(CNN) — Inspired by signs of spring -- longer days, warmer temperatures, waterfowl migrating north -- the great road trip to Alaska is a rite of passage for many travelers.
One of our favorite nature photographers, Ben Adkison, recently hit the road, leaving the country's fourth largest state (his home in Montana) bound for its biggest.
Montana and Alaska are separated by vast and sparsely populated swaths of Canada, making the drive a true wilderness epic.
Adkison says he and his travel companion timed their trip just before summer sets in to avoid the rush of tourists.
Starting in Missoula, Montana, they followed Highway 93 to the Icefields Parkway in Alberta.
Then the pair headed west to the Stewart-Cassiar Highway through British Columbia, and onto the Alaska Highway through the Yukon Territory into Alaska.
Ten days and 2,000 miles after leaving home, they wrapped up in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city.
The gallery above documents Adkison's journey and some of its most memorable stops.
These include a spontaneous campsite with an incredible view of the Canadian Rockies' highest mountain, ghostly mining towns left over from 19th-century gold rush days and what Adkison calls the best beer in the sprawling region.
Born and raised in Montana, Adkison is a freelance photographer and mountain guide.
After a 45-minute flight on a small ski plane, climbers land at Kahiltna Base Camp, sometimes called Kahiltna International Airport because climbers from all over the world fly in to attempt to climb Alaska's Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley. At 20,237 feet
it's the highest peak in North America.