Tundra In The Far North Of Alaska

Spring Tundra in the Upper Matanuska Valley in Alaska
Spring Tundra in the Upper Matanuska Valley in Alaska

Tundra In The Far North Of Alaska

Tundra is where the ground below the surface stays frozen all year and the trees do not exist. The tundra is a vast region of cold in the far North. It remains  mostly treeless. These are the lands extending along the entire margin of the Arctic Ocean. Because of the insanely  low temperatures, the ground stays frozen all year. Here only the top few inches of tundra ever thaws. Welcome to the far North! Welcome to Alaska! Welcome to the land of the Midnight Sun….. the land of frozen tundra.

The tundra in spring still has plenty of snow in many places. Spring progresses and some of the snow begins to melt.  As the snow melts, the water begins to collect. The ground is still very much frozen. Notice that none of the water from the melted snow seeps into the land. It just sits on top of the cold frozen land.

As the sun begins to be seen for more hours, summer is now in full swing. The last bit of winter snow begins to melt and the pools of water collect into summer lakes. Now you begin to see the tundra grasses and the small lakes become large seasonal lakes. The Northern Tundra  ground is permanently frozen just a few inches from the surface. Thus the water cannot seep deeper into the ground during summer. Instead, it pools on  the surface and forms many  large and small  tundra lakes. Summer has arrived in the far North.

Summer time leaves a soggy surface as the land melts at the top layer. This then makes a very soggy ground. This and the many summer lakes make the  perfect breeding ground for the many birds that spend the summer in the Arctic. Many of these birds travel thousands of miles to delight themselves in the summer tundra.

Another magnificent animal that roams the tundra is the caribou.  The caribou plays an important role in the life of Native Alaskans. They usually run in large herds and are a major meat source to those who live in the North. In the summer, the tundra is also home to many mosquitoes. They can mostly be seen swarming around the caribou. If you roam around the tundra, be prepared. They will be glad to visit with you also.

There are several tundra tours. Below is one that I especially like. Here you will see a different side of the Denali and be very close to Mt. McKinley. Alaskan summers are not only for migrating birds. Come check out the land of the Midnight Sun! It is adventuress! It is amazing! It is the Alaskan Tundra.




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