A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 45°/61°/Partly sunny
Fairbanks: 46°/69°/Mostly cloudy
The round-rumped grizzly bear ambled toward us, and I swallowed a scream and the urge to run. It had 6 million acres of Denali National Park and Preserve wilderness in which to roam, yet somehow this bear had managed to find my backpacking partner and me, alone on the Savage River.
On and off the road system, Alaska is dotted with cities, towns and villages that give the state its real character.
Luck struck around 6:30 a.m. Sunday -- less than nine hours before the end of the 10-day Slam'n Salm'n derby -- when Robert Hayes hooked a 40.97-pound king salmon that made him the winner.
Summer solstice marked the beginning of the warm season last week, but two Anchorage fly-fishermen discovered Monday morning that winter still lingers deep in the Chugach Mountains.
Village once had Army telegraph station; was shaken in 2002 quake
Mentasta Lake, Alaska, is on the west side of Mentasta Pass, six miles off the Tok Cutoff of the Glenn Highway. It's 38 miles southwest of Tok Junction.
Mentasta Lake is an old, primarily Athabaskan community whose population of about 140 is three-fourths Alaska Native. The village depends heavily on subsistence hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering.
Cash employment is limited and seasonal. There is a year-round lodge with a cafe and gas station.
The school is attended by about 30 students. The village store has been renovated, but money is needed for start-up.
The unincorporated village has no taxing authority. About half the homes have a well and septic tank and are fully plumbed. Treated well water is available from the washeteria.
The area was apparently the best-known Native immigration route across the Alaska Range, and early village settlements have been located at various sites around the lake.
Families that now reside here come from Nabesna, Suslota, Slana and other nearby villages.
The U.S. Army Signal Corps established a telegraph station at Mentasta Pass in 1902. A post office opened in the village in 1947 but was discontinued in 1951.
The village was severely shaken by the November 2002 Denali Fault earthquake, which had a magnitude of 9.2. Several homes and the road were damaged.
Source: Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development