Visiting Alaska’s Distant Aleutian Islands

Halfway between the United States and Japan is Alaska’s Adak Island. It is one of the remote Aleutian islands.

It is a place known for its natural beauty. The coast is home to rich wildlife. Purple lupine flowers can be seen along roads through grassy hills. Hot springs cover the landscape. Snow-topped mountains and the Great Sitkin volcano rise in the distance.

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It is also a strange place, with an important military history. Adak became a U.S. Army airbase during World War II to protect against a feared Japanese invasion of Alaska. The base was later used by the Navy. Because of its closeness to Russia, it remained an important military base and submarine look-out center throughout the Cold War.

Adak Island is home to the native Aleut people. It is not easy to get to. It requires a four-hour plane trip from Anchorage. People visit Adak to hunt, watch birds, climb mountains, or examine one of the many abandoned military bases.Through broken windows, she saw the blue-black Bering Sea crashing into nearby Horseshoe Bay. This is the Adak experience: equal parts spooky and breathtaking natural beauty.

But the real reason to visit Adak is not the military buildings.

Most people come to hunt caribou. The animal was introduced to the area in the 1950s as a possible emergency food source.

Along with hunting, people also come to hike. There are many beautiful hikes on the island. One at Finger Bay offers views of the volcano. A hike to Lake Bonnie Rose includes an old abandoned military building built into hills.

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