Statistical Analysis

This post is brief overview of my entire blog and its stats.

This blog was a fun assignment for school that kept my mind thinking. It helped me keep writing and creating new content. I will continue this blog even after this class. It is good way to get my self recognized and voice heard. Hopefully in time, my blog will grow and more people will read it. I will no doubt go on more adventures and post about them. I have found a few things to be helpful when using WordPress: a few good tools are the widgets. They allow people who read your blog to get another look at who the author is. They are not just a voice behind a screen, but a real person experiencing all these things. Promotions are another good tool. looking back now, I  would have promoted it on more than just twitter to get a wider audience base.

One tool I had trouble with was the comment option. I received a comment, but was not able to find it when I went back to me blog. There should be easier way to access any comments or communication readers seek. An inbox or notification center would be a good tool for blogs. It would help the author communicate with the readers better. If I could change my site, I would probably take a more focused approach to my topic about travel. Alaska and Canada are huge places. I would narrow it down to the top places I went, but for the sake of content, I just talked about the whole Alaska trip.

img_9517
Blog post promotion picture: By Colleen Ducat

I will definitely continue this blog, and it will help me keep my mind working, thinking and creating new material for people to view. This is a good networking and social tool for people and companies to find you. It allows people to hear your voice and read what you have to say. There is a lot of writing in advertising, and I think this blog would help in that field because it keeps the mind working. It also helps focus on relevant topics among young people. Advertising is all about new perspectives and engaging the minds of people around the world, and if I can do that through a small blog, then this was all worth it.

Through out this process, I have noticed that the more popular blogs are those who post content on a regular basis. They use the statistical tools to their advantage. Knowing when to post and when not to. I have experimented through the writing process by posting at different time of the week to see which times are most popular.

My most popular week was September 17-23. This is when I first started posting content, and my blog got noticed. I got a total of 62 views and 25 visitors. My most popular post was “Parental Guidance” which was posted on September 20, 2018. This post got a total of 15 views throughout the semester. I think this post was popular because it was the start of the whole topic. It was the most thought out and planned post. It may have something to do with the title as well. A well thought title can make all the difference.

I was surprised by the decreasing numbers I was getting. I got a lot when I first started, but the number of views fell quickly as I posted more content. Maybe it wasn’t as strong of content as the first few posts, but the decrease in numbers surprised me. With the use of social media I found that some platforms are more useful than others. Twitter was a less useful tool, since I only had a few followers. I used Instagram throughout the semester and that seemed to be really useful. I used two tool of Instagram to promote my posts. I posted pictures of my blog and used the story option for a quick promotion. I started looking at other websites about promoting blog posts. Forbes posted a good article about different techniques you can use to promote your work and get a wider audience.

So throughout this process I’ve learned that I need to focus more on my content, and promote to more people and platforms to reach a bigger audience base.

Advertisements

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, a beautiful 13.2 million acre expanse of mountains, valleys, rivers, and wildlife. Located in the southeastern portion of Alaska, and is home to the Chugach National Forest. In the center of the park lie two fully self-sustained towns: McCarthy and Kennecott. The members of the towns haul their own water, use generators for power and recycle and reuse everything. A portion of the town members live there year-round, but most travel back to different places for the winter. To get to the towns is another part of the fun.

You start by driving down a 59-mile dirt road into the wilderness to a single footbridge. The national park service gives you an audio tour guide to listen to for entertainment, and if you listen carefully, there is a little surprising excursion suggested for the adrenaline seekers, but it’s a little risky so I won’t reveal anything. You’ll just have to go and figure out what it is for yourself. Once you reach the end of the road there is no way for visitors to cross the bridge in a vehicle, you have to walk. Residents are the only ones who are allowed a car in the town and they use a separate bridge. There are two places you are allowed to park: the first is free, but it’s a quarter mile away from the bridge, and the other is a paid parking for about $10 right next to the bridge. My parents chose the first one. Once to the bridge, there are two ways to get to McCarthy and Kennecott. You can either walk for free or ride the summer shuttle for $5 one way. So we walked to McCarthy which was a half mile walk.

