Think you know everything there is to know about Alaska? While the Last Frontier is filled with amazing wildlife of all sizes, glaciers the size of skyscrapers and breathtaking landscape as far as the eye can see, here are nine facts you might not know about one of the most intriguing places on the planet.
- The first inhabitants of Alaska arrived around 13,000 BC but the first discovery was credited to Danish explorer Vitus Bering (hence the Bering Strait) who led a Russian expedition in 1741. U.S. Secretary of State William Seward purchased the land from the Russians for the price of two cents an acre (roughly $7.2 million) in 1867. While many believed the land had nothing to offer and coined the purchase “Seward’s Folly,” the Gold Rush of the 1890s soon proved them wrong.
2. 75% of Alaska is inaccessible by car – all the more reason to see this great destination from the deck of a Regent Seven Seas Cruise ship or up close and personal with off-shore excursions.
3. While dog-sledding (or “dog mushing”) was once a major form of transportation, today it is the state’s largest sport. Every March, Alaska features a dogsledding event (Iditarod) that pits teams of 21 sled dogs across 1,000 miles of terrain and can last up to two weeks. The state dog is the malamute and known for its ability to pull heavy freight.
4. As the largest American state (and twice the size of Texas), Alaska also boasts 7 of the 9 largest national parks.
5. And speaking of size, the numbers say it all. Three million lakes, 40 plus active volcanoes, 100,000 glaciers, 33,000 miles of coastline and the only state to border two oceans (the Arctic and the Pacific).
6. Despite the freezing temps from October to April, Alaska does experience 70-degree temperatures in July and August, making summer the perfect time to visit. The state also holds the record for the nation’s coldest temperature of -80 degrees in the Endicott Mountains.
7. The state’s capital of Juneau is not accessible by road so it’s best to take a plane or ferry. And the residents like it that way.
8. Cod, salmon, hakes, shrimp, crabs, squid and Alaskan Pollack are the reason Alaska is known as fish country and the primary source of our seafood supply.
9. 17 of the top 20 highest peaks are in Alaska with Mount Denali being the highest. Once known as Mount McKinley, the third tallest mountain in the world is considered one of the most challenging climbs in the world due to the severe weather.
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