The thought of traveling to Alaska is often a chilling yet exotic adventure for many, and it can be an amazing place. Hopping on a plane to head out to this vast wilderland may be a bucket list destination for some, but others might just want to experience some of nature’s most interesting phenomena well before they are ready to retire. No matter what the reason for going, a visit to this beautiful part of the world can be an experience to remember for a lifetime. Some of the most fantastic natural sights and phenomena are just waiting to be seen and experienced.
1. Experience a sundog
No, it is not a food for those looking for an afternoon snack. A sundog is a natural phenomenon that occurs in Alaska due to the cold weather. As the sun gets ready to set, the ice crystals in the air can often be seen. There are reports of circles of silver or gold around the sun, and it can also be seen as a circular rainbow. Those who experience a sundog may never view a sunset quite the same, but it is an experience to remember for a lifetime.
2. Summer spawning
A love of nature can extend into many areas, and watching annual migrations of creatures has long been a fascination for some. Alaska has many streams that host a variety of fish that return to spawn the next generation, and they return as the summer sun warms the land. Sockeye salmon are one of the main attractions for visitors. They may look fairly dull when they swim through the ocean, but they can turn from silver to pink and even red as they swim back to the waters where they originally hatched. Watching them fight the current to regain their former home is just one of the natural wonders available to locals and tourists alike.
3. Time for dinner
The summer at the top of the world has more sunlight than many might expect, and it can create its own natural wonders. There are nearly 20 hours of sunlight per day during the short summer in this wild land near the North Pole, and it creates the perfect environment for growing vegetables that rely on sunlight. There have been plenty of vegetables grown to record sizes, but that is not the only benefit. The speed of growth due to the hours of sunshine tends to make the vegetables sweeter than normal. It adds a new and happier dimension to being told to eat up those vegetables before having dessert.
4. An exciting tidal bore
Visiting places to see nature in action can be a disappointment for many who have ready about tidal bores. Many of these are touted as water rising to great heights as the tide comes in find the slow rising to be more of a yawn. At the Turnagain Arm Tidal Bore, the action is live as the water coming in from the ocean meets the water coming out from the arm. Waves as high as a dozen feet in height can be the result, and watching it from Beluga Point is one of the best places to experience it. It might sound like an out-of-the-way destination, but it is just off the Seward Highway south of Anchorage.
5. The Alpenglow
Leave those rose-colored glasses behind when visiting Alaska during the cold season. The Alpenglow is a naturally occurring phenomenon during sunrise and sunset that turns the mountains a rosy color. It is due to the cold air and sunlight mixing to weed out the other colors of the spectrum, and it can be enjoyed by looking east in the morning and west in the afternoon at the plentiful mountains in many areas.
6. The aurora borealis
Many were the scoffers when the Northern Lights were first mentioned, but today they are a known and documented natural event that occurs at night. Fairbanks is said to be one of the best places to view it, and the odds are evenly split that nature will present this fantastic light show on any given evening.