Lots of people travel to Alaska each year for a vacation, whether it be just a trip to see the sights and to experience some of those the great Alaskan attractions, or whether it be a specific get-away from everyday life such as an Alaskan cruise or to try the great Alaskan fishing.
For many people, Alaskan vacations have been a once-in-a-lifetime goal but it is becoming more common for people now to return over and over as they get a taste of the greatness of the attractions that Alaska has to offer. People sample the beauty of nature in Alaska, with its bountiful wildlife and beautiful views and they get a sense of freedom as they realize just how much empty space Alaska has to offer and how few people there are to take it in.
Let’s face it, Alaska has many views and many experiences that cannot be had anywhere else in the world. I refer to things like humpback killer whales that make a game of putting on displays for the visitors and hundreds of glaciers that seem to calve on demand just to show off their stuff to those who come to see. I refer to the thousands of bears who just want to eat salmon and don’t care who is watching and photographing them while they do it. Even the plentiful presence of the thousands bald eagles everywhere seems to further ingrain this beauty and sense of freedom into our subconscious minds.
Alaska is one of the last frontiers. The reality of things is that it likely will remain so. There aren’t all that many people who are willing to endure the harsh, dark winters there to make it a permanent home and so for the most part, Alaska becomes a summer playground for those who are attracted to its beauty, its grandeur, its freedom, and its bounty.
According to Alaska’s Resource Development Council statistics, 1 out of every 3 visitors to Alaska now is a repeat visitor. They say that almost all of these visitors came first on a cruise ship but are now coming on their own to see and do all of the things that they first saw from a distance on their cruise. They came once and got hooked by what they saw and now want and are taking the opportunity to explore and to experience more in-depth, the things that interest them.
So, whether your tastes are for wild and exciting, or even if they run to tame and quiet, Alaskan travel is definitely something that should be on your list of things to do. You too may be hooked by what you see.
A fjord is a long narrow deep channel of water that has been cut out of the surrounding rock. Fjords usually have high rocks cliffs that tower over them. In the case of the Tracy Arm, there are granite walls about 3000 feet high that line the narrow passage. The Tracy Arm Fjord is located roughly 45 miles south of Juneau, Alaska. It is approximately 35 miles long. It has become a very popular destination and is accessible by boat or by float plane.
Many of the cruise ships and lots of the smaller day-trip boat operators frequently pass through the fjord. Its shorelines are dotted with frequent waterfalls caused by melting snow high up in the hills. Trees grow from the rocky walls at odd angles. Wildlife is also plentiful along the passage.
At the end of the fjord are the twin Sawyer Glaciers. While they are not the most famous or the biggest of Alaska’s glaciers, many people say that they are the most dramatic. They are framed by large mountains on either side and are often covered in a mist that amplifies and accentuates the deep translucent blue color of the ice. They really are an impressive sight. These glaciers are famous for the enormous slabs that calve off from their faces. The fjord is literally full of the remains of this glacial calving, with icebergs the size of large apartment buildings being commonplace. The entire length of the Fjord will be full of small pieces of floating ice.
I realize that that this is not an Alaskan fishing topic but for many people, their trip to Alaska may be a one-time thing. I always thought that my first trip would be that way. Little did I know just how captivating Alaska would be. I have been able to see and experience many beautiful and wonderful sights in Alaska and I wish to offer others the insight that I have gained in order to make their trip a little more pleasant and enjoyable.
If you have the time, there are many side trips that will fit well with a fishing trip to Alaska. They will give you a better view and a wider experience as you visit Alaska from faraway places. The Tracy Arm Fjord is one such place. It is well worth the time to work it into your fishing trip agenda.
Another of the exciting, interesting and educational activities to add to your list of possible side trips during your fishing trip to Alaska is a visit to Denali National Park. Denali Park is located in central Alaska in between Anchorage and Fairbanks and gets about 400,000 visitors per year. Denali is accessible by car, plane, or by the Alaskan railroad system.
Denali Park has about 6 million acres of wild country full of the wild terrain, beautiful views, and wild animals that Alaska is famous for. Of course, Denali National Park is home to Mount McKinley which is the highest peak in the US and in North America. Mount McKinley stands at a little over 20,000 feet in height. In the native language Denali means “the High One”.
