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Cold comfort: Even in winter Alaska is inviting

By Pat Costello, for CNN
March 16, 2014 -- Updated 2156 GMT (0556 HKT)
About 65 miles north of Fairbanks at 3:30 a.m. and -11 degrees F (-24 C), a dazzling aurora inspired an audience of one to turn a Steese Highway sign into art. About 65 miles north of Fairbanks at 3:30 a.m. and -11 degrees F (-24 C), a dazzling aurora inspired an audience of one to turn a Steese Highway sign into art.
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Steese Highway
Transcending science
Most remote highway in U.S.
Heart of Alaska
Oasis of heat
Research reindeer
Rich vein
U.S.-Soviet ties
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alaska photographer set out to document the frigid interior of the state in winter
  • The most remote highway in United States and tallest mountain in North America were on his itinerary
  • Subjects included a captive herd of reindeer on the campus of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks

(CNN) -- In a few months, temperatures in the Alaskan interior near the town of Fairbanks will rise into the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit (mid- to high-20s Celsius).

Hundreds of thousands of visitors will arrive to take in the epic wildlife and scenic grandeur of Denali National Park and Preserve, six million acres of unspoiled wilderness bisected by a single road.

Though in winter the area remains encased in snow, ice and freezing temperatures, the land is no less glorious for it.

Alaska photographer Pat Costello has spent the waning days of the harsh Alaska winter exploring in and around Fairbanks, the heart of the 49th state.

The most remote highway in United States, the tallest mountain in North America (Mount McKinley at 20,237 feet/6,168 meters) and the dreamlike northern lights were all on his itinerary.

A selection of his work is featured in the gallery above.

MORE: America's tallest mountain a bit shorter

Pat Costello's Alaska photographs have earned him a worldwide following. You can find his work on his Facebook and Instagram pages.

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