20 Undeniable Reasons Why Everyone Should Love Alaska

Photo from kathika.com.

Photo from kathika.com.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer out there! The 49th state is a glorious place for freedom lovers and wilderness adventurers. The last frontier is more than just a place for the wildlife to roam free, it’s an outdoor mecca for anyone looking to experience some of the most beautiful, untouched land in all of the world. We will give you 20 undeniable reasons why everyone should love Alaska, but we all know that this is a topic we could sing the praises to for well over 20 lines. 😉

#1 – Seclusion. Sure the city lights can be luring, but Alaska has the lowest population density in the nation at one person per square mile. The perfect place to unplug and drink life in.

#2 – Natural Hot Springs. The U.S. Geological Survey identifies 79 thermal springs in Alaska.

Photo from www.alaska.org of Chena Hot springs.

Photo from http://www.Alaska.org of Chena Hot springs.

#3 – Snow days in Alaska are not ordinary whatsoever. Winter is nothing short of EPIC. Drive right out your front door and go cross country skiing or snow-machining in a total backcountry paradise.

Photo from crestedbutteguides.com.

Photo from crestedbutteguides.com.

#4 – 24 hours of daylight. Otherwise known as “the land of the midnight sun.” This means, more time to play during the warm summer months. Alaskans have a motto: we will sleep in the wintertime, just like the bears!

Photo from www.adn.com.

Photo from http://www.adn.com.

#5 – Aurora Borealis. The beautiful colors of the Northern Lights do all the talking for themselves. Seeing these gorgeous dancing lights in person is a MUST for everyone’s lifetime bucket list.

Photo from northtosouth.us.

Photo from northtosouth.us.

#6 – Sunrises. One word: breathtaking. We would say more, but we are speechless.

#7 – Fishing. The fishing and seafood industry is the state’s largest private industry employer. Such a fun activity for the sport fisherman as well as the whole family.

#8 – Hiking. For the active, outdoor enthusiast- Alaska is the place to be. Whether you are a beginner or an expert hiker looking to go off the beaten path, hundreds upon thousands of hiking trails make up this beautiful state.

#9 – Water babies, unite! There are more than 3,000 rivers and 3 million lakes in Alaska.

Photo from ehfcmembers.wordpress.com.

Photo from ehfcmembers.wordpress.com.

#10 – National Parks. Alaska has 8 National Parks, the second largest amount of any other state in the USA. All but two are actually classified as both National Parks and National Preserves.

Photo from hqworld.net.

Photo from hqworld.net.

#11 – Island living. Don’t think of “island life” when you think of Alaska? Think again. Alaska has 2,670 named islands making this the state perfect for those who want their own slice of Alaskan paradise.

Photo from www.wsj.com.

Photo from http://www.wsj.com.

#12 – Alaska or bust! “The mountains are calling, and I must go!” Of the 20 highest peaks in the United States, 17 are in Alaska.

#13 – Forests. The country’s largest and second-largest national forests are in Alaska. The 17-million-acre Tongass and the 5.6-million-acre Chugach. Both lie in southern Alaska and protect temperate rain forests and coastal mountains.

#14 – Glaciers. There are 616 officially named glaciers in Alaska however the Alaska Almanac estimates that Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers.

#15 – Arctic Tundra. This refers to treeless ecosystems where winters are long and cold, and summers are short and (usually) chilly. With a view like this, it’s hard not to fall in love.

#16 – Dog mushing is our state sport! And what’s not to love about that? In our book, the more dogs- the better! There is something so spectacular about the relationship between hard working dog mushers and their resilient, athletic dogs.

Photo from animalaska.wordpress.com.

Photo from animalaska.wordpress.com.

#17 – A birders paradise. Alaska has over 430 species of birds with the largest population of bald eagles in the entire nation.

#18 – A bear viewing mecca. Alaska is home to 98% of the US brown bear population and 70% of the total North American population. An estimated 30,000 brown bears live in Alaska.

#19 – We have the highest mountain peak in North America, Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley). Sitting 20,310 feet above sea level, Mt. Denali is the third most prominent and isolated mountain in the world.

Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

Photo from en.wikipedia.org.

#20 – Sunsets. We will let the picture do all the talking. But really though, how could anyone resist this stunning eye candy?

