Denali National Park is a must-see. Private vehicles are not allowed too far into the park; they offer bus tours to the interior, lasting as much as about 8 hours. Reserve ahead of time if you can. On the trip be prepared to see an abundance of wildlife, some very close up, including Bears, Moose, and Eagles. Bring a camera. Be aware that you most likely will not see the top of the Denali Mountain - it has its own weather and is usually cloud-covered.
Homer is a fishing haven at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, southwest of Anchorage. A multitude of companies offer sport fishing trips lasting a few hours. It's a good chance to be out on the water in a scenic area, and as long as you're there, try to catch some fish. Be prepared to get up early. For our halibut fishing trip, the boat had about a dozen passengers. The crew provides the equipment, and hooks the (large) bait for you. Your pole is placed in a mount and you hang out waiting for a pull. Halibut are bottom-feeders, so the lines go a long way down, and always get tangled. When one gets a bite, several lines are tugged. This leads to a few people picking up their poles and weaving amongst each other until the lines are separated and you can figure out who has the fish on hook. After some heavy lifting you (hopefully) bring in the fish. Mark caught a 30- and a 40-pounder, meeting the legal limit of two fish. It was the end of the season, and those are actually much smaller than they were a few months earlier. The boating company freeze packs the fish and ships it home so that you'll be enjoying halibut for months to come.
For off-the-beaten-track, fly over to Nome and Kotzebue in the western part of the state. The latter is above the Arctic Circle. Tour group usually run a trip to the pair lasting a couple of days, but it is possible to visit them on your own. These are smallish towns living somewhat likes they did generations before, but are used to tourists. Nome has a Labor Day celebration which includes a rubber duck race (they dump 'em in a river and see who makes it to a bridge first) and a bathtub race down the street which is the finishing stretch of the Iditerod Dog Sled Race. Four-person teams pull a tricked-out bathtub containing another person down the street. Mark was roped into participating and his team finished fourth.
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To move, to breathe, to fly, to float To gain all while you give To roam the roads of lands remote To travel is to LIVE!
- H.C. Andersen
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