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2014 Mar by JEREMY DEMAI
I traveled to Juneau, Alaska and used it as a home base for a week of travel along the Inside Passage using cars, ferries, and planes. I stopped in Haines, Skagway, Hoonah, and Sitka. |
2012 Jul by Michael Novins
July 2012 -- I began my trip in Glacier Bay National Park, part of a binational UNESCO World Heritage Site, where I stayed at the Glacier Bay Lodge (http://www.visitglacierbay.com/). I went on a boat tour to Margerie Glacier through Glacier Bay, one of the best places to see wildlife in Alaska, and I saw many humpback whales, bald eagles, otters and Steller sea lions. I also visited the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines (http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/eagleprv.htm) and then drove the Golden Circle from Haines to Haines Junction, Whitehorse and Skagway. I ended my trip in Juneau, where I drank at the Alaskan Bar, established in 1913 and the oldest bar in the state (http://www.thealaskanhotel.com/). I flew around Southeast Alaska on Air Excursions (http://www.airexcursions.com/). |
July 2007 -- I flew to Fairbanks and rented a car to drive to Denali NP, where I took a bus into the park, and saw several moose, caribou, dall sheep and one grizzly bear -- private vehicles were not permitted to drive into the center of the park (http://www.reservedenali.com). From Fairbanks I flew to Anchorage and made a day trip by air to Katmai NP to see the grizzly bears at Brooks Falls (http://www.katmailand.com/bear-viewing/index.html). I rented a car in Anchorage and drove to Seward, where I took a boat trip into Kenai Fjords NP and saw several killer whales, one finback whale, the world's second largest, and Steller sea lions (http://www.kenaifjords.com/).
2010 Jul by Bodo Christ
Although i had only one week to spent in Alaska, i was fascinatet from the wild, rough landscape. I startet the tour during 3 am from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula, because I had problems with the jetlag. Suddenly a big moose was standing in the middle of the street, just when i looked a little bit arount. I have seen a few more during the trip. From Whittier i took the ferry to valdez. In the evening i have seen all the fisherman, who have landet the Halibut and salmon from their daily catching. It is a very nice scenery on the harbour at this time. From Valdez i continued my way to fairbanks and from there back to Anchorage. I spendet the nights in stateparks and campgrounds and was daily fascinated from the landscape. It is a pity, that the mount denali was totally covered from clouds when i passed that area.
I intend to visit Alaska again if possible. |
2009 Sep by Patrick Randow
We sailed the Inside Passage then flew to Prudhoe Bay, worked our way down the Haul Road to Fairbanks, Denali and Anchorage. Probably the most beautiful of the 50 states. |
2008 Sep by Alex Curylo
Took an end of season 7 day roundtrip cruise from Vancouver on Norwegian's Norwegian Sun, stopping at Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, with sailing through the Inside Passage and up to see the Seward Glacier. Not a bad trip at all as cruises go; definitely recommended if you happen to find yourself near Vancouver.|
A warning to Canadian residents though -- much to my surprise when we arrived in Skagway, Canada has a policy against allowing Canadian residents to drive U.S. licensed rental cars into Canada. This is a particularly nonsensical policy in Skagway, where the nearest Canadian rental agency is in Whitehorse, which is most likely your intended destination. However, when we decided to give it a go anyways, we went through the border just fine. Whether we were just lucky they overlooked it, or it's not actually enforced, we didn't quite dare ask...
2008 Aug by Jorge Sanchez
MY LAST JOURNEY TO ALASKA IN AUGUST 2008|
The Inside Passage
The journey by ship through the Inside Passage, between Juneau and Vancouver Island, is an unforgettable experience. During fours days you will constantly be surprised by the sight of whales, seals, rare birds and the awesome grandeur of the Nature.
Having reached Alaska by chance (I was, literally, expelled from Chukotka, in Russia, and forced to cross the Bering Strait), I resolved to get the best out of that unexpected circumstance in my journey. So I bought a cheap ticket in a regular ferry of the Alaska Marine Highway, called Columbia, through the, so called, Inside Passage, starting in Juneau with destination Bellingham, in the state of Washington, although during the journey I decided to get off in Vancouver to explore that island hitch hiking.
Many cruise ships also offer that journey for tourists, but at a much higher price than the Columbia ferry.
