Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for alaska

America’s Largest Glacial System

By Linda Tancs

America’s largest glacial system exists within park boundaries of Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Covering 35 percent of the parklands, glaciers are the headwaters for many of the river systems that flow through the park. One of the most stunning features of this area is Bagley Icefield. Touted as the largest nonpolar icefield in North America, it encompasses multiple glaciers and is 127 miles long, 6 miles wide and up to 3,000 feet thick in some places. In fact, it feeds many glaciers, including the Bering Glacier, the largest in North America. Both public and private lands exist in the park. Public lands are open year round; enjoy snowmobiling this time of year provided there’s adequate snow cover (at least one foot) and frozen ground.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Majestic Assembly

By Linda Tancs

From October to February a remarkable sight is yours to behold at Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines, Alaska. That’s when you’ll find a majestic assembly of more than 3,000 bald eagles, six or more to a single branch, all gathered to feed on five species of spawning chum salmon. The preserve was created in 1982 when the state reserved 48,000 acres along the Chilkat, Klehini and Tsirku rivers to protect this annual reunion, the largest known gathering of bald eagles in the world. Haines Highway between miles 18 and 24 is the main viewing area for eagle watchers and considered critical habitat in the preserve.

World Class Bear Viewing

By Linda Tancs

Alaskan salmon run at different times depending on the location and species. In southeast Alaska, you’ll find the largest run of pink salmon at Anan Creek during July and August. That means the bears won’t be far behind. Southeast of Wrangell, the Anan Wildlife Observatory is a world class destination for bear viewing—so popular, in fact, that only 20 visitor passes are issued each day from July 5 to August 25. Those passes are issued via a lottery that is conducted in March. Plan accordingly, and happy viewing!

Gates of the Arctic

By Linda Tancs

With no roads or trails, Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic ain’t your momma’s national park. But for those pioneering enough to brave nature’s elements, it offers spectacular opportunities to discover a premier wilderness. Four times the size of Yellowstone, the park and preserve lie entirely north of the Arctic Circle, straddling the crest of the Brooks Range (the northernmost extension of the Rocky Mountains). This land is home to the Athabascan and Nunamiut, who hunt the caribou herds that migrate through the park in the spring and autumn. The park was named by intrepid explorer Robert Marshall, citing two mountains paired opposite the North Fork. A lake named in his honor is about 33 miles from Anaktuvuk Pass, an Eskimo village within the park borders and a popular entry point into the preserve. Scheduled flights from Fairbanks serve the area.

Ten Thousand Smokes

By Linda Tancs

The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is a valley within Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska, a landscape created by the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.  Open year round, hikers’ favorite destinations include the Baked Mountain Huts, Novarupta lava dome and Mount Griggs.  But this time of year, Katmai is prized as one of the premier brown bear viewing areas in the world.  This month’s viewing is particularly strong at Geographic Harbor and Funnel Creek.  For guides and/or transportation to bear viewing areas, licensed commercial operators stand ready to assist you.

Dramatic Scenery in Alaska

By Linda Tancs

Alaska’s Misty Fjords National Monument is where Nature’s drama unfolds.  An area of unfathomable beauty, its two million breathtaking acres feature cascading waterfalls, glistening lakes, lingering mists and goliath walls of granite amidst forests of spruce, hemlock and cedar.  Located 22 miles east of Ketchican, it’s the largest wilderness in Alaska’s national forests and the second largest in the nation.  Kayaking is a popular way to experience the mighty fjords, but by seaplane you can fully experience its  charms, taking in the Tongass Narrows and volcanic Revillagigedo Island on your way.

Ice Alaska

By Linda Tancs

At George Horner Ice Park in Fairbanks, Alaska, they’d like to wish you an “ice day.”  That’s because it’s time for the World Ice Art Championships.  Now in its 25th year, the event features single-block and multi-block competitions as well as an amateur open exhibition.  Visit today through 30 March, and be on the lookout for the Northern Lights!

The Other Emerald Isle

By Linda Tancs

Ireland may be the place best known by the sobriquet “the Emerald Isle,” but Kodiak, Alaska could run a close second.  Located on the second largest island in the United States, the city is 250 air miles southwest of Anchorage in the Gulf of Alaska.  Adopting the motto “Alaska’s Emerald Isle,” the home of the Kodiak bear is, like its Irish soul mate, an area of lush natural beauty.  Take it all in–the greensward, mountains, islands and wildlife–from atop Pillar Mountain.  One of the biggest draws, taking place this weekend, is the Kodiak Crab Festival.

Halibut Fishing Capital of the World

By Linda Tancs

Homer, Alaska is the southernmost town on the state’s highway system, the ‘end of the road’ you might say.  And where land ends, the sea begins.  That’s great news for Homer, a fisherman’s mecca.  Recognized as the halibut fishing capital of the world, the local catch is limited to two fish per person per day.  Fish as long as you like; your catch will be packaged and sent home for you.  Best of all, the bounty is available year round and so are the roads, the scenic Seward and Sterling highways.

The Northernmost Curiosity

By Linda Tancs

If you’ve been looking for a toilet bowl atop a totem pole, your search is over.  You’ll find it in Point Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost point in the United States.  At the military base there is a colorful totem pole topped off with what is reputedly a toilet bowl commemorating the first flush toilet in Barrow.  Just 1291 miles away is the North Pole.

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