08 February 2018

Everything about Alaska

The largest city in Alaska is Anchorage. Anchorage has about 280,000 inhabitants, which is about 42% of all the inhabitants in Alaska. The city was able to become this big due to its oil, multiple large companies have located their offices in the city. Because its richness, luxury and modern environment, Anchorage is not a typical Alaskan town. The city centre is not very big and can easily be discovered on foot. 

Alaska Native Heritage Museum

And when you are there, you should not miss the Alaska Native Heritage Museum. Furthermore, the city has its own international airport. The capital city of Alaska is Juneau, this city has 30,000 inhabitants and is named after Joe Juneau, who discovered gold there in 1880. The city is located in South East Alaska and is only reachable by plane or boat. Juneau is located between the mountains and just outside of the city you can find two glaciers. Juneau is a popular cruise destination. 

In Alaska they mostly speak English, there are dozens of dialects which the locals use. The locals often communicate with various languages mixed together. 

Alaska has a lot more daylight during the summer than we have in The United Kingdom, since it is located more north. In June it does not get dark at all in some parts of Alaska. On the other hand, days in September do get shorter quicker than they do here. In December there are days in which the sun only rises at 10:00 and already sets at 16:00. The northern Lights are also visible in Alaska, mostly during the months from September to April.  

Alaska can be visited the entire year. Although it is depended on the weather what activities you can do. In the summer months; June, July and August, a lot of flowers bloom and you can admire seabirds. May and September are typical spring and fall months, the beautiful green nature and lovely fall period make them great months to visit. 

Seasonal activities

There are however also enough activities to be done during the winter, which starts in December and ends in May. One of those activities is cross-country skiing. The locals think the winter months are the most beautiful months in the year. Since Alaska is so huge it has many climate zones. In North Alaska the temperature barely rises above zero degrees Celsius. Around the Gulf of Alaska, the average summer temperature is about 18 degrees. Always take warm clothing with you when you visit, since it can also start snowing during the summer months. 

The inhabitants of Alaska are a native people, originally, they are the Yupik and the Inuit. Also known as Eskimos. They get divided in subgroups, some even originate from the Indians. All inhabitants are Alaskan, but also Americans since they are from America. 

Many people rent a camper to discover Alaska themselves. Renting a camper gives you a lot of freedom. You are allowed to put your camper everywhere. You are also allowed to set up your tent everywhere, so traveling with your car and tent is also a great possibility. If you would like more comfort you can also choose to stay at one of the various camping sites.  

Plants and Animals 

In many places in Alaska there are more bears than people. They have three types of bears. 
The brown bear, which knows a couple of subdivisions like the Grizzly bear and the coastal brown bear. Every type has its own preference in environment and life needs. 

The black bear mostly lives in the south and eats whatever they find. They are much smaller than brown bears. 
Last but not least the polar bear, this bear lives on ice but also lives on land. They can been seen at the northern island Bater. 

Apart from the bears more animals live on land, like; moose, caribous, foxes, wolves and porcupines. And in the water you can find animals like; whales, orcas, walruses, sea lions, sea otters, seals and dolphins. Many fishermen visit Alaska to catch its famous Alaskan salmon. You can go fishing yourself or with a guide. Fishing for the Alaskan salmon is the most famous, however it is also seasonal. There are many types of salmon and the salmon pull is different in in every river. It is also possible to fly with a small airplane into the wild and get dropped off to go fishing. Sometimes there is a small lodge in which you can spend the night, however often it is a day trip. Just as it is possible to go sea fishing, mostly halibut. These daytrips often get organised from Homer. You will need a permit for this, so inform if the permit is included with the trip. 

Mountains, Volcanos and Glaciers 

The highest mountain is the McKinley, which is 6,194m high, also making it the highest mountain in North America. The original name is Denali, which means “the big”. In Alaska there are a lot of mountains, out of the 20 highest mountains in The United States, 17 are located in Alaska. Over 100 volcanos and volcanic areas which have been active in the past 1,5 million years are located in Alaska as well. And over 40 volcanos are still active today. 

There are about 100,000 glaciers in Alaska, which make up 64,750 square kilometers of the state. There are more active glaciers in Alaska than the rest of the world. 

Sporty in Alaska 

Alaska is extremely fit for anybody who loves a sporty holiday. Anchorage is the city with the most kilometers of biking lanes in North America. In the big parks you can find biking routes. There are many options outside the city as well. If you rather go outside the city, make sure you get a mountain bike, since most roads will not be paved.  

Hiking is extremely popular in Alaska. You can choose to follow a hiking trail. Or you can choose to wonder around in areas which are remote. If you plan to go hiking for a longer period it is wise to inform the local ranger. He will be able to give you valuable information on the area including local weather forecasts. Since you will not have any form of communication it is also wise to discuss the route you are looking to follow and the amount of days you plan to stay away. If you are not back on the discussed day they can start a search. 

Kayaking is another popular sport. There are so many water paths that it can be hard to make a choice. Especially in the South East of Alaska they kayak a lot in the calm bays. You will also be able to follow a set route here, some will take up to a week! If you plan to go kayaking longer than a day, please also inform a ranger. 

You can also go wild water rafting in one of the many wild water rivers, since there are a lot of high mountains. Every year a lot of melting water comes down the mountains, making the rivers ideal for wild water rafting. 

Since Alaska has many mountains it is popular with mountain climbers. Especially the mountain McKinley is very popular. Do not underestimate this mountain, every year mountain climbers die due to the abrupt change in the weather. It is the coldest mountain in the world, so to climb it you must be a practiced mountain climber.