This Inside Passage goes right the way through the Alexander Archipelago, comprising about one thousand islands. After that it reaches Canada, and continues along the Hecate Strait, between Queens Charlotte Island and the coast of British Columbia. Finally it arrives at Port Hardy, in Vancouver Island.
The schedule of the boat was as follows:
- Juneau: sailing at 8 AM
- Hoonah: 2 hours stopover
- Sitka: 5 hours stopover
- Petersburg: 1 hour stopover
- Wrangell: 1 hour stopover
- Ketchikan: 3 hours stopover
- Prince Rupert: change of ferries. A whole day
- Port Hardy: arrival to Vancouver Island at 9 PM. End of my boat journey
On board we would have a Pilipino whose task was to entertain the passengers giving lectures about the places that we had to cross, plus some historical lessons. He would explain us about the Titus Bering and Aleksei Chirikov discovery of Alaska in 1741, about the tribes Tlingit and their traditions, about the gold seekers in the Klondike during the gold rush, about the whales, seals and birds that without interruption we would see.
Every time that the loudspeakers advised of the sighting of whales, all the passengers would run from one side to the other of the boat, with their cameras, to take incessantly pictures of the animals.
The ferry would sail the next day, so I still had time to discover Juneau.
Juneau is considered the most scenic capital in the United States. It is located in front of an island called Douglas, surrounded by high mountains.
Daily cruises with hundreds of tourists invaded the main road buying souvenirs in the shops. Some of them booked a ticket to climb a high mountain in a cable car, but the price was not cheap and, furthermore, it was raining, so I would not be able to enjoy the superb views. Instead, I entered a Russian Orthodox Cathedral, called St Nicholas. It was not dated from the Russian times since it was built in 1893 (Tsar Alexander II sold Alaska to USA in 1867).
Russians are not anymore in Alaska, but still 30.000 Aleutians and other aborigines profess the Orthodox Faith.
Afterwards I hitch hiked to a fantastic glacier called Mendenhall, and a few hours later I walked to the port, spent the night sleeping in a wooden bench and the next day in the morning I boarded the Columbia.
After a few hours of navigation we reached the first port: Hoonah.
Hoonah means in Tlingit language \\\'The Place where the wind does not blow\\\'. It is sited in the island of Chichagof, discovered by the Russians.
Since the stop was not long, most of the passengers got off the boat and walked quickly around the city, called Port Frederick, with less than one thousand inhabitants, all working in the salmon canneries.
I noticed that most of the population was \\\'First Nation\\\', or Native Americans, but everybody could speak English.
It is not an old village. The original one had been abandoned by the Tlingit when a glacier advanced invading their community. Then, they settled down in the present location, and only at the end of the XIX century European origin colonists started to arrive, founding canneries.
Some tourists from my boat disembarked in Hoonah to spend some days fishing Halibut.
When we heard the first siren call, all the passengers ran back to the ship.
We continued our navigation until Sitka.
Sitka is a precious gem in that extraordinary journey.
During Russian times, Sitka, situated in Baranoff Island, was the capital of Alaska, until it was transferred to Kodiak Island, in the Aleutians archipelago. Today it has a population of 9000 citizens.
I visited an authentic Russian built Orthodox Cathedral, called St. Michael (although it was paying, unlike the one in Juneau, but I spoke in Russian and they let me enter for free), then I walked several kilometres until I got very close to the lovely mountain Edgecumbe, which crater looks almost like the Japanese Fuji Yama (In Sitka it is called \\\'Little Fuji Yama\\\'). All around Sitka was beautiful, like the many totem poles, the statues (one of them devoted to Alexander Baranoff, the first Governor of Alaska), the reproduction of ceremonial canoes used by the aboriginal people, and in general the easy going atmosphere. There were many shops and bars selling salmon sandwiches.
The Columbia continued its course until Petersburg.
Before arriving to Petersburg we traversed the Wrangell narrows, an amazingly beautiful channel about 35 kilometres long.
The sight of Petersburg, when approached by boat, is awesome! It is a charming little town of about 3000 people who live thanks to the shellfish processing.
At the pier it was written (partially in Norwegian language): \\\'Velkommen to Petersburg, Alaska little Norway\\\', in honour of the first European origin colonists, having arrived to Alaska from Scandinavia.
