Outdoor Adventures & Recreation
To the adventurer, mystery is a large empty place on a map. The Alaska Peninsula is so vast and sparsely populated that river drainages and mountain peaks are often unnamed. To some this is an invitation to come. But traveler beware; maps can be deceiving. Foot travel in Alaska is fraught with hidden hazards; few trails exist for getting around. At a distance the tundra looks easily traveled, but crossing the spongy surface can be an ankle breaker. Drainages are often choked with impenetrable alders. Still those empty places sing their siren song. To those that can’t resist the call, careful planning can make your trip a great experience.
For the inexperienced tundra trekker, consider hiring an air taxi to take you to any of the thousands of small lakes in the region and establish a base camp for day hikes. It is difficult to capture in words the exhilaration of touching down on the surface of a nameless lake, unloading your gear, and then watching the float plane disappear into the distance. You realize that you are alone in a wilderness untouched by the ages. You can take the time to learn the tundra, follow game trails, and experience the variations of weather without needing to click off miles that looked easily achievable on a map.
The only way to get a sense of the incredible size of the Great Land is to see it by air. Flight seeing can take you across tundra, through mountain passes, and over volcanoes to remote spots with scenery that leaves you breathless. You can hike for days and never see a moose or a caribou but one flight seeing trip can show you wildlife in numbers that are difficult to count. Flight seeing can be expensive, just the cost of aviation fuel can be a hefty chunk of change. Still, there is nothing closer to the mythical magic carpet in Alaska that a small aircraft on a flight seeing trip. Visit a steaming volcano, a wild river choked with salmon, the Bering Sea coast, mountain peaks to closely packed they are defined as a frenzy… go flight seeing.
Rafting & Kayaking
The pace of nature in Alaska is hectic. Summers are short and everything tries to take advantage of the long days. On the other hand, nature works its magic at times so slowly we hardly notice. There is a way you can appreciate the speed and the slowness all on the same trip. Just get in a raft or kayak and travel at river speed. In the slow spots you can fish, take pictures, and just watch the scenery go by. When the current picks up, get ready for whitewater adventure! Among the numerous lakes and rivers that are great for rafting or kayaking, the region boasts five nationally designated Wild & Scenic Rivers:
Alagnak Wild River
Visitors to the Alagnak Wild River experience a wilderness of captivating landscapes, abundant wildlife, and cultural heritage. Meandering down the braided river, you may discover a proud bald eagle perched atop a spruce tree in the boreal forest, gaze at a moose browsing above the river bank in the wet sedge tundra, or perhaps encounter a brown bear feasting on spawning salmon-a critical link to the Alagnak River ecosystem.
Lying entirely within the Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, you can float the river from inside the caldera of a volcano to the ocean past spectacular wildlife and geology. The river moves swiftly through a narrow gorge, and large rocks demand precise maneuvering. Only the most experienced rafters contemplate this float trip that takes three to four days to complete.
The “Chili” River originates at scenic Twin Lakes and flows through Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The river features long stretches of swift water, outstanding fishing, and magnificent mountain vistas.
The Mulchatna River, originating in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, flows through astonishingly scenic tundra. Its headwaters are Turquoise Lake, and it is flanked by the glacier-clad Chigmit Mountains to the east. The Mulchatna Caribou Herd frequents the area.
Originating at the foot of glaciers in a mountain pass, the Tlikakila is a braided glacial river located entirely within the Lake Clark National Park. It flows through 10,000-foot high rock and scow-capped mountains and perpendicular cliffs to empty into Lake Clark.
Skiing is one of those off-season activities that are little known outside of the area. The region offers some of the best wilderness cross country skiing to be found anywhere. Winter is the time of year to see our wildlife in its winter coat. Fox, Lynx, and Ptarmigan can be seen on a winter trek. Wolves and wolverine await to be spied by the most fortunate adventurers. Take a trip into the wild silence!
What could be more pleasant than walking the breezy beaches of Bristol Bay, searching for special treasures that are waiting along the shores of the Bering Sea? Treasures such as a sunny beach flower, a bottle from a foreign ship, or ancient evidence of the passage of the mighty mammoth can all be found here.
A more common treasure is a Japanese glass float. These buoyant gems escape from fishing nets, travel the world’s oceans and frequently end up on the beaches of Bristol Bay. Beach combing can be done any time, but many prefer periods of low tides when it is possible to land small aircraft on the sandy beaches. A shuttle from an air taxi allows you to explore beaches away from beach walkers near villages. Check with the listed air taxi operators for recommendations on places to explore and timing your trip with the tides.
Source: Bristol Bay Visitor Guide