The Aleut people called Alaska “Alyeska”, which means “the great land”. If you visit Alaska today, you would be likely to agree. Those who visit can’t help marveling at the exotic wildlife, magnificent mountains, glacier-carved valleys and steep, rocky coastline. And after they spend several days encountering one wonder after another, they marvel at just how much of this special place there is to see. Alaska ignites the imagination of visitors and inhabitants, it is a land blessed with uncountable natural wonders. The thrill of seeing a brown bear scrambling up a mountain valley or watching ice calve off a the face of a five-mile-wide glacier are experiences of natural beauty that permanently change your way of thinking.
The sheer size of Alaska is hard to imagine: It is one-fifth the size of the rest of the United States. The town of Barrow on the northern Alaska coast is more than 1,350 miles north of Ketchikan (the same distance from New York City to Miami). Acreage aside, Alaska is large in lots of other ways: It has six distinct climatic regions, the tallest mountains, the biggest glaciers, the most plentiful fishing and the wildest nature preserves on the continent.
With such abundance, it’s no wonder that more and more travelers visit Alaska each year, particularly aboard cruise ships. Because of this heavy traffic, some towns in southeastern Alaska and such attractions as Denali National Park and Portage Glacier can seem a bit overrun at times. It must also be noted that Alaska isn’t cheap: Per-day expenses in remote parts of the state are comparable with those in New York City or London. Despite all that is said about astronomical prices and as hordes discover each summer it’s possible to see Alaska on a comparatively tight budget. The cost is well worth it a bargain, in fact given all that you’re going to see.
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