50th Anniversary of The Great Alaska Earthquake – Sites to Visit

sb-earthquake-park-monumentMarch 27th marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake, the strongest earthquake to ever hit North America. This 9.2 magnitude quake was the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded, the first being the 1960 earthquake in Chile. The earthquake struck at 5:36pm and lasted over four minutes. Strong aftershocks were felt throughout the South-central Alaska region for days and weeks after the initial earthquake.The earthquake itself was responsible for 15 deaths and 124 people perished as a result of subsequent tsunamis. The tsunami death toll includes 5 killed in Oregon and 13 killed by the tsunami in California. (more…)

Guided Hikes in Alaska

k2-ultimateIf you are like most independent visitors coming to Alaska, you are seeking active experiences that thrust you into Alaska’s scenic wilderness. As a result, one of the most popular activities you may take part in are guided hikes into Alaska’s backcountry. Alaska Tour & Travel offers guided hiking tours in Seward, Girdwood, Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali State Park, and at Denali National Park and the great news is that when surveying our past clients, we discovered that the guided hikes we offer were among the highest rated tour experiences included in packages. Hiking allows you the opportunity to “get off the beaten path” and to experience Alaskan destinations which even many Alaskan’s haven’t seen. Typically, guided hikes tend to have a smaller maximum number of participants to reduce the impact on the environment. Your safety is always the priority on any professionally guided hiking excursion. Most guiding services keep the guide to hiker ratio to less than six to one, which allows participants to not only to get to know their guides personally, but also provides the guide the opportunity to provide more interpretation about the ecosystem.

Alaska’s wild expanses result not having any two hikes being alike, which is terrific for avid hikers who want to include multiple hiking trips in their trip. Difficulty wise, hikes range from novice hikes which are little more than a walk through the woods to more technical hikes which require participants to suit up with glacial gear while hiking on accessible glaciers. Hikes also range by the means of transport it takes to “being able to hit the trail” – whether the trail head is just outside a lodges front door, a short van ride, a ride on a tram up to the top of a mountain, or by helicopter or float plane to a remote location all of these options are available. Here are a few hikes to consider including in a travel itinerary.

Anchorage

chugach-hikingRising to the east of the city of Anchorage are the Chugach Mountains and one of Alaska’s best state parks – the Chugach State Park. The Anchorage Day Hike provides visitors a chance to explore an alpine environment with beautiful vistas of the Chugach Mountains, Cook Inlet, and on a clear day view as far away as Mt. Denali. Transportation is included, and the name itself doesn’t do the experience justice as the best thing that the Anchorage Day Hike does is quickly transport you away from the city up into one of Alaska’s most accessible and scenic wilderness areas. Our staff loves spending time in Chugach State Park and the views from our office of the Chugach Mountains beckon us often into the mountains during summer months. Each Anchorage Day Hike is tailored to your fitness level and transportation is included from Anchorage hotels. (more…)

Kayaking Resurrection Bay with Sunny Cove

This past weekend as my family and I headed to Seward I decided that since it was such a nice evening I would try my hand at sea kayaking.  I have only been sea kayaking once out of Valdez with my other son many years ago when he was a teenager.  Ironically, I am here again trying sea kayaking with my younger son who happens to be 16 years old as well.  We decided to take the evening adventure at 6pm with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking company departing from Lowell Point.  Lowell Point is just a few miles away from the small boat harbor and at the start of the Caines Head State Recreation Park trail area. (more…)

Seward Alaska Day Trip from Anchorage

I have defined many words in my years of high school. Ranging from ascorbic and acidic, to picaresque and punctilious, I have covered a great breadth of vocabulary. But if I were to be put to the task of defining Alaska, I would be forced to fall short. In a task too daunting, I would simply be forced to write “You must see for yourself.” After exploring Alaska on a recent day trip to Seward, I saw that it could not be simply defined through its glaciers and mountains, or its wildlife and human life. I saw that it could only be defined through a firsthand experience.
 
Many people know the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but I would take it a step further in saying that an experience is worth a thousand pictures. Millions and millions of photographs exist that depict many aspects of Alaska. But until a person truly experiences Alaska, those pictures will not have any real meaning. Take a picture of a breeching orca, if you are amazed by that still candid, then the true experience will be like no other. To witness such a monstrous creature arc and spout, knowing it is outside all human control, is both breathtaking and new. For it is a natural show, nothing planned, but still much more than any scheduled event.

My girlfriend and I set forth on our day trip to Seward on an early summer morning from Anchorage. We had made the decision to take the Park Connection bus down, and the Alaska Railroad back later that day. Boarding the bus from the Egan Center in Downtown Anchorage, we left at around seven that morning. Because travelers often prefer to take the afternoon bus, our morning departure only had five or six other passengers on the bus with us. Through the first portion of our ride the driver had a good amount to say about Anchorage, Seward, and many of the places we were passing along the way. As we reached the more scenic portion of the drive, our driver allowed us to sit back in the comfortable seating and enjoy all that Alaska had to offer for us. It was almost surreal to watch the rivers flow by, accented by the bright green pine trees and vibrant wildflowers of every color. I soon drifted off to sleep, lulled by the beauty of Alaskan nature.  (more…)

The Iditarod

sousa-dogsled-teamSince I was a little girl I’ve enjoyed the sport of dog mushing as both a competitive musher and a spectator.  Every year one of the biggest dog mushing events in the world is held in Anchorage, Alaska. The ceremonial start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race begins on Fourth Avenue in downtown Anchorage on the first Saturday each March. The Iditarod Trail stretches over 1149 miles of Alaska’s vast wilderness. The true race begins a day after, on Sunday from Willow, Alaska. This is where you see the mushers dressed in their cold weather gear and their sleds fully packed with food and equipment for themselves, but mostly for the dogs. From my experience as a musher your number one priority on the trail is your dogs. Each dog is treated with great care to assure they are performing at their very best. Imagine what it’s like to care for not just one Olympic athlete but a team of 16. (more…)

Renown Glacier Cruise

sea-otter-kenai-fjordsWith family and friends who come to visit us in Alaska I always want to take them down to Seward, it’s small town Alaskan feel and beautiful setting is always a hit and is fun even for those of us who are Alaska residents. This year my family took our sister in law from Australia, new to Alaska, on a on a day cruise with Renown into Kenai Fjords National Park and it was amazing! We saw so much wildlife it was astounding. (more…)

Seward Windsong Lodge & The Resurrection Roadhouse

seward-windsong-lodgeLast weekend my boyfriend and I took a one night trip to Seward for a quick getaway from Anchorage and to see the Kenai Fjords National Park. We decided to get to Seward by driving the scenic route from Anchorage, since it’s an easy 2 ½ hour drive through the mountains and along the coast. We didn’t leave Anchorage until 6:00 pm since we both had to work that day but we had daylight the whole way down. When we got to Seward we had a very quick and easy check in at the Seward Windsong Lodge, and even though we were booked in a deluxe category room, they upgraded us to a suite category room (the suites are bigger and have a Jacuzzi bathtub). (more…)

Kayaking Kenai Fjords

Visiting Kenai Fjords National Park on a day cruise is an annual summer experience for my family and me. I’ve often seen kayakers while out in Kenai Fjords viewing the glaciers in Aialik (pronounced “eye-al-ick”) Bay and thought that kayaking amidst the icebergs, sea otters, and seals would be an awesome experience but one that I’d likely not do myself due to time and cost. Recently, Sunny Cove Kayaking has started a new Kayaking Kenai Fjords National Park tour that makes such a trip reasonable in cost and attainable to do in one day. (more…)

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