I live about 50 miles NE of Anchorage, and in the late Summer and Fall, from early morning until mid to late afternoon, I can go outside without any bug dope or net and not be bothered. But bugs go after some people and leave others alone, and if my wife accompanies me during those same ďbug freeĒ time, the bugs are all over her (like flies to honey!). But I notice that if the wind is blowing (and it always seems to blow in my area), then the bugs canít seem to fly, and so canít land on me to bite. If I go out late in the day or evening, or in the woods, or in remote places in the Interior, then the bugs are much worse and, like Troy said, you really need a net. I also saturate a bandana with deet and wrap around my neck, which helps keep those little bugs from going down my shirt. Some years are worse than others, and a wet spring guarantees a bigger bug population. But overall, the bugs donít seem to bother me that much.
Troy also mentions knee boots. I forgot about that, probably because itís standard equipment when Iím off the trail. The Fall is dryer, but it seems much of the state is a bog. In the late Spring or Summer, Iíve sunk in up to my knees. So bring or buy some boots. And finally, consider some thorn-proof pants.
I think the nicest time to visit is about September 15. Maybe a week earlier. There should be fresh snow on the mountains, and the leaves should still be on the trees.
I just checked and I can't find these books. I must have cleared them out in a fit of organization. I probably figured that it will be 10 years at least before I can do that trip...
Originally Posted by MattCarey
Eric, I've always heard that there are areas where the bugs aren't so bad...maybe I'll get out to see some of them sometime. Probably about 20 years from now...
The other thing I didn't write because I thought it was too obvious was rain gear. I then got to thinking about all the photos you see of Alaska, and realized that it may not be as obvious as I think it should be...so here's the pitch. It may rain for a month straight. If you go to southeast (Juneau/Ketchikan/Sitka) you will be lucky to see the tops of any mountains and it probably WILL rain for a month straight. It rains 120 inches per year there. Most of the rest of Alaska gets more sun than that, but in any one year you may get lots of rain at any time...if you don't have a plan for photographing in the rain you aren't planning to come up here to make photos... But it doesn't need to be goretex, it can be plain old rubber rain gear unless you are planning on backpack/camping/photography in which case you will need to pamper yourself a bit more than that...
My 2 cents ran out a while ago, I must be up to a nickel by now...
Remember an Alaska nickel is worth $$$ down here. Thanks for all the tips from all of you up yonder.
Originally Posted by Troy Hamon
Thank you all. These are the kind of things I was trying to find out about.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
SO why do you folks live in Alaska? SOunds like you have two seasons: Snow, and Bug. Yuk!
Post cards make it look pretty though.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
I was there last July for a few weeks and only got attacked by the little B@$T@&)S on one occasion so I lashed on the DEET and they retreated.
This was on a hike in Denali National Park. No bug problems anywhere else.
Alaska is just beautiful so don't let a few bugs put you off going.
Actually, I've heard people who live in Anchorage refer to the two seasons as 1. Winter, and 2. Road construction. Out our way, it is definitely winter and bugs. I live here because I came here to do research as a graduate student, fell in love with the country, bugs and all, and found a job up here after school. I like it, winter and all, but I have had visitors who were much less fond of it...
Here's my take on visiting Alaska from personal experience:
Time: I went to Alaska in Sep-Oct 2002, and I think the timing of my trip was perfect. The crowds were gone, but most of the lodges/B&B, etc. were still open and so accommodation was not a problem (in fact, cheaper than regular season!). The weather was perfect 9 days out of 10 - it rained only one day during my trip. The interior (Glennallen comes to mind) was quite cold but Anchorage/Seward/Valdez was quite moderate. I encountered only one snow storm.
Travel: If you are adventurous, you should drive the Dalton Highway (also known as the "Haul Road"), at least up to the Arctic Circle. Beware that this road is not paved up to and beyond the Yukon River crossing, and is mostly used by large rigs hauling goods to the Prudhoe Bay station on the Arctic Ocean. Most car rental companies will NOT let you drive on this road. National Car Rental is the only major chain that will rent you a truck with a cracked windshield to drive on the Dalton Highway.
(Please note that the Dalton Highway may have been completely paved since my trip - paving was already under way in Oct 2002.)
Besides the above, there are other beautiful roads/highways that are a pleasure to drive and afford a lot of photo opportunities - the Richardson Highway, the Seward Highway, the Glenn Highway, etc.
National Parks: If you have enough time, you should visit these. You will not regret it. Especially, Denali NP & Kenai Fjords. Not to discount the others though....
Sights: If you are lucky, you may be blessed with clear skies and those lovely displays of the Aurora Borealis - the famed Northern Lights. I was told that it is quite common to see these in Fairbanks, though I was not so fortunate.
Recommended Reading: Lonely Planet Alaska, National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways.
If you want, I can send you my copy of the Lonely Planet book, but the edition I have was current in 2002 - they have a newer edition out there. You can still have it if you want - just let me know. This is a great book.
Sorry for the long post, but Alaska always excites me! Hope to be back there again someday, hopefully soon!
Good luck with your trip!
John, if you find all this too much .... then come to the "real" 49th state.
I'll show you a lot of spots where you don't need to worry about bugs.