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A to Z of Experiences
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Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
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21st October 2013
Back from her recent trip to the USA's wildest state, Wanderlust editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes reveals what you need to know before embarking on your own adventure
Alaska's people and bears are fishing mad. There are five types of salmon – each with two names: chum/keta, sockeye/red, king/chinook, silver/coho and pink/humpback.
The first version of the names can be remembered using the fingers on one hand – thumb = "chum"; second finger – sock someone in the eye = "sockeye"; middle finger is the biggest so is the "king" of fingers; your fourth finger is your ring finger which might be "silver" and your little finger is your "pink"ie.
A Dolly Varden is a type of trout (and nothing to do with Dolly Parton!). As the locals have fishing rights, they usually have a freezer full of salmon so prefer halibut or crab when eating out.
Alaska is volcanic and sits on the Ring of Fire. There are frequent small earthquakes, with occasional larger ones. The most infamous and damaging quake was on 27 March (Good Friday) 1964, with a devastating tsunami; you will see ghost forests of dead trees when travelling around the Kenai peninsula where the water table sank and became saturated with salt water.
Flying is the most common way to get around, and sometimes the only way to get to remote communities. Even if you don't use a bush plane to get from A to B, do go flight-seeing.
Be careful if driving; moose crossing the road are the biggest hazard you are likely to meet in Alaska. Even if they look as if they're safely ensconced on the verge, there's no guarantee they'll stay there.
Allow plenty of time for travel, whatever method you are using. The weather is unpredictable and can result in travel arrangements being cancelled or changed. Road works during the summer can cause long delays too; so always allow an hour or two more than you think you need if driving.
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Another thing to know is that any place between Talkeetna and Homer isn't REALLY 'Alaska', ESPECIALLY Anchorage, which is just another big US city. The problem is mainly the lack of roads, which means that everyone is crowded into a small grid, so if you want to experience the real thing, be sure to plan some time outside of this overcrowded area.
In the new issue of Wanderlust magazine - out Thursday (24 Oct) - editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes finds a wildlife rich, glacier-scoured wilderness
Alaska travel guide, including map of Alaska, top Alaska travel experiences, tips for travel in Alaska, plus dog sledding and wildlife spotting advice
From tracking wolves in Yellowstone to kayaking with manatees in the Everglades, the USA is home to some of the world’s most iconic wildlife. Celebrate the US National Park Service turning 100 with a face-to-snout encounter using our expert guide to where’s best to see the Big 15...
It's the United States, but not as you know it - here's how to plan your exploration of Alaska's unique, bear-infested wilderness
Wanderlust's intrepid editor-in-chief, Lyn Hughes, has recently returned from a trip to Iraqi Kurdistan. Here's what she wishes she'd known before visiting
Safaris can make for an expensive trip so you want to get it right. Wanderlust editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes shares a few things she wished she'd known before her first
Lyn Hughes talks about her New Year travel resolutions – including being nicer to tourists
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