The Race to Alaska

Written by Michelle Theall

People have been navigating the Inside Passage to Alaska for millennia. Now, for the first time, they're going to race it—750 miles, from Port Townsend, Wash., to Ketchikan, Alaska. Completely unsupported, and without motors. The new adventure race, dubbed Race to Alaska (R2AK), is being put on by the Northwest Maritime Center and is set to begin June 4, 2015. The winners will receive $10,000.

Gallery: Kodiak Brown Bears

Written by Michelle Theall

Photos from Alaska magazine Senior Editor Dave Costello's recent trip to the Kodiak Brown Bear Center. A Kodiak brown bear sow paws for salmon in the Thumb River on Kodiak Island.

Alaska's History Frozen in Time

Written by Michelle Theall

Some spirits just aren't ready to leave Alaska and, instead, spend their time haunting visitors.   With Halloween quickly approaching, it's only appropriate to dive into some of Alaska's scariest ghost stories. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, some places in Alaska will leave you questioning their existence. Ghosts have been known to roam around in hotel rooms, scaring guests and staff and making believers out of the non-believers. The Gold Rush also produced some of the most frightening spirits. With one mine so haunted that the area cannot be resettled.   Top 5 Haunted Areas in Alaska: Scary Mary at the Golden North Hotel In the late 1800s, Skagway, Alaska experienced an influx of residents and visitors as gold was discovered in the Klondike region of Canada's Yukon Territory. For many miners, Skagway was just a pit-stop on their voyage to the Yukon. For that reason, some found opportunity in this town and thus built stores, saloons, and hotels for miners to use on their way to mine gold. The Golden North Hotel is one of the hotels you will find in this small town. Mary, as called by the hotel staff, was engaged to a prospector who was getting lucky with his hunt for gold. He sent for his young lover so that she could live closer to him and reserved a  room for her in the Golden North Hotel. The couple spent some time together before he left to find more gold for their future. Mary waited for her fiance to return to room 23 but died from pneumonia before she ever got to see him again.  Those who visit room 23 have claimed to have seen her apparition looking out the hotel's window. Guest who have stayed overnight have claimed to experience a choking sensation, similar to what you would feel if you were suffering from pneumonia.   University of Alaska's Wendy Williamson Auditorium Construction of the auditorium began in 1973 but was put on hold due to financial issues. Once construction continued, however, many of the rooms and elevator shafts were not completed leaving the auditorium with an eery feeling. Staff, students, and audience-goers have reported occurances of paranormal activity that range from women's bathroom stalls being forced shut, props moving onstage and lights breaking unexpectedly. It is rumored that the auditorium is haunted by a female dressed in all white, a man, children, a teenage boy and a late UAA professor and musician, John Wendell "Wendy" Williamson. Most of these ghosts are harmless and only like to invoke fun, except for one.  The male ghost is said to often target women with long, brown hair.