Alaska ... a land of exquisite scenery, impressive wildlife, extreme wilderness and fantastic fishing.

With a land area of 586,412 square miles, Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas and about 1/5 the size of the entire contiguous United States. Once you leave the boundaries of the main cities (Anchorage being the largest, with around 225,000 people) you are suddenly in the "real" Alaska, full of snow-peaked mountains and scenic splendors. Moose and other large wildlife (bears, wolves, caribou) are commonly seen throughout the landscape, while the bald eagle is an everyday sight - either perched on logs or in trees, or flying overhead with broad sweeps of majestic wings.

Photo to the right - young bull moose,
taken in 1995, Sterling, Alaska

 

Alaska entered into statehood on January 3, 1959 as the 49th state. This is not only the largest state in the Union, but has the highest peak of North America - regal Mt. McKinley (known by locals as Denali). Although Alaska abounds with mountains - many being active volcanoes - Denali towers over them all at 20,320 feet high.

Denali Park is accessible by road, but the roadways in Alaska are few in number compared to other states and follow very scenic routes.

Travelers must watch carefully for wildlife crossing the highways!

Photo to the left - Denali (Mt. McKinley),
taken 1996 from the Parks Highway

Glaciers creep throughout the state, with some easily accessible (such as the Matanuska Glacier). The ice is an almost eerie color of blue. Many glaciers end somewhere along the 47,300 miles of Alaska coastline, or help feed the 3 million lakes that are scattered throughout Alaska. Water is never a problem, with more than 3000 rivers crossing the terrain. Waterfalls provide more scenic enjoyment.

Winters find the coastlines covered in icebergs, which sometimes fuse together to make giant platforms of ice.

Photo to the right: Matanuska Glacier ice,
taken in 2000

With the large range of temperatures in Alaska - record high of 100F (Ft. Yukon, 1915) and low of -80F (Prospect Creek Camp, 1971) - the wildlife learns to adapt to nearly any weather. This arctic fox lives in the far north areas and handles extreme sub-zero temperatures. Marine creatures such as seals, sealions, and whales live year-around in the icy waters.

Although snow covers the land for many months of the year, Alaskans are well-adapted to this country and have learned to enjoy the beauties of winter as much as those of summer - but always looking forward to the greenery of those fleeting summer months.

Photo to the left - Arctic Fox,
taken in 1994, North Slope of Alaska

All Photos on this page or linked to this page are Copyrighted.
All Photos except the "mountains" photo in the first paragraph were taken by Iliamna's Quest.
The "mountains" photo (Harding Ice Fields) was taken by I.Q.'s brother.

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