Tag Archives: Alaska

Alaska Time

A landslide across Lowell Point Road, outside Seward, Alaska

A landslide blocked Lowell Point Road in Seward over the weekend. Workers began to cautiously clear the road on Monday. Lowell Point is outside Seward, and the narrow gravel road follows the shoreline of Resurrection Bay out to the point, where there are several campgrounds, lodges, resorts and B&B’s. It’s a pretty area, dominated by the beauty of Resurrection Bay. As of Tuesday, there were at least 40 cars trapped on the “wrong” side of the landslide. No word on how many travelers, who were trying to get out to Lowell Point, and now can not get to their destination.

The landslide view from the air

This post is less about the landslide, and more about giving yourself extra time when visiting Alaska, and accepting the unexpected.

This is Alaska, after all.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints online about the slide from tourists, and I know several housing accommodations have taken some flack for the road closure. No matter where you are in Alaska, and this includes Los Anchorage, you are never very far from wilderness. That is the main draw of the place.

Our infrastructure is minimal when compared with the Lower 48. Many communities have one way in and one way out. In my time in Alaska, I’ve probably seen it all: Roads closed from landslides, wash outs, beaver dams, ornery moose and/or grizzly, avalanche and wildfires. Flights delayed or rushed because of blizzards, volcanic eruptions, and pilot strikes. Sometimes, all you can do is take a deep breath, open a cold refreshment, and chill out for a day… or two…

We all have deadlines, but sometimes we find ourselves dealing with forces that have no interest in flight departures. So, if you visit Alaska, by all means, get out and explore the state, but leave the time planner at home. Enjoy both the view and the ride.


Sun’s Out; Bears Out

Nuggets by Jamie Smith


Totem House

Totem House, Hoonah, Alaska; circa 1915

White Pass Railroad to remain closed to Canada in 2022

The White Pass & Yukon Route locomotives in Skagway

In spite of relaxed border crossing restrictions between Alaska and Canada, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad announced last week that they would not cross the border. Since the White Pass is the largest tour operator in Skagway, the news was a blow to many.

The train will run to the top of White Pass, and then return to Skagway for 2022, unless restrictions are reduced further.

I have ridden the White Pass and Yukon Route twice: Once, after hiking the Chilkoot Trail, I returned to Skagway on the old steam locomotive #73 from Bennett Lake. One really has to plan the trip to get on board the 73, since at that time, it ran only once a month. The second time was a last minute decision to ride the route on their diesel locomotive round-trip out of Skagway to Carcross. The route runs through some beautiful country, and I know several tour operators that rely on The White Pass for their services. Whether it be B&B’s or bike tours along the Klondike Highway, all are disappointed in the decision.


It’s National Parks Week!

This safety tip is brought to you by the National Park Service

Remember: You don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun your hiking partner.


Seattle Center

The Mediterranean Inn, Seattle

I had a quick trip down to the Lower 48 before the chaos of summer hits. It was the first personal, leisure trip I’ve taken since the pandemic began.

I have been to Seattle many times, but this was the first time I stayed in Seattle Center. The Mediterranean Inn was my crash pad of choice. A very laid back, no rush, quiet sort of place within walking distance of pretty much anything one needed to do. My layover was hockey related: a Kraken game at the new Climate Pledge Arena. My walk to the rink took five minutes. The monorail is close by, as are a huge selection of restaurants. There was no shortage of pubs to choose from either.

The view from the Mediterranean’s roof top deck

The Inn has a small deck on the roof, with a great view of Seattle. I guess it is early in the year, and I was more than a little amused by the quantity of outdoor propane heaters, but even with those, I rarely found anyone else up there when I ventured top side.

Climate Pledge and the Space Needle from the roof

The flight to Seattle from Fairbanks was full to the overhead bins, but otherwise uneventful. My next leg was a bit more challenging. Alaska Airlines has suddenly had some issues. Growing too quick; a sudden influx of air travelers; a shortage of pilots? All of those things have led to a recent cancellation of flights. I was caught up in that mess, although compared to others, my situation was just an inconvenience.

I have traveled from Alaska long enough to know, if at all possible, give yourself extra time. By extra time, I mean days. Luckily, when I received the “Dear Passenger” letter from Alaska Airlines, I had the time to adjust my flight. I have been stuck in worse cities than Seattle.


“Eastern Part of the Brooks Range”

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Silver Gelatin Photograph

This stunning image is from Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. Taken in 2009 for his Genesis project. Such a powerful image of the Refuge.


Busy Airport Season?

Fairbanks International Airport

Like the cruise industry, the air travel industry is also predicting more tourists into Alaska, and especially, Fairbanks in 2022. It should be noted here that Fairbanks is not a major travel destination for Alaska. We tend to be a bit of an afterthought, which is fine by most of us.

The Fairbanks International Airport announced that several carriers will return to Fairbanks after a 1-2 year hiatus. United Airlines will return with a non-stop flight to/from Chicago. Delta Airlines will add additional flights with Seattle and Minneapolis. Alaska Airlines will bump flights to Seattle to 5; and service to Anchorage will increase to 8 flights.

Sun Country will return with Saturday flights between Fairbanks and Minneapolis, and Condor Air will return to Fairbanks after two years, with direct, weekly flights to Frankfurt, Germany. Air North will once again be flying between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, YT.

The list of small airlines and charters flying into remote Alaska is extensive.

Unfortunately, one can expect flight costs to soar.


Happy Seward’s Day

Mural painted on the vaulted ceiling of the U.S. Capitol, by Jeffrey Green

27 March 1964

Anchorage, Alaska after the 9.2 Good Friday Earthquake