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

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Seeing Green This St. Patrick’s Day

Photo from Alaska Wildland Adventures on the Kenai River.

Photo from Alaska Wildland Adventures on the Kenai River.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day friends and fans of The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground! In honor of this lucky holiday, we are sharing ten gorgeous photos from the epic Kenai Peninsula that will leave you seeing green and falling in love.

"Bear Backpack!" Photo from Kathleen Turner.

“Bear Backpack!” Photo from Kathleen Turner.

#1. Zipling, Alaska’s Playground Style.

Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward, Alaska.

Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward, Alaska.

#2. When the phrase “take a hike” is always welcomed, you know you’re on The Kenai.

Hideout Trail. Photo shared from www.trover.com.

Hideout Trail. Photo shared from http://www.trover.com.

#3. When tundra and mountain biking collide, any outdoor enthusiast can agree that it feels a bit like you’ve discovered heaven on earth.

#4. Wildlife viewing isn’t just for the birds. The sea lions are always welcome. Especially when they are this stinkin’ cute. ❤

#5. And on the topic of cuteness, does it get much better than this adventurous brut? We think not. Mom’s do it all, even if that means becoming the designated flotation device. #respect 😉

Photo from Jon Langeland in Katmai National Park.

Photo from Jon Langeland in Katmai National Park.

#6. Seeing green from ear to ear means taking an aerial photograph overlooking The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground via flightseeing tour. EPIC.

Photo shared from www.earthporm.com.

Photo shared from http://www.earthporm.com.

#7: A glacier surrounded by remote wilderness is our favorite kind of Alaskan party.

Photo shared from en.wikipedia.org.

Photo shared from en.wikipedia.org.

#8. Mountains, just mountains. In all their glory. They say these things (just looking at them) are what get many hooked on Alaska. We can’t disagree.

#9. The Aurora Borealis dancing freely in the nighttime sky. Always a “pinch me” moment.

Photo Credit: Ron Neibrugge with www.wildnatureimages.com. Taken in Seward, AK.

Photo Credit: Ron Neibrugge with http://www.wildnatureimages.com. Taken in Seward, AK.

#10. Fish on! It’s hard to have a list about the Kenai Peninsula without including everyone’s favorite pastime. This is a great activity for enjoying long days with loved ones on Alaska’s Playground.

Are you seeing green already? We know, we are too! Who would have ever thought that seeing green would feel this good. 😉 Wishing you all the Luck o’ the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day. Be safe out there and have a wonderful day!

Photo from renderedgemedia.com.

Photo from renderedgemedia.com.

Top 15 Moments of the Year 2015

Photo shared from I Love Alaska Facebook Page.  Photo by Jordan Alleva.

Photo shared from I Love Alaska Facebook Page. Photo by Jordan Alleva.

Cheers to the last day of 2015! It’s been a pretty magical year on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. So in honor of the final day of the year, we though we’d do a little “Throwback Thursday” and recap the most memorable moments from our Facebook page.

Kenai Lake. Photo from Ed Boudreau.

Kenai Lake. Photo from Ed Boudreau.

Shared with almost 35,000 fans of the glorious Kenai Peninsula, let’s kick this party off with this Photo #1; A stunning sunrise in Seward, Alaska shared from Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking.

Photo Credit: Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking

Photo Credit: Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking

Photo #2, perfectly captioned “Eagle Eyes” is shared from the beautiful town of Seldovia, Alaska.

Shared from Seldovia, Alaska.

Shared from Seldovia, Alaska.

Photo #3 is a pretty in pink glorious morning sunrise shot from the beautiful town of Seward, Alaska.

Photo by Katherine "Pinky" Bleth & the Seward Journal.

Photo by Katherine “Pinky” Bleth & the Seward Journal.

Photo #4 is an always-popular aerial shot of the epic Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. Is this on your bucket list? If not, we bet it is now! 😉

Photo Credit: Daniel Leifheit. http://bit.ly/1C8YuOL.

Photo Credit: Daniel Leifheit. http://bit.ly/1C8YuOL.

Photo #5… license and registration, please. Need we say more? This moose has an agenda and no humans will stand in his way. 😉

Photo from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

Photo shared from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

The #6 most popular moment on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground featured an epic underwater chase by a school of halibut chasing a GoPro. Check out this link HERE to view the full video. Warning: it’s up close & personal and incredibly AWESOME.

