Alaska has a soundtrack all its own — the thunderous groan of a glacier, the splashing tail of a king salmon, the deep baritone of a moose.
It's an unparalleled performance on a stage that is bigger, wilder, more spectacular than anything in the Lower 48.
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With its vast expanse of nameless peaks, cobalt rivers, woodlands and tundra, it's a dream destination for many nature lovers.
It's also a second home to Drs. Fred and Rebecca Wagner Bye.
For the past four years, the Hagerstown periodontists have been traveling to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, with their children, Natalie, 14, and Mark, 10.
Populous Anchorage lies to the north. But Kenai is more rural, the Byes said. Their fly-in town of Soldotna has about 4,000 people.
"Until recently, there were no hotels or grocery stores there," said Rebecca Bye. "It's like stepping back in time."
Each summer, the family spends two weeks in Alaska fishing, hiking and relaxing.
They catch, clean and cook their meals of salmon, visit with relatives who also make the trip from Michigan and take photos of Alaska's unique wildlife — while living in a 200-square-foot trailer.
Though it's a chance to get together as a family, it's also a bit of a working vacation.
During each visit, the Byes present lectures for the Kenai Kodiak Dental Society, observe surgery and do consultations.
"There are no periodontists in this area," Rebecca Bye said. "The nearest specialist is in Anchorage, which would mean having to spend $250 on a flight or a three-hour drive. So whenever we're up there, we try to provide the local dentists and hygienists with techniques they can use in their office."
"We do what we can to help — either hands on or through consultation," she said.
People might ask why they do it. The answer, Rebecca Bye said, is simple.
"We've had mentors in our career —people who were very good to us. We want to pass it on and help others," she said.
Even after they return to Hagerstown, the couple said they stay in touch with Dr. Jerry Hu and other members of the dental group, and make themselves available to offer advice.
After all, they said, Alaska is part of them.
That's evident when you walk into the Byes' Fountainhead home.
There are maps of Alaska hanging on the wall, as well as mounted fish that family members have caught and a painting of bears. Even their dog has an Alaskan name.