Back in the day, Ketchikan, Alaska had a reputation for being a rough and tumble town. It was also known as the only place in Alaska where the fish and the fishermen came to spawn. Continue reading Final Boarding: Ketchikan→
We were disappointed to wake up to a rainy and overcast day on the morning we were supposed to hike in Tongass National Forest to see Mendenhall Glacier. It wasn’t long before we learned that it’s almost always raining in Juneau, Alaska because it’s located in a temperate rain forest – the largest in the northern hemisphere. Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt, over 17 million acres in the area (almost the entire Alaska Panhandle) has been set aside as the nation’s largest national forest. Walking through Tongass is like visiting another world.
The word of the day is glaciers. We were wowed and dazzled by the size and beauty of these dinosaurs in Glacier Bay National Park. According to our interpretive guide from the National Park Service, each glacier recedes at a different pace – this one loses 6-8 feet per day.
In 1794, George Vancouver was the first European visitor to the Alaska area who documented the view of Mount Denali (aka: Mount McKinley). His observations were short, sweet and to the point: Distant stupendous mountains. Well said, sir.
Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks, Alaska is a nature preserve dedicated to protecting habitat for migratory waterfowl. In 1966, the large fields of a former dairy were purchased by local residents, it has since grown to 2,000 acres.
I went to the North Pole. Santa has been living in Alaska my entire life and I had no idea.
I should preface this post by saying that I LOVE Santa. When I was a kid, I was encouraged to leave cookies for Santa and was always so excited when he would leave me a note in return. Some years, he would leave one of the cookies behind with a perfectly shaped bite taken out of it; this filled me with a wonder beyond my wildest imagination. Fast forward thirty plus years and you have a grown woman in Alaska who sees “North Pole” on the map. How could I have missed this? When my friend told me that not only did the North Pole truly exist but Santa was there with his reindeer, I had to go.
One of the hardest parts of vacation for me is being away from my little dog, but he’s having his own adventure with his new best friend – the house sitter. When she arrived, he greeted her with an enthusiasm and zeal that he reserves for those he truly loves, I knew he would be in great hands. After a quick check to make sure their vacation was off on the right foot, we headed into the Alaskan wilderness to find an adventure of our own.
And just like that – we opened our eyes and were in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Well, not exactly… it actually took nearly 11 hours of traveling and included two flights through four time zones. But this morning after a great night’s sleep, that is a distant memory. We have woken up in the northernmost city in North America and are ready to start our adventure.
Tucked in fragrant pine trees on the Minnesota-Canadian border in Voyageurs National Park, the Kettle Falls Hotel is only accessible by boat – just as it was for its earliest visitors a hundred years ago.