Alaska is a land of adventure—you never know just what you might run into.
Wildlife is a huge attraction for visitors. While most people are able to see several types of animals in Denali Park, some are fortunate enough to run into them (figuratively we hope of course!) on the roadside. One spot close to Fairbanks that moose frequent is Chena Hot Spring Road. The upper Chena meanders alongside the two lane road and offer a watering hole for moose. This picture was taken by my daughter on her way back to Fairbanks up the Richardson Highway—these bear were happy to pose while checking out the car passing by.
Wildlife is also a draw for hunters within Alaska as well as from around the country. My nephew hunts every fall and is usually able to harvest a moose to pack the freezer for the winter. This past month several of our guests were returning from remote sites where they were seeking caribou. Indigenous people will be embarking upon whale hunting soon so they can share their good fortune with their community.
If you are hunting for views of the aurora, this is the time to come; people are already flocking to Fairbanks for what looks to be a very promising winter of auroral activity. There are three “S’s” to know about this hunting adventure: (1) Skies that are clear (think seeing stars) are a must; (2) Sun spots that create a heighten amount of solar activity and (3) Staying awake and away from light interference (consider the phrase, “sleep is overrated”)
Many come to Alaska “hunting” a fresh start, new job, and make a new life. Alaska does not disappoint; with wide open opportunities to launch a business, many locals are proof that given the gumption to keep on trying you can reach your goals to succeed in entrepreneurial pursuits. My favorite example is one of a young upstart who began with a lemonade stand downtown, and retired as a Chancellor for the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The (practicing) yellow school buses rolling out down lanes lined with yellow tinged leaves on the trees. Couples walking dogs while donning light jackets or sweaters. The cool night air and reappearance of the moon and stars after a three-month hiatus. Crisp clear mornings as you breathe out with an almost visible breath. Honking geese flood the skies and the sandhill cranes stock the grounds at Creamer’s Field. Reports of snow on not-so-distant hills. We check the lows for the overnight temperature to see if it really is time to pull the last of the garden produce or bring in the hanging baskets.
We experienced record rains this summer, with resulting numerous rainbows, discussions of opening the Chena Lakes Flood Control dam, and preempted many canoe trips down the extremely high river.
Thankfully, some things do not change. We can count on the seasons, the sunrise, moon and stars, and the beauty of the seasons. This year, it seems the leaves are hanging on just a little bit longer. Many more people are out and about enjoying the sun and warmth it provides. Perhaps it all has to do with slowing down to notice? I’m not sure, but the things we have taken for granted have definitely come to the forefront.
Maybe Facebook isn’t your thing (too many cute puppies and baby pictures) but it seems my friends in Alaska are posting lots of wildlife: dead or alive.
While fall can mean the changing of seasons, and time to hurry and wrap up all those things on the to-do list you’ve been putting off, for some, there is a different call of the wild: the hunt.
Yes, it is hunting season. One of my North Slope guests was sharing with me the good news that her village had just harvested their first whale for the season. This apparently is great reason for rejoicing in the village as it will be shared by all. Some other guests hire guides to take them out to parts unknown to see their trophy. My brother-in-law posted “Clear Creek or bust” on his facebook page before heading north to Fairbanks to hunt a moose. And even my newest niece posted her “prize” catch of a moose.
My husband isn’t fond of hunting for moose, but he made two trips to Chitina to try to catch some red salmon. Two trips, because the first was a total bust: he and a couple of fellow employees got skunked and came back empty handed. (Water was too high, they claimed.) The second time was slightly more successful with a few fish, but he certainly didn’t limit out. Wouldn’t you know, a cheechako friend (that’s Alaskan for a newcomer) just posted on FB today that he and a couple other guys netted (no pun intended) 60 red salmon!
Fall moose crossing road
Then there are those who post other kinds of pictures of wildlife, like my brother; a picture of “traffic”–a moose crossing the road on the way to work. Or the same niece with pictures of dahl sheep in Denali Park. Fall is holding on tenaciously–fortunately for those who hunt. And those of us who procrastinate. Beautiful yellows on the birch trees that line the roadways. We are enjoying no frost here yet; very unusual for the third week in September, as we usually experience frost by the Equinox run.