Some of the possibilities for things to do at Denali are backpacking, hiking, cycling, photography, camping, bus tours, plane tours or flightseeing, animal/bird viewing, and a myriad of other activities.
Denali is home to many if not most of Alaska’s large mammals including 39 species ranging from grizzlies and wolves to caribou, moose, and Dall’s sheep. Also to be found are more than 150 species of birds ranging from gulls and terns to ptarmigan. One species of critter that is scarce in Denali are fish as the rivers there are poor habitat for fish. The fish that are to be found within the park are more likely to be found along the far western border of the park where the rivers are deeper and slower. Probably not the place to wet a worm.
Denali has several teams of sled dogs that work the park on a regular basis, hauling rangers, scientists, researchers, and others along with their gear and equipment to places within the park. The dogs play a very important part of the operations of the park.
One very dramatic way to experience Denali is from the air with a “flightseeing” trip either from a plane or from a helicopter. From the air, one can cover a huge amount of territory from the mountain ranges to the flat planes and grasslands to the glaciers. One may view the wildlife, plant life, and possible even you may see other hikers and mountain climbers doing their thing. These flights are available in either the plane or the helicopter version. These flights even can land on the glaciers for a “hands-on” experience.
Denali also has several roads and trails that are open to cyclists. If you are into cycling, this may be the perfect opportunity for you to sightsee from the seat of a bicycle.
There are also bus tours that will cover large areas of the park. These tours come complete with a guide who can explain the natural scenes, wildlife, and other sights that are found along the way.
If you enjoy nature and all of the things that come with it, a trip to Denali National Park before your fishing trip may be just the thing that you are looking for. Check it out and see if it may be a fit for you. Use the link below for more information.
In fact, Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers. In spite of this large number, only 5% of the state’s landmass in covered in ice. Alaska has some very favorable conditions that lead to the formation and preservation of glacial ice. Yes, cold temperatures are a part of it but also needed are favorable wind currents, mountains, and the right amount of humidity. Alaska has just the right combination of these critical conditions.
Glaciers once covered a large part of the northern part of the Earth. Over thousands of years they have gradually retreated to a relatively small number and area. Glaciers are formed by an accumulation of snow that never melts. Over many years,, the snow gets deeper and finally, with the weight and pressure, it becomes a glacier.
Glaciers “flow” downhill, just like a river does. Where they reach the ocean, large chunks of ice breaks off of the bottom end of the glacier and fall into the sea. This is what is called “calving”. Sometimes these blocks of ice are the size of buildings.
The color of glacial ice varies from white to a deep blue, depending on the thickness of the ice, the density, and the composition of the ice. Generally, they appear deep blue from a distance. My first ever sighting of a glacier was from the window of my Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Juneau. It was an impressive sight from the air.
The Hubbard Glacier near Yakut has the largest calving face of all of the glaciers in Alaska. Its calving face is 6 miles long. It is still growing, getting larger and longer every year. The Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau can be seen from town and gets lots of visitors each year. It is part of the Juneau Icefield that is about 1500 square miles in size and feeds 38 glaciers of which the Mendenhall is one. Glacier Bay Park is a very popular attraction along the Inside Passage for the cruise ships, kayakers, and for the flightseers (people who hire a plane to fly them over the glaciers for the purpose of seeing and photographing them from the air).
Flightseeing, helicopter tours, charter boats and kayaking and on-glacier ground tours are among the many options available to visitors who want to see the icefields and glaciers. Most of the glaciers have been made into National parks and will have their own ranger station. These ranger stations will have lots of information on the best ways to visit and experience the glaciers within their jurisdiction. Contact them for ideas and information on how to have the best time at their glacier. The Alaskan part of the National Park system can be found HERE
Glaciers are a fascinaing part of nature. They are interesting to see and to study. They have played a large role in the history of the world, being involved in the evolution of many of the species of plant and animal life that are or have been found on the Earth. They might be worth a little of your time during your next fishing trip to Alaska.