ALASKA August 6 - 13, 2000 by Kinsley ThomasWong

ALASKA: land of XTREMELY BIG STUFF:  Big Airs, Mountains, Inlets, Rivers, Giant Halibuts, Whales, Salmon, Bear, Moose, etc...

Last year, my friend, Randy Redmond, has kindly invited me to visit this rugged and wild Alaska.  Amid the madness of this year summer kitesurfing season,  I decided to take up on Randy's offer.  He generously provided me transportation and accommodation for my duration in Anchorage, Alaska.  Another friend, Rick Ray, has been incredibly nice in showing me various flying sites and everything else in Alaska.  I am gratefully to have such wonderful friends.  Randy, Rick, and I tried our best to catch the monster halibuts but I think those halibuts got scared and did not dare to bite our baits.  We came home empty handed but had a wonderful day together seeing some of the best view of Seward and Alaska mountains.  I was quite lucky to have such incredible sunny weather during my visiting of Alaska.  If you like hiking, rock climbing, river rafting, paragliding, fishing; you must visit Alaska.

Alyeska is a skiing resort during the winter but also is a wonderful place for paragliding during the summer.  $50 summer season pass or $10 daily tram pass that will take you up to the top of Alyeska for a good 15 minutes paragliding sled run or some great soaring to nearby mountains if epic condition exists.  The local paraglider pilots here are very friendly.  The tourists seemed to be very excited everytime paraglider pilots gliding down the valley.  The landing area is wide and grassy.  Paragliding in Alyeska reminding me of a flying site: Brevent, Chamonix in France.  What a gorgeous view of Alyeska valley once you aloft.  Waterfalls, glacier, pine trees, and wild flowers along the hill sides: all tranquilly blended beautifully together to create an unforgetable view of Alyeska valley.  To fly here, you need to check with the local paragliding club:  ArcticAirWalkers for the latest information and requirements.

Rick and I also flew at another flying site: the Bench, Eagle River on the foot hill of Mt. Baldy.  This is also another great thermal flying site where you can see a great view of the Cook Inlet and Mt. McKinley on the far background.  I heard Hatcher Pass is also another great flying site but unfortunately I did not get a chance to fly there.  Randy and I also checked out the DUMP which is another ridge soaring site in Anchorage.  We did not fly there as the wind was crossed.  Another flying site in Anchorage is Flat Top mountain.  Alaska has many great flying sites however potentially great cross country flying is hindered by its limited road access and the wild, rugged, BIG mountains.

One thing I like the best is that the sun does not set until 11 p.m. every night.  I spent my days doing so many things: morning site seeing/hiking, fishing for salmon, paragliding, then canoeing: all in one day!  Another place that you will not want to miss the next time you visit Anchorage is Moose's Tooth restaurant where you can order a big delicious Halibut Pizza and killer micro-brews.

Kinsley and Rick canoeing down the Portage Glacier River.

Kinsley with his big catch of the day: a 7 lbs Silver Salmon caught with his own handtied green bass flies.