Alaska: Into the Wild Historical fact: The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for 7.2m dollars (2 cents per acre) in 1867. After our trip, I’m thinking it was a pretty good deal! Alaska is full of wildlife, nature, and serenity. Plus gold and oil! 😉 We were only able to cover a tiny portion of this huge state (fun fact: If Alaska were a country, it would be the 19th largest in the world!), yet we still experienced some of the true wilderness it had to offer. After landing in Anchorage after a looong flight, we rested at this lodge on our way to Seward. There’s almost no bad scenery in Alaska. This is Summit Lake, right next to the lodge. Seward is the port city from which boat tours leave for glacier and sea wildlife viewing. We must’ve disturbed this cute sea otter, who was comfortably chilling (water is ice-cold!) in the bay. Sea lions hanging out on the rock. Common murre (looks like a penguin) and puffin (the one with orange beak and feet). Seals resting on the rocks. Bonus points if you can count how many there are. Iceberg! Unlike Titanic, our boat was able to maneuver around this one. 😛 A close-up view of Aialik Glacier. Listening to icebergs calving (small portions breaking off from the glacier) is out of this world. Alaska is famous for its salmon, and this is the time when they swim (and sometimes jump!) upstream to reach a safe place for spawning. View of Tern Lake. A huge brown bear in Alaska Wildlife Refuge. They can weigh up to 750kg (as large as polar bears). This is the view from Seven Glaciers Restaurant, accessed by the tram from Alyeska Resort. The glaciers in the background are two of the seven glaciers in this valley. After reaching Talkeetna, we took a ride up the mountain. Landing on a glacier was a cool experience. We were lucky enough to get a clear view of the peak of Mt. McKinley. This mountain has the largest vertical rise in the world: about 6km (although Mt. Everest has a higher peak). The Alaskan Range looks surreal above the clouds. This is a glacial river. These little bright blue lakes are everywhere. Another pretty shot from the plane. This cabin was very interesting. It was in the middle of nowhere, and literally off-the-grid, with all of its power generated by solar panels on-site. Our only neighbors were the owners. Pretty much everywhere is picturesque in Alaska. This is the morning view of Otto Lake from the lodge we stayed at close to Denali National Park. This shuttle bus is the only way to see Denali National Park. It’s great that they’re trying to preserve wildlife in the park. On our way in the park. Arctic Ground Squirrel: as you can see, it’s very difficult to capture a clear shot of this animal. We saw a squirrel devour one of these mushrooms in a matter of seconds. We were told that these animals have a weird way of hibernating in the winter, so they need to eat as much as possible to survive. Willow ptarmigan: state bird of Alaska (whatever that means :P). Apparently, its color turns fully white in the winter. Moose: the largest animal in the deer family. Dall sheep: to find these, you need to look for white spots at the top or edge of the mountain. Brown bear: the ones in Denali are mostly vegetarian, since there is no salmon around. Due to this, they are much smaller than the brown bears in the southern part of Alaska. Mother and cub having some quality time. Mother bear teaching her cub to use trees for itch relief. 🙂 Caribou (North American name for reindeer): these beautiful animals are hired by Santa Claus for logistics. 😛 This gives perspective on how large the caribou antlers are. It’s really heavy — I could barely lift them all the way up. Predator and prey in the same frame, although the bears here will rarely hunt adult caribous. View of Polychrome Mountain — its name comes from the many colors. Panoramic view of Mt. McKinley. Aurora Ice Museum: they first built the exterior from ice as well, but that didn’t last a single summer. 🙂 The famous ice bar inside the museum, serving drinks from ice cups. All ice sculptures were made by a couple, who have won many awards over the years. There’s excellent sound acoustics inside this igloo. Chena Hot Springs: We were still cold from the freezing Ice Museum when we stepped into these hot waters. Fairbanks was the last and northernmost place we visited. It is on longitude 65, almost within the Arctic Circle. Winter temperatures reach -70C! This is the “Museum at the North”, located inside the campus of Univ. of Alaska at Fairbanks. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here... Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email (required) (Address never made public) Name (required) Website You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. 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