Alaska is one of the 50 states of the United States of North America. The state is located in the Western region of the US and has a population of 722,718 (2011). The capital is Juneau and the standard abbreviation for the state is AK.
With an area of 1,717,854 km², Alaska is the largest state in the United States.
Alaska borders no other US states. To the east, the state borders Canada.
To the north, Alaska is bordered by the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea, to the south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the west by the Bering Sea.
The Bering Strait, or Bering Strait, separates Alaska from Asia. The strait is also the connection between the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
The United States bought Alaska from Russia on April 9, 1867 for $7,200,072.
The state occupies the 800-kilometer-long Alaska Peninsula. This is a narrow coastal strip along British Columbia in Canada.
Alaska also includes numerous islands, such as the Aleutian Islands, the Kodiak Islands, Saint Lawrence Island, the Alexander Archipelago Islands, and the Pribilov Islands.
The Alaskan coast is incised with steep fjords. Parallel to the coast is the Coastal Mountains and the highly glaciated Alaska Range with Mount McKinley.
Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in North America with a height of 6,235 meters.
Inland lies the Wrangell Mountains. Wrangell-St. Elias is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Between the northern slope of the Coastal Mountains and the southern slope of the Brooks Range in the north stretches the Alaska Central Plateau.
The most important river in Alaska is the Yukon, which flows from the Canadian territory of the same name to the Bering Sea.
Climate and tourism
Alaska has a very humid climate in the southern coastal area. The central plateau has a continental climate. The Northern Plain has a polar climate.
Tourist attractions in Alaska include the national parks, such as Mount McKinley National Park and Katmai National Park, with the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes (volcanoes).
There are tidal glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park. National forests are Tongass and Chugach.
Besides the capital Juneau are a number of other cities in Alaska: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Badger, Knik-Fairview, College, Sitka, Lakes, Tanaina, Ketchikan.
According to countryaah.com, Alaska is divided into the following counties: Kalifornsky, Wasilla, Meadow Lakes, Kenai, Steele Creek, Kodiak, Bethel, Palmer, Chena Ridge, Sterling.
Kenai National Park – Nordic wilderness (almost) within reach
On the south coast of Alaska, southwest of Anchorage, lies the Kenai Peninsula. Much of the peninsula is a protected area, represented primarily by the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Kenai Fjords National Park. Both are among the most visited in Alaska due to their relatively good transportation and proximity to Anchorage.
As for the Kenai Fjords National Park, it is easily accessible by a road called Seward Highway, leading to the Exit Glacier. The park was established relatively recently, in 1980, and covers an area of 2,816 km2. It offers visitors amazing views of narrow fjords, steep rocks and glowing glaciers. Speaking of glaciers, the Harding Glacier Field (named after US President Warren G. Harding), one of the four remaining and the largest in the United States, encroaches on the park. You can partially walk it along a marked trail, about 13 kilometers long. It may seem small, but it will take 6 to 8 hours to overcome it. You’ll also find shorter and easier tours here, usually starting near Exit Glacier. It is not recommended to walk outside the marked routes, because the real wilderness awaits you there.
The local fauna is also a big attraction, especially the huge marine mammals (killer whales, weevils, porpoises, etc.), sea lions, otters, but also bears or moose and various species of birds. Most visitors observe life in the park from a boat during trips, starting in the 4,000-strong town of Seward (by the way, named after the man who arranged to buy Alaska from Russia). They are organized by different companies and you can choose boats bigger or smaller, but the program is very similar. You will not only see the animals, you will also get an impressive view of the bluish glaciers falling with a rumble into the water. Those who are more adventurous can also go kayaking in the waters of the fjords.
But let’s look – at least virtually – at the other area mentioned above. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is said to represent the whole of Alaska in a small way, with all types of Alaskan habitats and environments in its area. The above-mentioned Harding Glacier Field also covers the territory of this park. However, as the name of the park suggests, its main goal is to protect wildlife. These include elk, reindeer, black and brown bears, wolves, lynx, wild sheep and goats, as well as salmon and other animals. This natural wealth attracts a lot of visitors here every year – game photographers, sport fishermen, or people who simply want to enjoy the wild nature on hikes, boats, etc.
In general, the entire Kenai Peninsula is an excellent opportunity to transfer relatively easily and safely into the beautiful Alaskan countryside. You will see not only a typical landscape with bluish glaciers, but also various representatives of the local fauna, living in symbiosis. And as you say goodbye, you may be greeted by a majestic whale fin.