Through July and August, fireweed seems so ubiquitous in Alaska it’s often said it should be our state flower. The plant is so prolific in Southcentral that just seeing a picture of fireweed in bloom during the depth of winter will bring me a flood of summer memories. The purple flowers start blooming from the base and work their way up to the plant’s tip, and every sourdough knows the story that when the bloom reaches the top, it’s only six weeks ‘til winter. That groundhog in Punxsutawney may have us covered with the forecast for spring, but without fireweed, we’d be lost in the autumn. Luckily for Alaskans, fireweed has become more than just a gauge spelling the end of our summer play and a dive into winter. Its ubiquity has spread to store shelves, where you can find it made into fireweed honey, jelly, syrup, tea, and even…
A sunset at 2 a.m. over Kotzebue Sound. Courtesy Land of the Midnight Sun I always get questions about sunlight when I tell people I’m from Alaska. I have my typical spiel about our vast state, and how it’s different depending on the latitude. In Southcentral we must squeeze the most out of a meager five hours of sunlight in the depths of winter. But come summer, it’s light all day. The sun still sinks behind the mountains, but there’s enough light to function. Occasionally, someone will ask me how I sleep, and I explain that I’m conditioned. As a kid my mom would open our shades sometime in April and wouldn’t let us close them until fall. Sleeping through the midnight sun just became a way of life. But there’s not much sleeping this time of year anyway. Every Alaskan who just suffered months of darkness knows that winter…
Saddle up for an emerging adventure sport
Alaskan hunters help those who have questions HUNTERS JOHN WHIPPLE AND CASEY DINKEL pride themselves on rugged DIY-type hunting adventures that take the duo on epic trips for goats on the south shores of Kodiak or brown bears on the remote island of Unimak. Both consider themselves fortunate to live in a state that allows for such opportunities, and both want other people to experience the same joy and fulfillment they get from those hunts. “We want to reach out to people in the lower forty-eight and show them that Alaskan adventures are very doable,” says Dinkel. 60th Parallel Adventures: “Barren Ground” – Coming Fall 2015 from 60th Parallel Adventures on Vimeo. That goal is accomplished through 60th Parallel Adventures, a company the friends founded in 2014 that features entertaining and educational content put together with photos and videos on their hunts. They cover hunting costs by acting as brand…
Whales, sea lions, and otters are the only traffic for Glacier Bay rangers
PARK RANGERS ARE ON EVERY CRUISE SHIP THAT TOURS GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK, but the massive ships don’t stop when they power into the bay, which means rangers have to board the boats while they’re still pushing through the water.
Don’t blink or you’ll miss it
THE HARSH ENVIRONMENT of the cold, windswept Aleutians keeps little foliage other than grasses from growing on the island of Adak, which is home to the westernmost city in the United States.
Don’t leave Alaska without drinking (at least some of) these beers
Tips for success from Mark Kelley
MARK KELLEY IS A JUNEAU-BASED PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER who has been shooting in Alaska for more than 40 years.
Locals witness strange creatures in Iliamna
Tales of lake monsters have circulated among people living on the shores of Iliamna, Alaska’s largest lake, for generations, and some residents advise not to get on the water in a red boat or wearing red clothing.