Summer Recreational Safety in Alaska

With great recreational opportunity, comes great responsibility. Whether it’s your first summer in Alaska or you’re a seasoned veteran, here are five things you can do to be safe and enjoy the summer months.

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  • Unlike most other places in the world, summers in Alaska mean long days, comfortable temperatures and countless outdoor activities. With nearly 24 hours of daylight, there’s a lot that can be accomplished (even in a span of a single weekend).

    Exploring Ice Caves

    The ice caves in Alaska are breathtaking. An absolute must for anyone who hasn’t encountered them in person. And if this isn’t your first time planning a trip to see one of nature’s most beautiful ice sculptures, you can’t wait to go back.

    On the flip side, they are also incredibly dangerous! You can plan, and you can plot, you can buy the absolute-best-anti-slip-water-resistant-number-one-rated hiking boots available, but at the end of the day, the only way to ensure your safety is by exploring Alaska’s ice caves with a guide.

    Ice caves are very slick and unstable. Regardless of how strong they may look, the caves can shift quickly and unexpectedly. Since they’re made up of frozen meltwater, it’s possible for the ice to break and for the entire structure to come crashing down. So regardless of how careful you may be, when it comes to Alaska’s ice caves, guides are the only way to go!

    Kayaking Adventures

    Whether you’re kayaking on a river, a lake, or the ocean, it’s important to take this venture very seriously. Regardless of your prior experience, there’s a lot more to consider when kayaking in Alaska.

    Apart from the everyday dangers of capsizing, getting stuck on rocks, or losing your paddle to a heavy current, Alaska adds a whole new level of excitement with icebergs, waterfalls, and whales in the mix.

    Because all bodies of water are so unpredictable, it’s best to leave your kayaking itinerary to the experts that know how to read Alaska’s bodies of water.

    Guided kayaking tours are a ton of fun! Instead of worrying about rapids, eddies, and all of the other dangers of kayaking, you get to sit back, relax, and most importantly enjoy your surrounding.

    Bear Safety

    With Alaska being known as the bear country, it’s essential to have a good understanding of what attracts them. It’s equally important to understand how to avoid bears and what to do if you encounter a bear up close.

    You may already know the dangers of leaving out food, the risks of getting too close to an adorable bear cub, how to tell a black bear from a grizzly, and what to do if you come across fresh bear tracks.

    You feel prepared because you’ve done your research. However, just because you know what you’re up against, doesn’t mean that everyone in your hiking or camping group will know what to do.

    No one wants to be a know-it-all, but someone has to ask the hard questions. Even if you think someone is an outdoor expert, it’s important to check in and make sure that at the very least, they are aware that running from a bear is the absolute worst idea!

    Moose Safety

    Like bears, moose are frequently spotted in the Alaskan wilderness. Though moose are much less dangerous than bears, they can get aggressive. On the off chance that you encounter an aggressive moose, it’s important to know how to react.

    If the moose looks like it’s about to charge, do your best to get out of his/her way and do so as quickly as possible. Moose are fast and can run up to 35 miles/56 kilometers per hour. Because of their speed, it’s crucial to seek cover immediately. If you’re out in the wild, hide behind a tree or a large rock. If you’re near a car or a building, hide there instead.

    Though moose attacks are far and few between, people get hurt by moose rather frequently. Moose are involved in many vehicle collisions, especially in places like Alaska, when moose crossing is very common. To ensure the safety of yourself and others, be sure to pay close attention to the road while driving, leave car lights on for safety, and always drive within the speed limit.

    Mosquito Bites

    While a run in with a herd of Alaskan mosquitos is much less consequential than a close encounter with an Alaskan bear, during the summer months, you definitely want to plan your trips with those little pests in mind. Unlike the rest of the calendar year, the summer months are when their population is at an all-time high.

    Fortunately, none of Alaska’s THIRTY-FIVE different mosquito species carry any disease. But nevertheless, you do not want to find yourself surrounded and unprepared.

    Especially if you’re planning on being outside from dawn to dusk, be sure to pack a long sleeve pant and a shirt, in addition to some heavy duty mosquito repellent.

    Thinking you may be in high trafficking mosquito areas? You may also consider packing a mesh face mask. In the off chance you feel that this is overkill, remember, welts that occur as a result of mosquito bites can last for days!