Because the previous night had been stormy, the Columbia had slowed down the speed, and consequently the call in Petersburg was reduced to one hour only.
But in spite of that, most of the passengers, the most passionate, managed to visit the most interesting tourist attractions of that pleasant town, considered by our Pilipino lecturer the prettiest in the Alexander Archipelago.
After Petersburg we continued our journey to Wrangell.
In Wrangell, a town established by the Russians at the beginning of the XIX century, the stop lasted one hour only. Fortunately the village is just close to the port.
In a sign I could read that Wrangell is the only place in the United States having originally been Russian, English, Tlingit and American territory respectively, so governed by four flags.
During the Russian times, Wrangell was known as Fort Dionysius, but after they sold it to USA the Americans changed it for Wranglell, an admiral in the Russian Army descending from a German Baltic noble family who made an around the world journey calling in many places of Alaska and Chukotka. He was one of the founders of the Russian Geographic Society, and was contrary to the sale of Alaska to USA. The Wrangell Island, north of Chukotka, was also named in his honour.
I managed to visit some totems and the rest of the original fort Dionysius before running back to the Columbia.
After Wrangell we continued to Ketchikan.
Ketchikan was another great stop in the Inside Passage.
I was anxious to reach Ketchikan because is located in Revillagigedo Island, discovered by the Spanish explorers many years earlier than British navigators, such as George Vancouver and Captain Cook, arrived to those waters.
Revillagigedo was a Earl and at the same time the Viceroy of Nueva España, territory today called Mexico.
The downtown was a little bit far from the port. I hitch hiked and soon a young man took me in his car to Creek Street, a sort of Little Venice, with many houses with balconies supported by palaffitos incrusted in the banks of the river.
It was beautiful!
Ketchikan is known for sheltering the biggest collection in the world of standing totem poles.
I managed to see, at least, twenty totems, and even entered in the small but rich Museum. Just across the gate I visited the Public Library (Internet is for free in the public libraries in USA and Canada).
After Ketchikan we continued until Prince Rupert.
The Canadian authorities checked my passport and, without any compromising question, stamped my passport giving me a three months stay in the country.
I waited in Prince Rupert for a whole day for my ferry to Vancouver Island.
It was a very touristy city with cruises filled mainly with Americans calling in its port and invading the shops to buy souvenirs.
In the waterfront they offered tours by motor boat to sight whales. The price was 100 Canadian dollars per person. Many tourists bought that excursion, but not me because of the price and also for the reason that after having watched so many whales in Chukotka Peninsula and during the journey in the Columbia ferry, I had already enough of whales.
I slept in a wooden bench in a central park, to be awaked several times by the deer, walking placidly around the town. Nobody disturbed them, not me. When they woke me up licking my face with their tongues, I just smiled.
The next day I boarded a new ferry to Vancouver Island.
In this Canadian ferry we did not have lectures, the showers were paying, and the prices in the cafeteria were higher than in the Columbia. But, in compensation, the best views of the whole journey were yet to come.
We traversed the walls of the breathtaking Grenville Channel, the captain slowed down the speed and nobody dared to speak because of the subjugating beauty; we all were in a sort of ecstasy.
At 9 PM I arrived to Port Hardy, in Vancouver Island. The ship would continue to Victoria. A few passengers disembarked and hired taxis. I could not afford it. The town was at about 12 kilometres.
I walked hitch hiking at the same time, but nobody picked me up.
After one hour or so, a car stopped and the driver and his wife cried to me:
- \\\'Are you crazy? In this area there are many grizzlies! Come with us!\\\'
And they took me to Port Hardy downtown . They were \\\'First Nation\\\', the most humane people that I met in British Columbia.
And that’s the end of the story.
