Adventure Activities in Anchorage - Try if You Dare

by Larissa Ovitt, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 23rd 2010 09:17 AM

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Adventure Activity Anchorage

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Alaska is a land untamed by the industrialized world. Its snow-capped mountains, deep valleys and icy waters offer a serene backdrop for endless adventures and outdoor activities. Anchorage, the state's largest city, provides visitors with extreme opportunities to explore this equally extreme landscape. Try an adventure activity in Anchorage when you visit.


An Uplifting Event


See Anchorage as only a brave few ever have via Midnight Sun Paragliding, LLC. This daring group allows patrons to choose from 10 different paragliding sites throughout the city. And, newcomers can fly tandem with a certified instructor. Unlike hang-gliding, which requires carrying bulky equipment, paragliding uses a parachute-like canopy that folds into an easily transportable backpack. But, unlike skydiving, you don't free fall before deploying your chute. The canopy and harness are laid out on the ground. Then the pilot and rider strap into the bucket seat shaped harness. Once secure, they both begin running as hard as they can. At first running comes easily, but as the wind catches the chute it becomes a vigorous yet slow motion challenge. The glider really begins to gain speed upon nearing the edge of the chosen cliff, and your feet leave the ground sending you high above the beautiful Alaskan terrain. A flight can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the wind. We dare you to add a paragliding experience to your list of Anchorage adventures.

Midnight Sun Paragliding LLC, 750 West 74th Avenue, Ste #1, Anchorage, AK 99518; 907-240-8072, 907-222-4942; times and prices vary–call to set up


Eat Like The Natives


Anchorage is home to the Athabascan Native American tribe, as well a number of large mammals, including bears, moose, elk and whales. In days of old, animals this size provided many resources for a tribe. It is customary, in Native American culture, to utilize the entire animal to ensure that none is wasted. This made for some interesting culinary options, most of which are still available today. The chewy blubber of a whale or a seal is one such delicacy. It is usually served raw but can be cooked in the fatty oils from that animal. More audacious eaters can enjoy a side of jellied moose nose or even moose lips. Although local restaurants do offer other, more recognizable items, you can find foods like these in meat supply stores and on various menus around town. Eating like a native is quite possibly the top daring adventure activity in Anchorage.


"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"


Those seeking overnight Anchorage adventures can opt for a hotel stay that gives this phrase new meaning. The Historic Anchorage Hotel, the oldest in the city, is not only known for its famous living guests, such as Will Rogers and Sydney Lawrence, but also for its infamous un-dead guests. Among the many ghostly visitors of this hotel is Anchorage's first Chief of Police, Jack Sturgus. One night in 1921, he was murdered outside the hotel – shot in the back by his own gun. To this day it's unknown who pulled the trigger, but rumor has it that the chief frequents the scene trying to solve the case. To really test how much paranormal pandemonium you can endure, stay in room 215 or 217. Many guests have reported seeing and hearing specters here. Not only have lights, TVs, and faucets been known to turn on by themselves, but also pictures and other inanimate objects have been purported to fly across these rooms. There are so many encounters that the hotel keeps a log. We dare you to try to get some sleep in this haunted hot spot.

Historic Anchorage Hotel, 330 East Street, Anchorage, AK 99501; 907-272-4553, 800-544-0988; $99-$189 per night


Anchorage Exposed


Hiking trails wind throughout the city, offering hours of pure bliss for those seeking outdoor activities in Anchorage. We dare you to experience hiking Anchorage-style -- on ice. With Exposure-Alaska Outdoor Adventures, you can embark upon a Glacier Trekking excursion. Spend an entire day ice climbing on the Matanuska Glacier. Or, customize your experience and venture on a more manageable half-day hike. There's even a nine-day tour that includes both of these exciting Anchorage adventure activities and then some.

Exposure-Alaska Outdoor Adventures, 200 W 34th Ave, #82, Anchorage, Alaska 99503; 907-761-3761, 800-956-6422; rates and hours vary


16 Bars of Music


For travelers seeking the best in local nightlife, a trip to Chilkoot Charlie's is a must. This extreme bar hopping and dining venue houses 16 unique bars. Among them is the Ice Bar, whose bar-top is literally made of ice. The Russian Room is adorned with Soviet decor and memorabilia, and at the Deck Bar the bartender is stationed inside an old ice cream truck. They even reconstructed an exact replica of a bar that burned down, thereby resurrecting the popular Alaskan hangout, The Bird House. Koot's, as it is locally known, also boasts a thriving live music scene and is a platform for many local bands and DJs who perform almost nightly. We dare you not to get lost while experiencing this Anchorage venue. Adventures are easy to come by here!

Chilkoot Charlie's, 1068 West Fireweed Lane, Ste A, Anchorage, Alaska 99503; 907-279-1692; Cover/Admission $5-$20


With these activities and more, it's easy to see how thrill-seekers can find the unforgettable experience they are looking for right here in Anchorage, Alaska.
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