#7 is the true epitome of “the land of the midnight sun.” This blue-bird-sky photo was taken in June at midnight on the beautiful Turnagain Arm.

Photo by Brittney Robles. Shared from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

Photo by Brittney Robles. Shared from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

#8 leaves us utterly breathless. This bear is in his very own version of Disney Land. The happiest place on earth is Alaska! 🙂

Photo shared from The Alaska Life Facebook page.

Photo shared from The Alaska Life Facebook page.

The #9 moment features a video of a giant pod of humpback whales that put on quite the show during a Kenai Fjords Tours excursion. If you turn up the volume, you can actually hear the whales trumpet. Once in a lifetime memories happen on Alaska’s Playground! Video featured HERE!

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours Facebook page.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours Facebook page.

Moment #10 is a lovely video of an Orca rubbing its belly along the shore of Fox Island Alaska. Full video HERE!

Video from Eric Eberspeaker. Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Video from Eric Eberspeaker. Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Our #11 moment features an Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) time lapse from Lights Out Photography that is comprised of 546 images taken in the span of about 18 minutes. Exposure time for images were 2 seconds. Shot from the Seward Hwy. Check out the full video HERE!

Aurora Borealis photo from Lights Out Photography.

Aurora Borealis photo from Lights Out Photography.

#12 is a fan favorite and a seasonal delight. Fall colors on the Seward Hwy. Our fall season is short here in Alaska, but boy oh boy does it leave a lasting impression.

Photo from the Seward Highway.

Photo from the Seward Highway.

Moment #13 is appropriately titled “just another day in Alaska.” In this incredible video captured by Bill Tyra you see two bull moose rutting and rumbling it out right smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood in someone’s driveway. It’s incredible. And its real. Only in Alaska! Full video HERE.

Video from Bill Myra.

Video from Bill Tyra.

#14: Surrounded by nature, the small town of Kenai, Alaska stirs peacefully. If you’re wondering, the answer is “yes, we pinch ourselves daily in amazement that this is our backyard.” Lucky is an understatement.

Photo Credit Greg Daniels. Shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

Photo Credit Greg Daniels. Shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

And last but certainly not least, moment #15 of the Year 2015 is this beautiful winter shot featuring the vivid Aurora Borealis captured sky-high from the chair lifts.

Photo shared from Alaska Dispatch News.

Photo shared from Alaska Dispatch News.

Whew! What an amazing year it has been. And the best part is that every year seems to get even better than the last. So hold on tight, 2016 is going to be epic! We can’t wait to share our journey with you and most importantly, we can’t wait for you to share your new memories with US! Thank you for joining us in celebrating all things glorious on the Kenai Peninsula year after year. We are blessed to share our love for this beautiful place with such wonderful people. Cheers!

August Aurora Activity on The Kenai

Oh what a month it has been! The Aurora Borealis (otherwise known as the Northern Lights) have been out in full swing and dancing the nights away in the Alaska’s Playground sky.

Photo from Mark Pierson Photography‎ looking towards Kenai, AK across the Kenai River

Photo from Mark Pierson Photography‎ looking towards Kenai, AK across the Kenai River.

Because it’s been such a bright and magical month on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, we decided to grab a collection of some of our favorite photos for all of our friends to experience along with us.

Campers in Seward, AK were treated to an amazing Northern Lights show. Photo from Kirk Alkire.

Campers in Seward, AK were treated to an amazing show. Photo from Kirk Alkire.

These photos have been taken by amateur photographers and experienced photographers alike. We have gathered most of this incredible photo content from our Facebook page as well as some other great pages including our friends at Alaska Magazine, Aurora Lovers, The Milepost, and many more. And we are also excited to share some really cool facts about Northern Lights from Live Science.

Cooper Landing in the early morning hours. Photo from Timothy Sturm‎.

Cooper Landing in the early morning hours. Photo from Timothy Sturm‎.

Aurora displays are created when protons and electrons stream out from the solar surface and slam into the Earth’s magnetic field. Since the particles are charged they move in spirals along the magnetic field lines, the protons in one direction and the electrons in the other. Those particles in turn hit the atmosphere. Since they follow the magnetic field lines, most of them enter the atmospheric gases in a ring around the magnetic poles, where the magnetic field lines come together.

