After a lifetime of hearing how desolate the Aleutians (uh- loo-shens) were, I felt like I was leaving the edge of the earth the first time I traveled to Unalaska (un-ah- las-ka). Shortly after I arrived, a storm started slinging huge raindrops horizontally through the air so hard that they stung as they splattered on my face. People went on about their business as if nothing special was happening -- stormy weather constantly batters these rocks that pop up from the empty North Pacific. My expectations seemed justified.
But the next day, the storm cleared like a curtain opening on a rich operatic scene -- simultaneously opening the curtain of my dark expectations. Unalaska may lack trees, but it's not a barren rock. The island is covered with heather and wildflowers. Rounded mountains that invite wandering exploration rise from the ocean like the backs of huge beasts. For sightseeing, it has barely a day's attractions, but for outdoor exploring, bird-watching, and halibut fishing,...more local info
It's almost unreal to arrive at this big, luxurious hotel in a hard-driving Alaska Bush community. The Grand Aleutian is the best hotel in the...