Alaska – the Last Frontier
If you’re looking for spectacular natural beauty, take a trip up north to visit the Last Frontier. Eat reindeer sausages while fishing for salmon. Watch glaciers ‘calving’ (breaking away) as you sail into Glacier Bay. Experience the breathtaking Northern Lights. Take a kayak trip in the Misty Fjords, and watch for bears or whales. Sail past a multitude of islands in the beautiful Inside Passage.
The best, easiest and quickest way to see this huge state is from a boat and I was lucky enough to spend four summers floating around up there on a cruise ship (and getting paid for it, which is always a plus). It beats driving the 2,700 kms from Vancouver unless you REALLY like long road trips!
A few facts about Alaska :
• Largest of the US states
• Least densely populated state – only 1.03 people per square mile at the last count!
• Purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million. Bargain!
• Longer coastline than all of the other US states combined – but unfortunately tanning weather is short-lived.
Contrary to popular belief, you can get some very reasonably priced one-week cruise packages from Vancouver, especially at the beginning and end of the season – so May and September. The weather is usually better in September. Most cruises will stop at Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway, small communities left over from the Gold Rush at the end of the 19th century. Don’t expect 5 star hotels or gourmet food, but the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau and the Green Onion in Skagway were my favourite hang-outs. Juneau, the capital city (read ‘town’) can only actually be reached by sea (they run out of road a few miles out of town).
If you want to organize your own trip, the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System connects the main ports and a great way to get round. It’s generally cheaper than cruising and has been voted one of the Top 10 ferry rides in the world.
However you decide to travel around, put Alaska on your bucket list for a summer trip. Here’s a link to the official tourism board website.