A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 41°/53°/Intermittent clouds
Fairbanks: 31°/63°/Mostly clear
Juneau: 39°/62°/Partly 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.
Recreational town sits along Mat-Su lake
The community of Big Lake, Alaska, sits along the shore of Big Lake, a boating and fishing recreation area that is extremely popular during summer months.
Big Lake, with a population of about 2,700, is west of Wasilla off the Parks Highway in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Big Lake residents were hit by Alaska's most destructive wildfire in June 1996. It destroyed more than 400 structures in the Big Lake and Houston areas and burned about 37,000 acres. Still, numerous Anchorage residents own vacation and weekend homes there.
Most year-round Big Lake residents work in Palmer or Wasilla or at Big Lake businesses. Several lodges support summer recreational boating and fishing. Residents pay property taxes. Two public schools are located in the area.
The name was obtained in 1958 by the U.S. Geological Survey; the community was established in the late 1950s.
Source: Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development