Picturesque scenes that look like something out of a fantasy novel or a Viking saga greet those who go in search of a 23,000-year-old ice field that stretches for 700 square miles. Things have not changed much here in the past couple thousand years, evidenced by the very few examples of human occupation of these lands in the past couple millenia. The land here is frozen both in terms of temperature and in terms of the passage of time. Yet despite thousands of years of history, this area is relatively young by some standards. With land masses only beginning to reveal themselves, this area is starting to welcome more and more plant and animal species. It is also home to one of America’s younger parks. This is Kenai Fjords National Park.
While the term fjords conjures up images of Scandinavia for most, Alaska has a wealth of these glacier-created formations with the Kenai Peninsula being particularly famous for them. Taking a trip back in time to the last Ice Age might be as simple as hopping on a ship in Anchorage, Kenai, Homer or Seward then heading around the peninsula in the Gulf of Alaska. The home of one of the largest ice fields in the country, more than half of the park is still covered with ice. While many of the few visitors who come here do not leave the cruise ships they use to pass through the park, those who do set foot in Kenai Fjords have a chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery Alaska has to offer, whether they choose to do so by climbing a glacier, from a dog sled, on boat or on foot.
A place of great natural and human history, the Katmai National Park and Preserve showcases a side of Alaska not many see. Roughly the size of Wales, this national park has been largely unvisited and undeveloped throughout its history - though the animals don’t seem to mind. The fourth largest national park, Katmai is also one of the least visited parks. While the interesting volcanic phenomena witnessed in the park led to its initial preservation, the park managed to gain acreage over time as part of efforts to protect Alaskan wildlife, both those that dwell on the land and in the waters of the park. It was one of several Alaskan parks established in 1980 as part of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
Dedicated to all things travel, places I have been and places I want to go.