Have you ever taken an Alaskan cruise? If not, it’s time to brave the cooler temperatures for a once-in-a-life-time experience.
BY PHILL FELTHAM
Alaska, northwest of Canada, won’t necessarily be a top-10 location for many travelers who prefer warmer temperatures. Terribly long, cold winters leave Canadians questioning the logic of visiting a locale with a cooler climate during the summer.
Alaskan summers are mild (average 60°F to 80°F). but temperatures differ greatly during the span of a day. In other words, bundle up and dress warm. However, Alaska, U.S.’s largest state, offers travelers once-in-a-lifetime experiences to those who can brave the cooler temperatures.
Before you disregard Alaskan travel, take a minute or two to check some of the attractions that Alaska has to offer.
KATMAI NATIONAL PARK
Many travellers come to Alaska to view bears leave disappointed because they never catch a glimpse of these private animals. A visit to Katmai National Park gives travelers an increased opportunity to take a photo of a bear in action. A friendly word of caution: stay distant from any bear for your own safety.
THE AURORA BOREALIS
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the northern lights, appears more often during the winter months. However, the Fodor’s Travel Guide states that these brilliant light displays seem to appear without rhyme or reason.
Jim Siebert, the Fox 26 chief meteorologist wrote in Electricity Today Magazine that a collision between electrically charged particles from the sun and the earth’s atmosphere cause the brilliant lights of the Aurora Borealis to display above the North Pole. Visitors can best view the northern lights in Alaska when no nearby city light and little moonlight are present.
Since ice and water surround Juneau, the capital of Alaska, travelers can only reach the city by boat or plane. Fodor’s Travel Guide suggests a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier via plane is the best method to appreciate this experience. The 12-mile-long colossal glacier is situated outside the capital in plain sight. In fact, the glacier and downtown Juneau are also roughly 12 miles apart.
Alaskans call this large mountain by its original name, Denali. However, by whatever name, Mount McKinley is the highest peak in North America (20,320 feet). Fodor’s Travel Guide states that most locations within 100 miles are adequate viewing areas. Additionally, Mount McKinley has its own weather patterns due to its immense size. At times, clouds obscure the mountain from sight, which causes disappointment for many travellers hungry to view Mount McKinley. Unfortunately, the best viewing time is during the winter months.
DENALI NATIONAL PARK
Many visitors to Alaska flock to Denali National Park. Travelers can experience the area by saddle safari, hiking, rafting, flightseeing tours, or bus trip. The first 15 miles of Denali National Park is paved road, and subsequently, travelers must continue their journey via bus or their own two feet. Do not miss the opportunity to experience Denali National Park during your summer visit.
Travelers who are visiting Alaska during the summer should pack plenty of layers of clothing. Fodor’s Travel Guides suggests light gloves, a stocking cap, and a waterproof coat can help improve the enjoyment factor for travelers on glacier cruises. Dense clouds of mosquitoes and other biting insects are a problem during the summer months. Fodor’s recommends packing mosquito repellent with DEET. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors—particularly on Kodiak Island—purchase head nets at your local sporting clothing and equipment stores. iT!