Max Kaiser | Terry Lamb Scholarship Recipient
On June 25th I departed on a trip to Alaska with my science teacher and several classmates. It was a 6 day adventure all about nature and conservation. Our first day was full of traveling, flying from Richmond to Anchorage with a stop in Austin, Texas and Seattle, Washington. Once we landed we had no time to rest, we were off to Potters Marsh. Potter’s Marsh is one of the only marshes in Alaska. We were able to take in all the different aspects of the marsh – the tall grasses, lots of different birds, and bear tracks. We learned that the marsh was man made in order to make way for the railroad.
On our second day we were up early for a quick breakfast and then we boarded a train to Wasilla to visit where sled dogs are trained for the Iditarod. The dogs race in the Iditarod, which is a 1,000 mile race across some of the harshest terrain in Alaska. We learned about how these dogs adapted to running long distances. We learned what the dogs need to wear in order to race. They need a type of dog jacket, gloves for their paws so they don’t get frostbite and blisters and leg warmers. We were able to see a demonstration of the dogs running a mock race, that was really cool. After learning about the sled dogs, we headed off to Denali. Upon Arriving to Denali, we had dinner and listened to a presentation about a man who climbed to the peak of the tallest mountain in North America. That mountain is Denali mountain, which is how the area gets its name.
Day three, we were off to Denali National Park. We went on an all day bus ride and hike in Denali National Park. We got to see moose, caribou, rabbits, dall sheep, (Dall Sheep inhabit the subarctic mountain ranges of Alaska, the Yukon and parts of the western Northwest Territories as well as central and northern British Columbia), and even a grizzly bear. The park is quite large, over 6 million acres, and it is quite beautiful.
Alaska is such a large place and everything is so spread out we spent the majority of day 4 traveling to our next destination, which was the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center located in Portage. At the conservation center we were able to see wildlife native to the area including woodland bison, reindeer, musk ox, and a lynx. The conservation center is animal sanctuary that takes in endangered and injured animals. The musk ox was there because because it is in danger of becoming extinct. The woodland bison were extinct in Alaska, but with the help of the sanctuary, they have been repopulated.
The following day we went on a hike to the Harding Icefield to see the exit glacier and the riverbed the water runs into.  Exit Glacier is a glacier derived from the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska. We then went on a mini cruise and were able to see large chunks of ice falling off of the glacier. From the boat we were able to see humpback whales, sea lions, otters, and puffins. Some of the sea lions were floating on chucks of ice that had come off the glacier.
Our last day found us back in Anchorage, where we spent the morning at the Alaska Sea Life Center. We were able to get up close and personal with a puffin, starfish and sea urchins. There were also jellyfish, sea lions and other native marine life. After spending the morning exploring the sea life it was time to head to the airport to depart for home.
Overall this was a great trip and would recommend Alaska as a vacation to anyone. It was fun, informative, and an adventure. I enjoyed the experience of the Alaska wildlife and the beauty of the landscape. I want to thank VHF and the Terry Lamb Scholarship for helping fund this amazing trip.