ALASKA - The Wild Frontier

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Island-studded seas and fjords, thundering glaciers, challenging mountain peaks, vast forests and wild rivers all form the backdrop for magnificent wildlife viewing.
For the adventurous traveller, undoubtedly one of the USA’s most scenic and unmatched outdoor States to explore:
• Visit the secluded villages of the Inside Passage
• Explore the wilderness of Katmai
• Navigate the many islands of the Alaskan Peninsula
• Experience the wildlife wonder of Denali National Park
• Travel north passed the Arctic Circle
• Reach for the summit of Mount McKinley

Alaska Country Information



Flanked by the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, and separated from Russia by the Bering Strait and bordered by only Canada in the south-east, Alaska lies across the Arctic Circle. Alaska’s monumental size compliments its desolate appearance.


Accessible only by sea or air, the capital is Juneau, generally on all Inside Passage cruises’ itineraries. Whereas Anchorage, as the most densely populated city, forms the gateway to Alaskan Frontier territory, Mount Denali National Park and the Arctic Circle.


Best time to visit is May and June, with low rainfall (25mm/month), average temperature (between 5 and 15 C) and 9 hours of sunshine. Between October and February the days are extremely short, very cold, with highest rainfall August September.


Various transportation options within Alaska exist. Most towns within the so-called Inside Passage (next to Canada) are only accessible by boat (water) and floatplanes. A very basic road system connects some inland towns.

WATER: For 50 years the Alaskan Marine Highway ferry system is an economic way of cruising the Alaskan Peninsula and the Gulf of Alaska from Dutch Harbour to Valdez. Be warned: you have to be in no hurry, because it is quite time consuming.
Privately owned float-planes can take you to any isolated destination, as long a sufficient source of water to land exists. Various cruise companies specialize in shorter excursions cris-crossing the many water inlets and sounds of Alaska.

ROAD: Mainland Alaska also has limited transportation alternatives: road system stretching from Seaward, passed Anchorage to Fairbanks (Routes 1 & 3) and Manley Hot Springs (Route 2), consist of surfaced roads. The Route 1, which stretches some 500 km northwards to the frozen Arctic Ocean (Prudhoe Bay) is only accessible during a limited seasonal period.

TRAIN: Various Train Journeys are available: Denali Star (Anchorage to Fairbanks during season); Coastal Classic (between Seaward and Anchorage), and the Aurora Winter which operates only in winter.

AIR: Alaska Airlines fly between Anchorage and the capital, Juneau; a multitude of privately owned ski-planes and float-planes can fly you to almost any destination in Alaska, even the most secluded site.


Alaska offers a diverse and wide variety of choices, to suit most travellers’ tastes:
Alaska Peninsula, Katmai Preserve, Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound, Inside Passage, Misty Fjord National Monument and Denali National Park.
Outdoor activities for the marine and wildlife adventurer at heart
(kayaking, hiking, fishing, glacier and photography exploration, mountaineering):
• An informal cruise on the 1600 km Alaskan Marine Highway from Dutch Harbour in the west to Glacier Bay Preserve at the northern mouth of the Inside Passage
• Weekend fishing breakaway by float-plane deep into the wilds of Koyukuk National Wildlife Reserve backcountry
• Mountaineering on “the High one”, Mount Denali / McKinley, second highest mountain in the world, with the highest single vertical climb
• Catch the Aurora Borealis (aka northern lights) above the Arctic Circle during winter months
• Day excursions visiting the multitude of glaciers in Kenai Fjord National Park or the Prince William Sound Marine Reserve


• Copper Whale Inn** Anchorage Centrally located, still quiet environment
• Hotel Alyeska**** Near Girdwood, in the heart of wilderness, 65 km south of Anchorage
• Susitna River Cabins*** Near Talkeetna, on river bank; north of Anchorage to Fairbanks
• Alaska Wilderness Lodge Located near Homer; accessible only by boat
• Denali Backcountry Lodge Located inside Denali National Park near Wonder Lake
• Grand Aleutian Hotel*** Located Dutch Harbour Unalaska Island Peninsula’s most western tip
• Aurora Ice Museum& Bar at Chena Hot Springs Resort Fairbanks; All in Ice!
• Pitch & Roll Pub on Tustumena Ferry between Kodiak & Homer


Although it is assumed that Alaska is a very remote country, and thus haven’t changed much through time, many areas, including Anchorage, have mimicked the architecture of the warmer US states and adapted to many habits and ways of life. But their way of bonding in festivities, is still much customised to Alaskan traditions:
• Ice Worm Festival Cordova February
• Iditarod Sled Dog Race (1750 km Anchorage to Nome) March
• Alaska Folk Festival Juneau April
• Alaska State Fair Palmer Sept
• Make it Alaskan Festival Oct
• Sitka Whale festival November
• Anchorage Intl Film Festival Dec

As is illustrated by the variety of festivals, Alaska’s culture is one of camaraderie and survival. Residents look out for and take care of one another and welcome their guests with open arms. Be sure to spend some time getting to know the locals during your Alaska tour. Alaska is surely not for the faint-hearted …

- Johann

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