A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 45°/61°/Partly sunny
Fairbanks: 46°/69°/Partly sunny
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.
Mat-Su community was homesteaded in 1950s
Houston, Alaska, is a riverside town in the Mat-Su Borough, west of Wasilla along the George Parks Highway.
Houston has about 950 residents and encompasses nearly 24 square miles of land and more than a square mile of water.
Many residents are employed in the nearby Palmer-Wasilla area, and some commute to Anchorage. The area is a popular fishing center, where anglers work the Little Susitna River.
The homes of most inhabitants have individual wells, septic tanks and complete plumbing. The junior-senior high school uses its own well system. The remainder of residents haul water and use outhouses. A number of homes in this area are used only seasonally.
''Houston Siding'' was first listed on a blueprint map of the Alaska Railroad in 1917. The area was homesteaded during the 1950s. In 1966, Houston became an incorporated second-class city.
In June 1996, the Big Lake wildfire destroyed more than 37,500 acres in the Houston and Big Lake areas, including 433 buildings and homes valued at $8.9 million.
Source: Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development