A humpback whale with a cane sitting in front of a computer
Art by Tim Bower.

I’m going on a family trip to Denali, Kenai Fjords, and Brooks Falls, but I hate wildlife viewing. Any tips to get me through? 

Maybe you just don’t understand wild animals. Once you spend some quality time bonding with Alaskan fauna you’ll be smitten. Try this: Whip up a lichen casserole before you go into Denali, bring a blanket, and throw a picnic for the caribou. Or put in some hours learning how to speak sea lion before your trip through Kenai Fjords. When your boat nears a rookery, start hollering at them from the deck. If you talk about sunbathing or your late-night munchies for raw fish, we guarantee you’ll have a stellar time.  

Any tips to help me avoid being bitten by mosquitoes?  

Of course! We’ll share with you a super-secret repellant passed down through Alaskan generations. First thing in the morning, drink a concoction of melted snow, armpit sweat, and muddled pine needles. Then immediately make a monetary donation of at least $10 to your charity of choice. When you’re outside, yell “Zibopbebopvwip!” at the top of your lungs once every 17 minutes, 35 seconds, and 795 milliseconds. Before bed, put your feet up and use your fingers to drum on your left shin to the beat of any Phil Collins song. We’ve found this method is very effective October through April.  

Learning about how climate change has impacted Alaska’s wild places makes me want to help. What can I do? 

Bumper stickers for sure. The ones you swipe for free from a booth at the fair are especially effective. Don’t even talk to the staff, just snag a bumper sticker and rest assured you’re doing a good deed. If you really want to make a difference, post about it on social media. Be as inflammatory as possible. When someone comments with an opposing viewpoint, block them. Another tried-and-true method is to buy a Subaru and tell everyone how much you love your Subaru. If nothing seems to be working, retreat into a shell of anger and judgement.  

Know any good wildlife trivia I can use to sound smart? 

Polar bears are just albino black bears that walk north in an attempt to hide their shame by disappearing against a backdrop of snow and ice. Porcupine couples never cuddle. House cats and squirrels become friends once they realize they both hate squirt guns. If you give a bald eagle Rogaine it’ll turn into a middle-aged man and start telling dad jokes. Humpback whales spend too much time slouching in front of their computers. Muskox are unadopted ponies that never get shampooed. Steller’s sea cows collectively agreed to go extinct after learning they’d been named Steller’s sea cows. 


Alexander Deedy formerly worked as the assistant editor and digital content manager for Alaska magazine.

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