A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 45°/61°/Intermittent clouds
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.
Air Force base and flood directed town's growth
Galena, Alaska, is located on the north bank of the Yukon River, 45 miles east of Nulato and 270 air miles west of Fairbanks.
The population of 675 is two-thirds Athabaskan. Residents harvest salmon, whitefish, moose and berries.
The town was influenced by two major events. Establishment of the Galena Air Force Base in the 1950s brought growth and change, and a flood in 1971 resulted in the creation of a new community site with more than 150 homes.
Galena serves as a regional transportation, government and commercial center. A few houses and the school are connected to a piped water and sewer system, and more houses are being added.
The Galena district operates four schools, including a statewide correspondence program and a boarding school. The city levies a 3 percent sales tax.
The area's Koyukon Athabaskans moved as the wild game migrated. In summers, many families would fish for salmon on the Yukon. In 1920, Athabaskans living 14 miles upriver at Louden began moving to Galena to sell wood to steamboats and to work hauling freight. A school was established in the mid-1920s, and a post office opened in 1932.
The Galena Air Field was constructed in World War II. During the 1950s, development of the Air Force station, airports and roads sparked growth. The Air Force Station was closed in 1993, and the facilities are being used as a boarding school.
Source: Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development