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Best Nordic Centers in North America, Kincaid Park, Alaska

Best Nordic Centers in North America AlaskaDon't throw snowballs at the moose; they might just charge you. Follow that rule and you should enjoy your ski at Kincaid Park. When it comes to cross-country ski trails accessible to a major urban area, Kincaid is unsurpassed. Of course, your frame of reference has to be downtown Anchorage, Alaska.
 
It takes a mere 10-minute drive from downtown Anchorage to get to Kincaid's trails. If you don't have wheels, you can ski there along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail for an extended 15-kilometer warm-up.

ALASKA. Potter Marsh is the place to go in Anchorage to watch birds

Potter Marsh, Alaska Nobody wants to think about it. The days are still warm; the sun still lingers well into the evening.
 
But the birds of Alaska already have winter on their minds, and if you stop and look carefully, there are signs of their retreat everywhere.
 
Migration time is nearly here. And one of the best places to view it is Potter Marsh.
 
"Certainly, activity is starting to wind down, although there are going to be birds there for a couple of months at least," Stan Senner, vice president and executive director of the National Audubon Society's Alaska state office, said of the birds that arrived at the marsh just two months ago.
 
Then, Potter Marsh was bustling with the arrival of migrant loons, waterfowl, shorebirds and geese. It's probably one of the most productive places to view birds in the Anchorage Bowl. In the spring, it attracts such species as the Pacific loon, red-necked grebe, greater scaup, canvasback, Barrow's goldeneye and arctic tern. Tundra and trumpeter swans can be seen during migration, as well as various raptors.

Alaska's Brown Bear Viewing Areas & Opportunities

Bear in AlaskaWithout a doubt, the majority of visitors as well as Alaska residents hope to see brown bears, black bears, and grizzlies during their adventures in the great outdoors. The growing popularity of Alaska as a vacation destination is attracting increasing numbers of wildlife viewing enthusiasts from all over the world. But the most popular bear viewing areas in the state, aside from visiting Denali National Park, have reached their saturation point for the number of visitors who are allowed into these critically sensitive areas.

The Russians have come.. the real invasion - of Delta Junction, Alaska

Moose on the Road in AlaskaBy big city standards, there's not much traffic in Delta Junction anyway, but on Sunday mornings it's almost non-existent. Save for a gaggle of motorhomes parked at the “end of the Alaska Highway” visitor center, most of the town's vehicles fill one church parking lot or another. A handful of the churches are right off the Richardson Highway, which runs through the Copper River Valley from Valdez to Fairbanks. Also along the Richardson, at Delta Junction's center, are a couple of gas stations, a diner, a grocery store with a mini-mall attached and an espresso cart. But like a lot of small towns in Alaska, Delta actually spreads for miles in all directions. Getting to anyone's Delta home involves driving for what seems like forever down long, straight roads, with nothing but trees and fields along the way.

Alaska a hot topic among geophysicists

 Alaska Flower When a person searches the word "Alaska" in the computer abstracts for the recent fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, that person gets 265 hits. Many scientists are studying Alaska. Here's what some are finding:
 
• About 47 percent of ground underlying the Interior -- the land between the Alaska Range and the Brooks Range -- has permafrost beneath it, according to a survey done by Torre Jorgenson of Alaska Biological Research Inc. and Tom George of Terra-Terpret. In a Cessna 185, George flew at 5,000 feet above ground level east to west over the Interior and took digital photographs that Jorgenson analyzed for terrain features that suggested permafrost. In a preliminary count, Jorgenson also calculated that 7 percent of the Interior showed signs of thawed permafrost. In those areas, he saw evidence of thermokarst -- collapsed ground often filled with water or covered with mats of floating vegetation.

Of Autumn in McCarthy, Alaska

Autumn in McCarthy, AlaskaThe seasons of McCarthy, Alaska are dramatic and extreme in several ways. The amount of daylight ranges from twenty-four hours on the summer solstice to a mere peak at the sun as it sneaks over the horizon and immediately sets again on the winter solstice. Summer gives birth to thick jungle-like forests, springing forth with a rainbow of wildflowers, sweet wild berries, and the hum of mosquitoes; long full days of summer jobs, hiking, dinner parties, and sitting around campfires drinking beer and socializing; and rivers and creeks flowing full and fast with the melting of glacial ice and snow. In winter the bare trunks and branches stand starkly like rickety ladders reaching for the quiet sky; a blanket of sparkling snow covers the frozen waterways and earth; and the short days are spent tending to fundamental chores like splitting firewood, keeping the fire stoked, hauling water, refilling kerosene lamps; and visiting with the remaining locals over coffee and tea. Around and around the seasons cycle, and like a leaf shutter in a camera the darkness closes in only to open again to the brightness of summer.

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