The colors might be changing but we still see sunshine.
Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Author Henry James hit the nail on the head with that one. So why not squeeze every last drop out of summer afternoons while you still have them? There will be time enough for fall colors and eventually fun in the snow. But there’s another shot at summer, and this is Alaska.
Alyeska gets the month in gear; the Mountain Bike Festival hits the bike park Sept. 6-7. Events range from chainless downhill to tight-rope rides as well as distance and wheelie competitions, a cross-country rally and – in seeming tribute to Slush Cup – a pond skim. Entry in the downhill events is a daily bike ticket (or a season pass, if you’ve got one of those), so downhill fun and a whole lot more is just $30. Nor is the event solely on the slopes; Whipsaws perform a free concert at the Sitzmark Saturday night.
If you crave the wind in your hair, but aren’t the best on two wheels, zip line tours may be a better option for you. Views usually reserved for ravens and eagles are found on courses in Talkeetna and Seward. Denali Zipline Tours sends adventurers along routes with amazing mountain views outside Talkeetna. Their sister company Stoney Creek Canopy Tours flies through the forest near Seward.
Few things conjure up summer in Alaska quite like sparkling glaciers and waters filled with wildlife, and there’s still time to enjoy a day cruise. Boat trips out of both Whittier and Seward have something to offer well into – and in some cases all the way through – September. Check out Major Marine Tours and Phillips Cruises and Tours for Whittier for Prince William Sound, or Kenai Fjords Tours and Major Marine out of Seward for cruises into the national park. If you – ahem – miss the boat this month, you can still get out with operators like Lazy Otter Charters after that.
The Alaska Railroad offers year-round service, and its summer schedule stretches through the middle of the month. There are plenty of destinations aboard the railroad; head out to scenic Hurricane, paddle at Spencer Glacier or just sit back and watch the changing colors of the Chugach roll past. Make sure you climb aboard before Sept. 15. After that, the winter schedule starts up for trips north to Hurricane and Fairbanks.
Why rush into the next season? If you’ve spent the summer pining for outdoor adventures, this is your last chance. If you’ve lived vicariously through other folks who came up to visit, it’s time to catch up with their exploits. Time outside now is sure to warm your memory no matter the season.