Photo from Matt Skinner‎ at 20 Mile River.

Photo from Matt Skinner‎, Lights Out Photography. Taken at 20 Mile River.

The air is made up largely of nitrogen and oxygen atoms, with oxygen becoming a bigger component at the altitudes auroras happen – starting about 60 miles up and going all the way up to 600 miles. When the charged particles hit them, they gain energy. Eventually they relax, giving up the energy and releasing photons of specific wavelengths. Oxygen atoms emit green and sometimes red light, while nitrogen is more orange or red.

Photo from Nancy Dean‎ taken in Sterling, Alaska.

Photo from Nancy Dean‎ taken in Sterling, Alaska.

Satellites can take pictures of the aurora from Earth’s orbit — and the images they get are pretty striking. In fact, auroras are bright enough that they show up strongly on the nightside of the Earth even if one were looking at them from another planet.

 Photo from Emily Tracy taken over the Kenai River.

Photo from Emily Tracy taken over the Kenai River.

Occasionally the auroras are visible farther from the poles than usual. In times of high solar activity, the southern limit for seeing auroras can go as far south as Oklahoma and Atlanta — as it did in October 2011. A record was probably set at the Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia in 1862, during the Civil War, when the northern lights appeared. Many soldiers noted it in their diaries.

Photo from Christopher Morse‎ of an Army Veteran taking a few photos in his childhood town.

Photo from Christopher Morse‎ of an Army Veteran taking a few photos in his childhood town.

The northern lights look like fire, but they wouldn’t feel like one. Even though the temperature of the upper atmosphere can reach thousands of degrees Fahrenheit, the heat is based on the average speed of the molecules. After all, that’s what temperature is. But feeling heat is another matter – the density of the air is so low at 60 miles (96 kilometers) up that a thermometer would register temperatures far below zero where aurora displays occur.

Taken on the Seward Hwy. Photo from Matt Skinner with Lights Out Photography.

Taken on the Seward Hwy. Photo from Matt Skinner with Lights Out Photography.

Auroras are relatively dim, and the redder light is often at the limit of what human retinas can pick up. Cameras, though, are often more sensitive, and with a long-exposure setting and a clear dark sky you can pick up some spectacular shots.

Seward Hwy. Photo from Matt Skinner with Lights Out Photography.

Taken on the Seward Hwy. Photo from Matt Skinner with Lights Out Photography.

One very important thing for our visitors to remember; you can’t ever predict a show! One of the most difficult problems in solar physics is knowing the shape of a magnetic field in a coronal mass ejection (CME), which is basically a huge blob of charged particles ejected from the sun. Such CMEs have their own magnetic fields. The problem is, it is nigh impossible to tell in what direction the CME field is pointing until it hits. A hit creates either a spectacular magnetic storm and dazzling aurora with it, or a fizzle. Currently there’s no way to know ahead of time.

Kenai River at the Warren Ames Bridge. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

Kenai River at the Warren Ames Bridge. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

NOAA has an online map that can tell you what auroral activity looks likeon any given day, showing the extent of the “auroral oval” and where one is more likely to catch the lights.

Photo from Daryll Vispo Photography‎ at the Turnagain Arm/Seward Highway.

Photo from Daryll Vispo Photography‎ at the Turnagain Arm/Seward Hwy.

It truly is so special to see these magical lights appearing in the middle of town, in the middle of the night, near some of our favorite local shops. Like this photo below at Veronica’s Cafe in the town of Kenai.

Photo courtesy of Mike Haggerty.

Photo courtesy of Mike Haggerty.

Here is another great shot from Mike Haggerrty at the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church in Old Town Kenai.

Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church.

Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church. Photo from Mike Haggerty. 

And an amazing shot down East Mackey Lake Road in our little town of Soldotna!

East Mackey Lake Road, Soldotna AK. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

East Mackey Lake Road, Soldotna AK. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

And another one down Mackey Lake Road, a little more “up close and personal.”

East Mackey Lake Road, Soldotna AK. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

East Mackey Lake Road, Soldotna AK. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

 

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? If not, be on the lookout! And if you capture your memories, be sure to share them with us HERE! Happy Friday, friends!