Specific and almost untouched, Alaska is one of those countries that should be visited at least once in a lifetime. Summer, Winter, Spring, Autumn – you can visit Alaska in any time of year.
Even the story of its origins is one of the most unusual in world history: the 19th century it belonged to Russia, but Tsar Alexander II sold it to America for 7.2 million dollars. Even though Americans criticized former Secretary of State because of what they thought was the “dumbest transaction of all time” (who in their right mind would buy a land of snow and ice?), things changed when after some time in Alaska large reserves of mineral resources, oil, natural gas, ores and gold were discovered. The mass immigration of wealth seekers began, and scenes of people in dog sled rushing through the snow and the country of the midnight sun, across the magnificent glaciers, are now one of the favorite national tales.
Today the reality in Alaska is also unusual, but somehow romantic. It abounds with small places inhabited by a couple of youngsters, so they travel daily to schools in the cities and back by planes. That is of course normal to them, and the tourists quickly fall in love with the custom of flying because it offers a variety of options in Alaska: they can see the country flying over places in seaplanes or cruising one of the rivers. There are, in fact, 20 top U.S. peaks (including the legendary Mt. McKinley at 6193 meters above sea level), and 100.000 as glaciers, three million lakes, more than 3.000 rivers, 15 national parks. Where world begins or ends there is a heaven for every true adventurer, crystal ice Alaska, which is actually a peninsula in the northwest North America. It is visited annually by a large number of tourists, without the fear of cold subarctic climate and wildlife. In fact, bears, wolves, seals and whales are the main magnet for safari lovers, while those in love with the ancient and mystical culture are fascinated by indigenous culture of this peninsula.
Namely, more than 20% of the Alaska population (a total of 650 000) are members of the native cultures, which can be divided into Aleut, Eskimo and Indians. These peaceful fishermen – that make their own clothes from the fur of seals and the bears, and souvenirs, jewelry and toys from gold and jade – are very hospitable and happy to welcome guests. They enthusiastically greet each guest and interpret him their shamanic practices. Thus, they gladly invite visitors to a traditional dinner with the ancient ritual dance, serve them specialties of salmon and by the fire and drink explain how they believe their animals are the messengers, and acknowledge they avoid the otter, which according to their legends, bring bad news.
A special experience is a cable car ride from Girdwood to the top of the ski resort, Mt. Alyeska with a beautiful view of the amazing nature filled with glaciers. There we can see how people take care of their wild animals (even the dangerous polar bears) in the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where the most beautiful safari experience is where you can see how deer, wolves and brown or black bears eat or walk around in their natural environment. You will be thrilled at a sight of Exit Glacier, which belongs to Kenai fjords, a point where the mountain, ice and ocean meet. Once you feel the peacefulness of nature, seemingly wild, you will understand why the citizens of Alaska calmly feed the wild bears. In fact, you can try it for yourself in the vicinity of Wonder Lake. Of course, there are certain rules of conduct for black and brown bears – don’t get too close, nor scare them with sudden noise or movement. But you can leave food on the meadow and watch how they leisurely saunter up to it.
A special experience is a riverboat cruise; the most famous ship is Talkeetna Queen, which goes to the Dena’ina Indian camp. Here are legendary hunting huts – Indian tents of tanned animal skin.
Featured image by: tpsdave / Public Domain