proportions far beyond any found on a "Visit Alaska" postcard.

"In just half a day, we would ride through such vast extremes—from marine rain forests to arctic deserts, glacial valleys to muskeg wetlands," says Reid, who notes that this mode of ferry-hopping is a favorite among seasonal guides and Alaska locals, but is still far from the tourist beat. "The culture on the ferries is amazing—everyone has a sincere outdoor spirit," says Reid. "At the end of every day we were welcomed into a warm house for a cold beer and good stories where the laughter was infectious."

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May 2004



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