If you love snowboarding, the off the beaten path, back trails kind of boarding, this is a dream. There are no designated ski areas in Unalaska and no chair lifts; but if you hike or hitch a ride on a snowmobile there are some of the most incredible runs I have ever taken.You don't have to go far either to find a good run, a short hike will land...more
Most people don't know much about the history of World War II in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. In fact, before travling to this remote Island, I wasn't even aware that this part of the U.S. was bombed by the Japanese during the war. However, remains of the war are visible all over the island. On top of Ballyhoo mountain (the mountain directly above the...more
Unless you hire Sheila as your guide, you will probably miss the view (and photo op) from atop Haystack Hill."You gotta see this", says Sheila, as she points the nose of the van skyward on the trail (I am not even going to call this a road). The view is spectacular, but some were so scared, that they got out and walked part way down as Sheila...more
Sheila drove us to Summer's Bay, on what they call a road (not for the faint of heart). The greenery was lush in mid-August, and offered some pretty views. Along the way, you will see remnants of the military campain from WWII. This is Sheila's nephew at a bunker.The land is owned by a native corporation and you may not hike without permission (and...more
Everyone knows Sheila. I highly recommend her as a tour guide. It will not be your typical tour, but more of an adventure. So Buckle up and hang on.Sheila is so full of life, and her attitude is infectious. You will not be dissappointed!Radio ahead on VHF channel 80 as you don't want to miss this!This is a picture of Sheila's house. If I didn't...more
The most famous landmark in Unalaaska is the first stop on every tour. Father Peter gave us an excellent tour and explained the layout of an Orthodox Church. The Cathedral contains many beautiful icon which are being restored, and the original text of Fr John Veniaminoff (St Innocent) who translated the Gospels into the Aleutiiq language. He did...more
Unalaska is a pretty remote place so I was suprised to find an amazingly good coffee shop on the island. Located right off of the main drag through Unalaska/Dutch Harbor is Mountain View Coffee, a drive-through coffee stand that serves a variety of hot and cold specialty espresso beverages as well as muffins, cookies, biscotti (the standard coffee...more
Honey, what do you feel like eating tonight? I'm not sure either, let's go to the family restaurant in Unalaska, then we won't have to decide until we get there.Chinese Cuisine, American Food, Japanese Food, Pizza! There is something for everyone. Let's see, I think I will start off with some sushi, won ton soup and an egg roll, then for our main...more
Tino's is a Steakhouse with a Mexican/Seafood twist. Our group all ate together and sampled each others fare, so we got a good sampling.The restaurant is clean and the food is good.We were running out of time, so after placing our orders, we snuck out, and had a few drinks at the Elbow Room. We came back and ate lunch, and washed it down with a...more
"The most notorious bar on the North American continent" by Playboy magazine in the 1970's. Even though they do a good trade in souvenier clothing, the guy behind the bar seems put out that you want souveniers and not more liquor.
The Elbow Room is a bar for hard working, hard drinking fishermen.
Dress Code: Anything goes. If you want to fit in I suggest Xtratuf boots, a filthy hooded sweatshirt or Grundens foul weather gear.
Your choices for transportation are the ferry (search for State of Alaska Marine Highway System) or fly or sail here in your own boat. Ferry- once a month in the summer from Seward or Homer via Kodiak on the Tustemena (the Trusty Tusty). Alaska Air - two jets daily. The 3900' runway is the shortest in the United States to allow 737s to land. Add the surrounding 3000' mountains and the normally 35-50 naut winds to the ocean on both ends of the runway and you're in for a very exciting landing. The runway is in the center of this picture, hanging on the side of Ballyhoo Mountain.
The city built bike paths but it's risky - people have been known to be blown right off. People like me will stop for your thumb, especially if it's raining sideways, or you can take a fairly spendy taxi.
I saw this on the visitors bureau web page. Just thought you should know.Alcohol Ordinance: It is illegal to buy alcohol on Sundays in the City of Unalaska, unless when purchased with a complete meal. No alcohol is available for purchase while election polls are open.I guess they don't want any votes for drinks.more
After several miles on torturous roads we came to a beach area, and there was a "porta-let". I was surprised. We just usually go in the wild. So this must be for tourists, or maybe because the beach area could be crowded, and you don't want to "hang out" though it was a beautiful day, and we were the only ones around.If you prefer, there are...more
The Alaska Marine Highway Ferry is not designed for tourists. Your arrival in Unalaska is early in the morning and you depart around noon. So nothing is open!Not even the information center!Here we are posed in front of the visitor information center which was closed (haha)I am absent from this picture. (I took it)more
I highly recommend Sheila for a tour of Unalaska, but pay attention! We were climbing up this gravel road and we started smelling something. We had to stop and put oil in her van! Between the seats, Sheila keeps spare parts, just in case (haha). Among the parts were winshield wipers, extra oil, a fan belt, and shocks and struts. I am not kidding...more
Be aware that the Oonalashka Corporation owns all the land surrounding the city and requires permits for hiking - I think it's $5/day or $25/year. You get the picture. Also, they're fussy about how you use the land. No mountain bikes or trail horses (both can leave permanent damage in fragile muskeg) but snow machines are okay once there's enough snow to protect the foliage. Birding is pretty good here - tons of water fowl and eagles. Bald eagles, like these, hang out around town because they're aren't many other perches available throughout the Aleutian Islands.
Bring rain gear or you'll be very, very sorry.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I'm a fan of saving money by bringing my tent when traveling but to be honest, almost every morning when I wake up to the wind/rain/sleet driving against the house, I'm very glad I'm staying inside walls. If you plan to camp plan to tie down well.
In mid-August Unalaska is very green. And we were lucky to have a glorious day of sunshine. The firweed is in bloom, and you can see the huge monkshood in this picture along with a salmonberry.
They say that the Aleutian Islands are the birthplace of storms, and the rains are why this greenery is so lush, but the winds can be harsh, and there are no trees.
Hiking is not allowed without permission.
Fondest memory: Sheila took us on a wild ride along the road?! system to Summers Bay.