Summer brings opportunities to explore Alaska by land, sea and air
The first summer I moved to Alaska, I felt like my head was on a swivel – I was a sunflower, following the daylight as it traveled across the sky and unable to rest, even when I was tired. I remember logging long days at the newspaper office where I worked on the Kenai Peninsula, and then calling friends to get a soccer game going that didn’t start until 9 p.m. Afterward, we’d gather at a local restaurant for a few beers and some pad Thai, and even after that was done, I still wasn’t ready for bed. One evening, long after the game was over but well before the sun set, we decided to go hiking after dinner. Still wearing my shin guards, we headed out to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and climbed the steep slopes to watch the sun dip into the horizon.
These days the fascination has waned a bit – after more than 20 years, one gets a little more accustomed to the long days. Still, there is nothing better than prolonged sunshine, warmth and a promise of fun adventures to be had. Staying inside does not seem to be an option, and unless the mosquitoes are fierce or there is rain in the forecast, the best place to be is in the face of the sun, absorbing all that Vitamin D for the coming winter.
This month, we share a few of our favorite adventures. Whether you prefer hiking on trails, paddling rivers or kayaks or biking down singletrack, there are plenty of ways to appreciate summer in Alaska. Our Making Tracks section highlights a few of the most accessible areas in which to explore, and the best ways to do it. One of my favorites it Eklutna Lake because with little effort I can be in what feels like wilderness but less than 20 miles from home. There are plenty of hiking trails, the lake for kayaking or canoeing, and mountain biking is more of a scenic stroll than a white-knuckled singletrack affair. Check out more details on this favorite destination on Page 13.
Also included in this month’s issue is the annual Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon official race guide. This annual event is a tradition in Anchorage, and with the help of the University of Alaska, it has remained one of the premier marathon and half marathon opportunities in the state. It’s also a Boston Marathon qualifier. It’s not too late to register for this solstice event – and what a way to ring in the summer. Even if you don’t participate in a race, be sure to check out the Health and Fitness Expo, set for June 15 and 16 at the Alaska Airlines Center. This fun event showcases all of the ways to stay healthy and enjoy the Last Frontier. And if you have little ones in tow, be sure to register for the free Healthy Futures Kids’ Mile (with a half-mile option) – at 7 p.m. June 15 at the Expo. All runners receive a race bib and finisher’s medal.