Alaska’s Hidden City
One cold January afternoon, I flew my helicopter above the Anchorage Hillside with my original flight instructor along as co-pilot. I had hoped to capture an image of the city against the ice-bound inlet, but a cloud bank intervened. With sunset outlining three Cook Inlet volcanoes on the horizon—Iliamna, Redoubt and Spurr—we hovered over a scene that had the look and feel of uninhabited country. I was struck by how Alaska’s geography often dwarfs and hides its human footprint. One of the state’s busiest highways runs along the base of this mountain, but it’s a mere ribbon across the landscape. The largest city within a thousand miles is below and a few miles to the right. But you’d never know it.