Alaska Camping Tour

February 3, 2008 10:38 PM | Alaskan Photo Tours

alaska camping tour

Alaska – our 49th in its fifty

During my summer sabbatical I traveled to Alaska, our 49th state which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of statehood in 2009. My two week-long tour took me to Katchekan, Juneau, Scagway, Valdez, Copper River, Denali and Fairbanks. Often regarded as the "Last frontier" I half expected Alaska to be an extension of the Wild West with cowboys, horses, buffaloes, etc. Not so. Alaska has its own unique character and charm. "Robust" is the adjective that most aptly describes it. Alaska is so large, that has its own time zone (as opposed to popular belief, not the Pacific or Rocky Mountain time).

Alaska offers a lot of eye candy in the form of mountains, glaciers, rivers, tundra and wildlife. I tend to believe Franz Liszt "Les Préludes" have to listen to travel the state as reflecting the majesty of wildlife in Alaska. It's really beautiful, no matter if you're a naturalist or not.

In late June, temperatures along the Inside Passage (in the southeastern part of state) ranged around 50 and dropped lower as he approached the water or one of many glaciers in the state. Sorry, but this kid from Florida, Alaska was too cold. At first, the coldness is a curiosity, but it loses its fun when you finally realize this is as hot as it is going to be. Interestingly, as we went further north in the state, and away from the glaciers, which really hot. For example, Fairbanks was considerably warmer than the Inside Passage.

All cities have their own unique hue, and the people are warm, but Skagway is generally regarded as the favorite city to visit by tourists. It offers a rustic charm historical and simple geometric design that is easy to navigate. More importantly, the Indians (not to traders who are only there temporarily) seem real and down to earth. By putting in the center of Skagway, can not help but feel a part of "Jack London's Call of the Wild." In short, an experience very nice.

By contrast, on the outskirts of Skagway is Glacier Point, which houses the Davidson Glacier and a wild adventure involving canoes, a large number excursions, and man eating mosquitoes. These creatures are so plentiful and massive in size that I suspect could easily carry a small child if they were so inclined to do so. Among the chill of the glaciers and mosquito-piranha, it's easy to overlook the beauty of the area and makes you wonder how can nature guides live there.

The city of Denali was perhaps the most picturesque place we visited. Its name means "the Great" a reference to the nearby forest. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. It is also the seat of the Denali National Park, which has an abundance of wildlife, including moose, bears, caribou, wolves, foxes and other things that go bump in the night. No wonder that everyone knows how to use a weapon there.

It rains a lot in Alaska, including Inside Passage. To the surprise of many tourists visit this part of Alaska is actually a tropical forest. Even in summer, you have to wear layers of clothing to protect themselves elements. Otherwise, Alaska can be quite dry and comfortable during the summer months.

One thing that is difficult for tourists to adapt to the solstice summer where the sun never really sets. It's hard to try and sleep without any obscurity, but in some way to adjust. However, it has a tendency to distort their sense of time. As an interesting note, the baseball team has Goldpanner Alaska Fairbanks Midnight Sun baseball game to celebrate the solstice. Starts at 10 pm and ends around 1am. What is that unlike other stadiums is that there is no light used to illuminate the field. It's different, very different.

When visiting Alaska, the real stars of the show is the abundant wildlife and its journey is not complete without a close encounter of some sort. Once there, we saw a large amount of wildlife on land, sea and air, including moose, caribou, reindeer, bears, beavers, otters, wolves, foxes, squirrels, Bald Eagles, gulls, terns, whales, seals, salmon and Arctic Greyling. Interestingly, there are no snakes in Alaska because they can not stand the cold more than me. The sighting favorite among tourists is the elk yet, a seemingly docile animal, but I do not think that would get on your bad side in a close encounter. I stay in the car if you do not mind.

We signed up for a couple of fly fishing trips, while there, one for salmon and one for Arctic Greyling. found fishing to be attacked or miss up there, and I would not recommend it without a guide who knows what he or she is doing. Be forewarned, however, fishing is substantially different streams and rivers that we have in the 48, which requires a technique of casting a little different.

For me, I think the people of Alaska are as inspiring if not more, that the landscape and wildlife. People are self-reliant, versatile, proud of their state, and is not afraid to tackle a challenge. They prefer the independence and isolation but have learned to work together as neighbors as well. The natives make you feel welcome and seem happy to share their home with you, either in a rest stop, hotel, or wherever.

When you consider how crazy the world is today, it is easy to understand why people thrive in the isolation of Alaska. Far on the horizon or a crest is not unusual to see someone camping and enjoy the quiet beauty of Alaska, and I suppose that's a big reason why people come. By far, I saw more tourists Alaska blueberry.

During the summer months, there is an influx of young people in their twenties to take jobs related to tourism, such as waiters, guides, bus drivers, bell hops, etc. They come from all over the U.S. not only for the money but for the adventure of Alaska as well. Many are determined to stay for a short period of time, but fall in love with the charm of Alaska, and become full time residents.

After visiting Alaska, I asked often, "Could you live there?" Maybe if I was 30 years younger, had no family relationship, and it was not so set in my ways, maybe, just maybe. As confirmed by the Florida, it is difficult for me to imagine enduring the cold again. The real question is, "Would I recommend a visit to Alaska? "Of course. To paraphrase author Guy de Maupassant," See Alaska and Die ", which means that they have finally seen something meaningful and inspiring.

Alaska has come a long way in its short 50 years of statehood. It's really amazing to see how a civilization carved out of the desert a real tribute to the human spirit.

Indeed, perhaps the most interesting gift that I found there was decorated moose droppings. Can not stop feel that someone is making fun of tourists to it.

About the Author

Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant located in Palm Harbor, Florida.
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

He can be contacted at:
timb001@phmainstreet.com

Copyright © 2009 Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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