The Wonders of Alaska

From the writing desk of Christine Mazurk

Known as the "Great Land", Alaska has always intrigued me. It's a place I've always wanted to visit; it's on my 'bucket list'! The unique Native Cultures, the Russian legacy, glaciers, mountains, moose and whales, all call us to visit. Adventure - backcountry and hiking, wildlife viewing, cruises, as well as art, culture & history wait for us to come and experience.

The Inside Passage, rich in cultural history sounds exciting. A four day trip includes: A visit to Ketchikan. Less than 2 hours from Seattle by jet, it's known for its impressive totem displays. I understand you can learn about their lumberjack history at the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. How many romances have you read featuring lumberjacks? Could be research for a new story. How about a kayak trip to the Misty Fjords National Monument, or a hike through Ward Creek Trails, a stunning rainforest which is only accessible by foot.

Day 2 takes you to Wrangell. located at the mouth of the Stikine River. It's home to the Rainbow Falls and Institute Creek Trail, a spectacular seven-mile hike which boasts one of the largest concentrations of bears in the state. From the viewing platforms, view eagles, harbor seals, black bears, and occasionally brown bears.

Day 3 leads us by ferry to Petersburg. Known as "Little Norway", it's a classic fishing town with the largest home-based halibut fleet in Alaska. The scenic waterfront is lined with wharfs, homes, businesses, and two canneries overlooking the harbor, which houses vessels, barges, ferries, and seaplanes. You can board a cruise to see the icebergs of Le Conte Glacier or the whales of Fredrick Sound. Oh, icebergs or whales? I'm in for both!

A short flight from Petersburg and you're in Juneau, Alaska's capital city. Take a tram to the top of Mount Roberts for an eagle's eye view of the surrounding area. The city's museum shares Juneau's cultural and gold rush history. Helicopter tours take visitors up to the Juneau Ice Field to experience glacier trekking, or a dog sled ride on ice. Too much adventure? Then meander through the wilderness along the six-mile Perseverance Trail. From there, fly back to Seattle or visit another Region of the state.

Southcentral Region, visit Anchorage and the Kenai Fjords National Park, or go to the Interior Region to experience Fairbanks and see Denali National Park, the Far North boasts Barrow and Nome, and finally the Southwest offers Bethel and the Katmai National Park. Whatever your pleasure, it sounds like Alaska has it to offer.

I also have a friend who I met on a plane from Paris, who lives on the Iditarod route and volunteers every year. She and her husband have invited us to visit and participate in the race. How exciting would that be? Hmm, I think that invitation just moved "Visit Alaska" to the top of the bucket list under the "do it sooner" side of the list.

Where have you always wanted to go? What intrigues you about the place?



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