< >.................................................. KOTZEBUE: I reached Kotzebue by plane, from Nome, because overland was not possible, since there are no roads. You can only reach Nome from Anchorage during the yearly race, called Iditarod. But from Nome to Kotzebue there is no road connection at all. Kotzebue is located within the Arctic Circle, a much exotic place for a traveller. The name originates from Otto von Kotzebue, German Estonian navigator working under Russia, who searched the place at the beginning of the XIX century looking for the North East Passage. The airport is just in the outskirts of the town of Kotzebue, which is very small and you can visit it in a couple of hours or so, and that is what I did. I did not spend the night there since there was nothing much to see. Much more interesting was Nome, where I had just spent four days, living with an Inuit family. From Kotzebue I flew to Anchorage to catch the fantastic train Denali Star to Fairbanks........................................................... THE DENALI STAR TRAIN: In the summer of 2008 I boarded the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks. The price was not expensive and I had money enough to afford it. So this time I did not hitchhike. The previous night I slept in the Salvation Army, very far from the downtown, but woke up in time to run to the railway station where bought the ticket to Anchorage in the Denali Star train. I showed my Student card that I had bought in a previous journey in Bangkok, for 4 euro, and then I got discount in the train ticket. The train left at 08.15. The journey would take 12 hours to run about 600 kilometers with the following stops: • Anchorage • Wasilla • Talkeetna • Denali • Fairbanks I saw magnificent views of Mt. McKinley Mountain, which is also called Denali. On board there was a glass dome and even an open wagon where we could admire the landscape. We crossed several bridges over rivers where tourists were practicing rafting. That train journey was wonderful! The stop in Denali National Park was very long and we, all the passengers, had time to walk around the train station to admire the Denali peak and the surroundings. Finally we reached Fairbanks; all the passengers were excited................................................................................. NOME: I flew from Provideniya, in Chukotka Peninsula, Russia, to Nome, in Alaska. Thanks to a friend that I made in Chukotka I could stay in the house of her mother, a native Chukchi married to an American. He had given me some presents for her. During the three days that I spent in Nome the couple showed me around the town, until I flew to Anchorage because by road you do not go too far from Nome. The most interesting was the history related with that town, especially during the gold rush, the history of the three Lucky Swedes that found gold, or the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The visit to the didactic museum of history is a must. It is called Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum. This excellent museum shows all kind of artifacts since the times of the gold rush, as well as information of the dogs that made the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, plus the dog Fritz stuffed. It was in this museum that I learnt that Wyatt Earp had opened a Music Hall in Nome.
2008 Aug by Joe Jackson
Salmon fishing trip. Drove north to Peter's Creek region, west to Soldotna, and south to Seward. Swung by Exit Glacier. |
2005 Jul by Cameron Rogers
One of the few US states I've spent very little time in (silly since it borders my home province of BC). I walked across the border into Hyder Alaska, population about 100 from Stewart, BC. The US does not maintain any kind of border post here because you can't go anywhere by car from Hyder. However, the Canadians have a little portable building and one border guard. The guard told me that regularly there are people who get stuck in Hyder without proper immigration documentation to get back into Canada. There are 3 or 4 bars, a little motel, and an interesting little orthodox church to see in Hyder. Many go to see the bears feeding on salmon in the river. Bald Eagle spotting is also popular.My friend, who had never visited the US, did not bring her passport, not thinking we might go into the US. She stood at the border looking wishfully at her chance to visit the US visa free. Later to make up for it I took her across another spot south of Hope, BC where you can legally enter the US, and return to Canada without passing through immigration. |
2005 Jan by Veikko Huhtala*
Alaska has always been near my heart. That was, because I am born in same small Urjala village where Hampus Furuhjelm was living and where is also his grave. Hampus was working in Russian Alaska 1859-1864 as governor. He was living in Sitka. At that time Sitka was capital of Russian America. One daughter of Hampus died in Sitka and was buried into Sitka cemetery. So I have been planning my visit to Sitka to check, if a tombstone of Ulrika Furuhjelm is still there. But because of my work this never was possible for me in summer time. Now it is possible and I will carry out this dream any time I want.|
Okay, five years ago we made a short visit of a couple of days to Anchorage with Alaska Airlines from Chigago. Because it was January the weather was very cold.Temperature was more than -30C !! So we had to stay in our hotel almost all time, because it was too cold to go for a walk outside. Of course we went to supermarket and other shops to buy some food, drinks and souvenirs.
In Anchorage I was wondering many ravens,which were living in town. In Finland ravens are very shy birds and are living only far in the forest.
I am now waiting my summer visit to Sitka and other parts of Alaska.
2004 Aug by J. Stephen Conn
Alaska, The Great Land, is unlike any other state in the United States . Immense in size, if |
There are no jurisdictions in
I have made three trips to