North to Alaska

My brother Gus got orders to move from Eglin Air Force Base in Destin, Florida to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. Since he was driving coast to coast, I invited myself along for the road trip. This was going to be the road trip of all road trips.

We left the sunny beach side of Florida and drove through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Since Texas is home, we said goodbye to our family and friends before the road became our temporary home. New Mexico was a restful stop before we ventured into colorful Colorado. Wyoming was next on the list and the drive was full of rolling plains, wild horses, and mountains peeking in the distance.

Gus wears the Stetson JBS Heritage 6X Cowboy hat.

Casper Tan & Blue Matte Cowboy Boot.

We had one night in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and took our boots and hats to the Jackson Hole Rodeo. The weather began to get cooler as we drove through Grand Teton National Park. The next couple of days were spent in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone was filled with bison traffic jams, rushing waterfalls, and geysers like Old Faithful. Our journey continued into Glacier National Park in Montana where we were able to explore for a couple of days before crossing into Canada.

Glacier was peaceful, full of bears roaming around, and hidden lakes tucked between mountains. It was time to say goodbye to the untouched beauty of the National Parks in the United States and visit our neighbor to the North. Our first stop in Canada was Banff National Park in Alberta. The glacier lake of Lake Louise made an incredible backdrop in Canada, and cold crisp air began to set the fall tone.

From Banff, we drove the IceField Parkway up to Jasper National Park in Alberta. Considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world, the IceField Parkway lived up to its name. As we made our way into Jasper, the earth decided it was time for the first snowfall of the season. We woke up to 12 inches of snow, but that didn’t stop us from hiking and exploring. British Colombia was up next on the trip as we made our way west to Prince George. The last leg of the trip were long days spent in the car listening to Lonesome Dove and admiring the wildlife and the changing scenery of Canada.

Shop men’s western shirts here.

As we drove through the Yukon, we were met with the rich history of the Gold Rush and a wild place of almost no civilization. Our time on the road was coming to an end as we crossed back into the United States and into the Last Frontier of Alaska. We drove through Wrangell-St. Elias National Park while Anchorage was looming ahead. Just as change was coming into Gus’ life with a new base and a new home, the Aspen trees lining the roads were changing colors as well. Our first weekend in Alaska consisted of heading to Kenai Fjords National Park to whale watch, see the sea lions, and discover the Alaskan Coast. The beauty of Alaska had already begun to take our breath away as we started to reflect on our once in a lifetime road trip.

Our road trip ended up being two weeks, 5,646 miles, 5 National Parks in the United States, and 2 National Parks in Canada. We crossed 10 States in the U.S., 2 Providences, and 1 Territory of Canada. We hiked a total of 25 miles across both the United States and Canadian National Parks. I want to thank my big brother, Gus, for letting me come along and experience this unbelievable adventure. We were able to create memories together as brother and sister and photograph some of the most alluring places on earth. In the crazy, busy world we live in, this trip was the perfect opportunity to sit back and marvel at the beauty of the untouched land. Anchorage has been a cozy home for the past month, but it’s time for me to head back to Texas…to God’s country.

Kacie Newkirk is a freelance photographer based in Plano, Texas.  Kacie focuses on capturing the beauty and magnificence of landscapes and animals in their natural habitat.  Kacie enjoys traveling and documenting her adventures through the lens of her camera.  This road trip is one that she and her brother will always treasure.

You can see more of Kacie’s photos at and on her Instagram @kacienewkirk.