Alaska, USA. The Grizzly bear necessities, Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park.
Alaska highs and lows:
Massive, unspoilt, green and peaky panoramas inhabited by very few humans but plenty of wildlife going about their business - particularly bears, seals, whales, eagles and deer.
Locals are friendly, thievery is most unusual and tourist activity options are good and varied.
Hiking, fishing, kayaking, white-water rafting and wildlife watching top the agenda.
And another thing...assuming you will be there in the summertime, daylight hours are very long so it's possible to do a lot before bedtime.
But don't ignore winter time, when the pristine whiteness becomes a huge snowy playground with even fewer tourists, lower prices but lots of activities.
Mount McKinley, known as Denali to most Alaskans, is the state's #1 scenic view; Wonder Lake is in the foreground and both are set in Denali National Park.
The main downside of Alaska is the cost in getting there and hotels once you have arrived.
In addition, public transport in this monstrous state is infrequent and travelling from place to place is time-consuming, so getting around is an issue too.
All-in-all pretty good reasons to travel with a good tour operator who will organise discounted accommodation and transport, not to mention knowing the optimum routes for scenery, wildlife, activities and travel time.
(Yes, we at bugbog prefer individual travel too, but get real, touring Alaska solo is not a good option unless you are content to see a small area - and what's the point of that considering the expense of getting there? - or have a lot of time, which you won't as Alaska travel is really only possible May-September!
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) over the Eliot Highway, 20 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Auroras are flowing, colourful light displays courtesy of Mother Nature's ionosphere.They are seen in darkened skies, especially in polar regions.
The Marjorie Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park, South-East Alaska, near Juneau.
The weather in this part of the world is erratic to say the least but place your bets on the best months: mid-May to September. More on Alaskan weather
An Alaskan bald eagle gone fishing. Bon appetit! Click to see Alaska Activities Pictures
Alaska's main attractions:
- The White Pass and Yukon Route railroad, a spectacular vintage tourist train ride (from Skagway).
- The fantastic variety of panoramic views from both the Seward Highway and the Alaska Railroad as they stagger across the Chugach Mountains.
- Taking eye-boggling hikes and bike rides among pristine white peaks as far as the eye can see. Glacier walks too.
- Boat/ship cruising or even better kayaking near one of Alaska's awesome glaciers.
- Seeing the swirling magic of Northern Lights/Aurora colours (mainly in winter; Fairbanks Sept-April is good).
- Watching bears fishing for salmon and humpback whales leaping for joy. Humans fishing seem to be content too.