8Great: Things To Do in Alaska

8Great: Things To Do in Alaska

By Christine Gordon

Alaska, the U.S. state that drums up imagery of the great outdoors–snow capped peaks, floating ice blocks in the sea, dog sledding and miles of towering Quaking Aspens and White Spruce trees as far as the eye can see. Rugged and majestic, Alaska boasts postcard perfect views for visitors, who dare to get out and explore it.

Our guest writer, Christine headed on her Alaskan adventures this fall, and came up with her 8Great Alaska list of must do experiences.          

1. Fly into Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, and run don’t walk to the Anchorage Museum where fascinating ancient native artifacts include a hand-sewn parka made from … are you ready … seal intestine.

2. Rent a room at the haunted Historic Anchorage Hotel and read the guest book descriptions of things that go bump in the night (always gently). Sightings are so frequent that the hotel keeps a ghost log in, which guests have shared their encounters while staying there.

3. Opt for Gold Star Service to Denali National Park aboard the Alaska Railroad, a train with a top that affords 360 degree views of wildlife, including grizzlies, trumpeter swans and Moose munching in the tall grasses of jade-green meadows.

4. In Denali drink in the cool spruce air from your own private cabin at the Grande Denali Lodge.

5. Take flight to Juneau for an up-close view of blue poppies at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum, imbibe and feast on Juneau Food Tours’ A Tour with Taste, a nearly three-hour tour and historic walk and end your day with a trip on the Mount Roberts Tramway for breathtaking views of the Chilkat Mountains.

6. Next, board the Alaskan Dream Cruises’ Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer and thread your way through sky-blue icebergs and ice sheets. Marvel at the Taku Glacier and its many glacial waterfalls, pools and ice arches.

7. Still craving more sea-time? Set out to whale watch with Captain Shelby’s all-female 49 Fathoms’ This storybook boat tour unfolds live illustrations of black bears, bald eagles perched atop 100-foot spruce trees and salmon breaching the icy waters to break their egg sacs (so theory holds).

8. From Juneau take a short flight to Sitka and wrap up your adventure with this charming town by the sea’s unspoiled beauty, museums and hiking trails.

For more information, visit Travel Alaska

Photos: Christine Gordon/Travel Alaska/Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center 

Christine Gordon is a food and travel writer. Her current projects include an around the world audio series for NPR affiliate Journeys of Discovery With Tom Wilmer, chronicling the efforts of indigenous people’s to protect their at risk languages. Check out her site here.