Rachael Scdoris, the first blind musher to take part in the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome, heads up a hill toward a cluster of photographers on Saturday, March 5, during the ceremonial start of the 2005 race in Anchorage. The man behind her is a dog handler. She completed 750 miles of the race before scratching because some of the dogs on her team had fallen sick with a virus. She returned for the 2006 Iditarod and, this time, was able to complete the race.
Welcome to virtual Southcentral Alaska. You can pick the season to explore it in or the event to observe, even if it took place months -- or years -- ago. After you look around some, if you decide you want to see the real Alaska, you can get some information, including comments from previous visitors, that may help in planning your trip. You can also make airline, auto and lodging reservations in Alaska and around the world without leaving the Alaska Scenes Web site (a separate window will open; simply close it when you've made your reservations to return to the Alaska Scenes pages).
Southcentral SeasonsAlaska's summers are what make the winters worthwhile. There's still snow on the mountains, but this is the season when Alaskans move outdoors -- and tourists join them. Among the most popular places to go are Kenai Fjords National Park and Portage Glacier. The most popular activities include fishing.
Autumn's colors are subtle in Southcentral Alaska but the effect is magnificent when they are applied to the region's autumn scenery.
The winter of 2006-07 has been an unusually snowy one in Southcentral Alaska. Sometimes, though, you can't find snow when you want to. That was a real problem in the Anchorage area in the warm winter of 2002-03. Ski races and sled dog races in the Anchorage area were cancelled and the Iditarod start was moved from Wasilla to Fairbanks. The winter of 1995-96 was unusual, too. The first ice was easy enough to find but early winter was unusually snowless that year. By January 1996, it was so cold even the wildlife was staying close to homes. There was plenty of snow, however, and warmer weather for the 1999 Fur Rondy's Snow Sculpture Competition.
But what happened to spring? Well, in Alaska it's called break up because of what happens when all that snow and ice start melting. A visit to Independence Mine provides a look at Alaska in late spring.
Southcentral EventsFur Rondy, in February, is Anchorage's big winter event.
It's followed by the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, which holds the attention of the whole state as mushers race from Anchorage to Nome in March. The 2007 race is just ahead, but it's not too late to watch the start of the 1999 race on Fourth Avenue and follow the mushers through Anchorage. You can also see the start of the 2002 and 2005 and 1996 races.
The Alaska State Fair opens in late August. You can visit the 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 or 2002 fair.
Southcentral SightsIndependence Mine, a historic gold mine in the Talkeetna Mountains, is just two hours away from Anchorage -- or a mouse-click from where you are now.
Homer, with its spit that juts five miles into Kachemak Bay, attracts visitors to the western end of the Kenai Peninsula. Those who make the trip can say they've driven to the "end of the road," the western end of the North American road system.
Portage Glacier, an hour's drive from Anchorage, is Alaska's most visited tourist attraction.
Kenai Fjords National Park, which includes the 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, is best seen in a cruise from Seward, a three-hour drive from Anchorage.
There's lots of wildlife in this part of Alaska, and it doesn't always stick to the wilds.
Would you like to see even more Alaska Scenes? A second Alaska Scenes site has more photos and information about the whole state. You can visit that site too.
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Most recently updated Feb. 13, 2007