Alaska (ula′sku) is the largest in area of the United States but third smallest (exceeding only Vermont and Wyoming) in population, occupying the northwest extremity of the North American continent, separated from the lower United States by Western Canada. It is bordered by Yukon Territory and British Columbia, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and Chukchi Sea, and the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
The U.S. bought Alaska from Russia in October 1867 for 7.2 million dollars, or two cents per acre. Many Americans thought this was a waste of money. The name Alaska is of Russian origin an Aleutian word, Alakahak, for "peninsula," "great lands,""
Alaska longest river, the Yukon, runs 2,300 Miles, 1,400 in Alaska and 900 in Canada. There are more than 3,000 rivers in Alaska and over 3 million lakes. The largest, Lake Iliamna, encompasses over 1,000 square miles.Of the nation′s 20 highest mountains, 17 are in Alaska. Mount McKinley (20,320 ft) in the Alaska Range is the highest in North America.
Alaska Extremes: the coldest day ever recorded: -62.2 degrees C at Prospect Creek Camp, Jan.23, 1971. The hottest day: 37.8 degrees C at Fort Yukon, June 27, 1915. The deepest single snowfall ever recorded in Alaska: 62 inches, Thompson Pass, Dec. 7, 1955.
Alaska has more than 5,000 glaciers covering 100,000 square miles. There are more active glaciers and ice fields in Alaska than in the rest of the inhabited world. The largest glacier is the Malaspina at 850 square miles. Five percent of the state, or 29,000 square miles, is covered by glaciers.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, know as the Last Great Race on Earth, attracts mushers worldwide for the Anchorage to Nome trek, about 1,100 miles.
Cruising onboard a United Airlines Boeing 777, from London to San Francisco, we where treated to a Grand view of snow capped Greenland. Our 11 hours flight went smoothly and after a 3, 5 hours layover at San Francisco, we boarded another United B757 flight to Anchorage International Airport. We arrived late headed straight to out hotel: the Puffin Inn which was just 5 minutes away by car.
Anchorage is located in south-central Alaska, nestled between the Chugach Mountains to the east and the shoreline of the Cook Inlet to the west. The town was originally settled in 1915 at the mouth of Ship Creek to support railroad construction. Anchorage has grown steadily to become the business, cultural and distribution center of Alaska. Nowadays nearly half of Alaska′s 600,000+ residents live in Anchorage. The municipality of Anchorage stretches nearly 50 miles from Eklutna to Portage Glacier, covering almost 2,000 square miles - roughly the size of Delaware. Anchorage boasts a great selection of attractions, restaurants and shopping, so be sure to plan a visit to the city as part of your Alaska vacation.
While walking through the streets I can′t stop thinking about its rural feeling. It′s never busy and since my first visit in 1987 the city hasn′t changed much.
Fairbanks is located in the heart of interior Alaska 575 km north of Anchorage, about eight hours by car. Fairbanks is Alaska′s second largest city with over 80,000 residents in the greater Fairbanks area. Located near the confluence of the Tanana and Chena Rivers, the town was originally founded in the early 1900′s as a trading post serving stern-wheeler riverboats and early gold prospectors. The town still plays an important supply role in Alaska due to its proximity to the Arctic region and North Slope oil fields. Fairbanks typically enjoys long sunny days during the summer months, with temperatures frequently passing the 70 degree mark.
Next to the airport you can find a typical American style restaurant, called Pikes Landing, and it has an outside porch overlooking the river. When the sun is out it′s great to sit outside while drinking a cool dark brown Amber beer. Nearby is a candy shop, which houses a DC-6 nose on its roof, called the Lucky Duck!
The moose population in and around Anchorage has remained high since the 1970s, with about 1,900 animals in the entire Municipality (including Chugach State Park) in 1998. In the Anchorage Bowl, moose are also abundant, with approximately 200-300 in the area year-round, and about 700-1,000 moose in the winter. They provide nice viewing opportunities, but also create the potential for conflicts.
Our holiday was not only fun and pleasure-hahahah. For our hobby we organized several photo shoot with the local cargo companies. In anchorage we visited Northern Air Cargo who still flies the vintage Douglas DC-6, but not for long. We chartered a Trans Northern Douglas Super DC-3 and landed at Palmer Airport. The last picture is your truly taking it easy nearby the Portage Glacier enjoying the splendid nature.
Flying back on an early morning United Airlines B757 flight to Chicago I had my last glimpse of Alaska, the snow capped St.Elias mountain range!