A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 36°/52°/Mostly clear
Fairbanks: 30°/56°/Mostly clear
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.
Anchorage-area town is both Athabaskan village and commuter community
Population: 394 (2000)
Eklutna, Alaska, sits the head of Knik Arm in Cook Inlet, at the mouth of the Eklutna River. It's 25 miles northeast of Anchorage and within the boundaries of the Municipality of Anchorage.
Eklutna, population 400, is both an Athabaskan village with a subsistence lifestyle and a suburban community that is less than 15 percent Alaska Native.
Most non-Native residents are employed in Anchorage, with incomes averaging $46,183 per capita, according to the 1990 U.S. census. Eklutna's Dena'ina residents have significantly lower incomes, averaging $4,753 per capita.
Eklutna Historical Park, dating back to 1650, consists of a small museum and gift shop, prayer chapels, two Russian Orthodox churches and a cemetery still in use. More than 100 brightly colored "spirit houses" are on the burial ground, a custom that combines Athabaskan and Russian Orthodox practices.
The Eklutna Power House, using water from Eklutna Lake, supplies hydroelectric power to Anchorage. The lake is part of Chugach State Park. Thunderbird Falls, also in the park, is a one-mile hike off the old Glenn Highway at the Eklutna River.
The Eklutna area was the site of many Athabaskan villages as long as 800 years ago. Today's Native residents are descendants of the Dena'ina tribe.
Russian Orthodox missionaries arrived in the 1840s. A railroad station was built in 1918.
Source: Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development