National GeographicNat Geo Wild


  • Grizzly bears are renown for their sense of smell.  They have been known to be able to smell food from miles away.  

  • Downed trees that have fallen into the river are known as strainers because the tree branches act as dangerous hooks as they strain the flowing water, able to hook articles such as vessels or clothing.

  • About 13,500 Inupiat live in Alaska. About 3000 of them speak the native language.

  • A belief of the Inupiat people is in the reincarnation of both animal and human spirits. For animals, elaborate treatments of animals killed are performed to ensure that the animal spirit will be released and may return later. For humans, names of people who recently died are often given to newborns in hopes of reincarnation. 

  • The Arctic ice melting and rising global temperatures are threatening the subsistence hunting and fishing lifestyle key to the native Inupiat way of life in Alaska.

  • Seal Oil was commonly used by the Inuit people for cooking, and as a dipping sauce for food. 

  • With a surface area of almost 50 acres, Butterfly Lake has an average depth of just over 10 ft and maximum depth of 20 ft.

  • Butterfly Lake is home to the rainbow trout species of fish.

  • The Aleutian range received its named from the native Aleut people who inhabit the area.

  • There are over 130 volcanoes or volcanic fields in Alaska, 90 of which have been active in the last 10,000 years.

  • More than 50 volcanoes have been active in Alaska since the 18th century. 

  • More Than three quarters of the volcanoes that have erupted in the U.S.  in the last 200 years can be found in Alaska.

  • The last volcanic eruption of the Augustine Volcano occurred in 2006, it was the fifth major eruption in 75 years.

  • Studies made of the Augustine Volcano in the late 20th century showed that in the months prior to the explosive eruptions, a large amount of new magma is produced and injected into a storage region in the upper portion of the volcano’s crust.

  • The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes was created in 1912 by the eruptions of two Alaskan volcanoes, Novarupta and Katmai.

  • The eruption of Katmai and Novarupta was the largest 20th-century eruption on earth, and the largest historical eruption in Alaska, with its ash collapsing roofs and leading to the permanent abandonment over 6 villages nearby.

  • The best type of climbing for hard snow or ice on a steep slope is the German Technique, also called front-pointing, which involves climbers kicking their front crampons directly into the ice and then stepping up.

  • The average porcupine can have 30,000 quills, which are continually replaced as they detach, and usually lie flat until the animal feels threatened.

  • While the word ‘porcupine’ is Latin and translates as “quill pig,” it is actually a member of the rodent family.

  • Moulins are easily identified by the thunderous sound the meltwater that funnels through them creates.

  • One dangerous feature of glaciers are moulins, which are vertical, almost cylindrical shafts that are created by meltwater from the surface of the glacier. 

  • The coldest temperature ever recorded in the United States was in Prospect Creek north of the Arctic Circle in 1971. The temperature recording was -80 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • The term “on belay” is a phrase climbers use when beginning a climb to let their companion know that they are secured to the rope their partner is managing (belaying) for them.

  • During the summer months in Alaska, the sun often rises before 4am and doesn’t set until after 10pm, leaving only 6 hours of nighttime darkness.

  • Snowshoes are light oval shaped frames with thongs and crosspieces for support that attach to the bottom of feet to enable a person to trek across snow without sinking.

  • A box canyon is a type of canyon which has vertical walls on two sides and is closed with another wall, typically upstream, resulting in an opening on only one side.

  • Quicksand usually occurs along riverbanks or on beaches at low tide, generally in settings where there are natural springs.

  • Quicksand liquefies more quickly the higher the stresses are in the sand, hence why a trapped body sinks when it starts to move.

  • Slowly wriggling your legs to create a space where water can flow into, to loosen the sand, is a suggested tactic for getting out of quicksand.

  • In Alaska, dangerous fast –moving tides sometimes combine quicksand to make a perilous combination.

  • The fireweed plant was named so after its ability to grow quickly in areas that have been burned.

  • Beluga Lake sees more than 100 species of birds, including ruby-crowned kinglets, waterfowl and shorebirds during the spring migration and summer nesting periods.

  • Fish and nesting waterfowl such as red-necked grebes and trumpeter swans are yearly residents in the lowland body of water named Beluga Lake.

  • In July of 2012, a Cessna plane crashed while attempting to land on Beluga Lake, injuring 4 people and killing a former Alaskan legislator.

  • From 1990 – 2009, aviation accidents in Alaska accounted for more than 1/3 of the 1,615 commuter and air taxi crashes in the US.

  • Sinkholes are often formed when surface rocks are worn away, eroded or dissolved by the movement of water.  One of the most common surface rocks in sinkholes is limestone.

  • Water collects in underground cracks in limestone, which are called joints. As these joints widen, they cause the ground above them to be unstable and collapse, forming sinkholes.

  • Sinkholes can measure on average anywhere between 1 to 50 meters deep. As mud or debris plug these sinkholes, they fill with water and may eventually become a lake or pond.

  • A cenote is a type of sinkhole where the roof of an underground cave collapses, exposing water to the surface.

  • Landslides, where there is the movement of rock or earth down a slope, are caused by such factors as rain, earthquakes, and volcanoes.

  • Slopes that lack vegetation due to drought, or fire or deforestation are much more vulnerable to landslides, since there is no root system to hold their soil in place.