If you’ve never been to Alaska, it should be at the top of your list of places to visit. You might think that the whole state is just a cold wasteland, but you would be wrong. More than 12,000 rivers and 3 million lakes make the woods a great place to see beautiful things. This faraway state has almost everything, from wildlife to a busy city.
On October 18, 1867, Alaska became a part of the United States. The buy of the remote wilderness was called “Seward’s Folly,” which means that it was a mistake. When gold was found, people’s views changed. It didn’t become a state until January 3, 1959, making it the 49th state. On August 21, 1959, about six months after that, the islands of Hawaii became the 50th state. Our flag was changed to include the new states, but the design of 50 stars and 13 bars stayed the same.
1. There are more than 130 volcanoes in Alaska!
When we think about which state has the most volcanoes, Hawaii comes to mind. Alaska is the only state that has more volcanoes than any other. Even though many of them are no longer in use, 50 of them have been in use since 1760! Over the past 200 years, more than 75% of all active volcanoes in the US have been in Alaska.
2. There isn’t a shortage of tidelands. In the state of Alaska
Alaska is a peninsula, which means that it is surrounded by water on three sides. Considering this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Alaska has more than 33,904 miles of coastline.
3. Alaska is home to more than 100,000 glaciers.
We said that a lot of people think of Alaska as a frozen desert. Even though it doesn’t cover the whole state, people think it does because there are more than 100,000 glaciers in the state. A glacier is made up of snow, ice, rocks, dirt, and sometimes water that is still liquid. The mass starts on land and moves down a hill because of gravity and its own weight. These moving masses can make it dangerous to get around the state’s center.
4. There are animals everywhere!
More than 1,000 kinds of vertebrate animals live in Alaska. There are more than 900,000 caribou in 32 groups that roam the land. There are 32 kinds of registered carnivores, which is more than any other US state. Five to eight million shorebirds stop at the open shoreline we talked about before. The birds stop to eat along the tidal coast on their way north to their breeding grounds in the Arctic.
5. Alaska is very big.
We all know that Alaska is a big state, but many people don’t realize just how big it is. It is pretty well known that it is the biggest state, with an area of 663,300 square miles. If we look at its size, we can compare it to California, Montana, and Texas, which are the next three biggest states. In fact, Alaska is bigger than all three of those states put together!
6. Alaska was bought for only $7.2 million when it was first bought.
Russia used to be in charge of Alaska. On October 18, 1867, the United States bought the land. The price when it was first sold was $7.2 million, which is about $55 million in today’s market. The land was bought so that the US could see more of the Pacific Northwest and protect its northern border.
7. Mountain Ranges? Alaska has a lot of them.
In the US, there are 20 really big mountain peaks. Seventeen of them are inside Alaska’s borders. Denali is the highest peak at 20,320 feet above sea level. Even though the top has many Native American names, most of them mean “The Tall One” or “The Great One.” Before 2016, the peak was called Mount McKinley. In 2016, the name was changed to Denali to honor the native people and return to the area’s original name. It took 100 years to change the name.
8. “Rat Islands” is a good name for them
At the end of the Aleutian Peninsula is a group of islands called the “Rat Islands.” Amchitka, Kiska, and Semisopochnoi are the three biggest ones. The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge includes all of the Rat Islands. Before World War II, people were living on the islands. During World War II, the Japanese were in charge of Kiska Island. In 1965, 1969, and 1971, Amchitka Island was used as a place to test nuclear bombs deep underground. After rats got there by chance around 1780, the group of islands got the name “Rat Islands” because there were so many of them. People think that the rats have been wiped out, but the name has stayed.
9. Alaska has something similar to the Bermuda Triangle.
A place in central Alaska called the Alaskan Triangle is where a lot of strange things happen. A TV show and several books were made about the area. Some of the strange things are lost people. People in the area seem to vanish without a trace at twice the rate of the rest of the country. There are also a lot of planes that go missing. The region includes the cities of Utqiagvik, Anchorage, and Juneau. There are icy mountain peaks, barren tundra, and boreal woods in the area. There have also been a huge number of reports of Bigfoot sightings, alien abductions, and other strange events. Even though we can’t prove any of the strange things, we thought they were worth sharing.
10. Alaska’s tourism business is doing well.
Who in their right mind would want to take a vacation in a frozen setting where wild animals roam free and people disappear at an alarming rate? It looks like a lot of people. The Denali National Park and Preserve is a popular place to go. Alaska has a lot to offer, like beautiful scenery, clean air, and a chance to see the northern lights. If you stay in the towns, Juneau, Fairbanks, and Anchorage have the same kinds of things to do as any other big US city. There are guided trips of the wilderness for those who like to try new things. No matter what you want, you can find it in Alaska.
Even though it is colder in Alaska, the weather is milder for part of the year. If the heat in Florida and the other southern states is too much for you, you might want to move further north. Evenings will be cool, so you might need a hoodie but won’t sweat as much.