McCarthy is a cute, rustic mountain town with a few restaurants and shops. I called it the town of dogs because there were so many dogs running around– pure heaven. We spent time there and ate lunch, then decided to go up to Kennecott. It’s a five-mile trip to Kennecott, so thankfully my dad chose to ride the shuttle there and back. Kennecott is more of a tourist destination. It has a large historic mill with exhibits and tours you can go on. There is a beautiful lodge available to stay in with a cafe, and a few gift shops for your shopping pleasure.

For a more exciting adventure, there is a four and a half mile round trip hike to the Root Glacier. This rugged adventure will take you over waterfalls, up and down steep terrain, and a hike directly on a huge glacier. Make sure you wear good hiking boots or grab a pair of spikes from the visitor center before you head out. My dad and I hiked about a half mile on the glacier, but you can go as far back as you want. Being surrounded by all that ice and mountains really made me feel small, but so awe inspired at the same time. You could hear the calving of glacier ice in the distance and the sound of all the birds in the trees. It was peaceful, quiet and just a beautiful place.

Once we got back to town, we tried out one of the restaurants: The Golden Saloon and enjoyed a nice evening walk back to our car. So we walked over 7 miles in one day. That is not a lot in hindsight, but it was still an exhausting and incredible day.

This simple town gave me a new outlook on life. Most people in this day and age take a lot for granted. The people of McCarthy and Kennecott work hard and cherish everything they have. They work hard for the land and property they own but still understand the importance of adventure and quality of life. They live away from all the hustle and bustle of the modern world and live at a slower pace. They know how to fully support themselves, enjoy their life and take care of the world they live in. This is by far one of my favorite places I have visited.

How I Stumbled Upon The Largest National Park In The U.S.

Now let me start this off by stating that my navigational skills are pretty good. I can usually find my way around using only road signs or a map. My dad wanted me to guide our adventure using a Milepost book for Alaska. These books are useful in that they show you everything at each mile post of the road you are on. So as we are driving I had to literally follow the book word for word. Since we didn’t take the ferry to Valdez, we decided to drive instead.

img_8477
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Sign: By Colleen Ducat

Taking a left turn at the town of Glennallen, AK it’s a two hour drive to Valdez. As we are driving down the highway, I’m following the book with good confidence. Each mile post was on point with the book– or so I thought. About 15 minutes later we come across the large sign that says “Wrangell-St. Elias National Park” . My dad and I voiced the same question in unison, “What is Wrangell-St. Elias?” I looked at the milepost book, and it showed nothing about the park or the visitor center– after we went in the visitor center, I found it three pages ahead in the book. We later learned that it is the largest national park in the United States spanning 13.2 million acres. That’s right, millions! How could I miss this huge chunk of land you ask? Well I’m still trying to figure that out. We decided to check out the park on our way back from Valdez.

img_8380
Worthington Glacier, Valdez, AK: By Colleen Ducat

So we kept driving south, and came up on the Worthington Glacier about twenty minutes north of Valdez, AK. This was the first glacier I have ever hiked on. It was a tough hike to just the base of the glacier, but so worth the view. The valley of rivers and mountains with a rainbow over head made it the perfect location. Stunning views and great memories were the reward. We made it to Valdez, and spent the night and part of the next day there just exploring the town. There is nice stores, a few museums that talk about the earthquake that destroyed the town in 1964, and the boardwalk to take a nice walk on. We didn’t really do much here as we were saving for a bigger adventure. So by the after noon, we started our way back up north to explore the national park. This part of the trip was the most physically demanding parts. So much hiking and walking was done in a short time.

Our next stop: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park!

 

The Water’s Edge

Note: This post is long, but filled with so much adventure and action that you can’t skip it!

The next part of our trip, we made our way to the southern part of Alaska. Homer, Kenai National Park, Seward, and Whittier are the main destinations along the Gulf of Alaska and we went to them all in a week. This is one of the most beautiful areas I have ever witnessed. The sea, marine lifestyle, mountains, and the silvery grey skies created a peaceful experience. This was probably the most eventful part of the Alaskan part of our trip, that was filled with so many amazing adventures. The whole area is picturesque. All these places had most of the same things in common. Small seaside town, great views, doesn’t look like much is going on, but surprises the heck out of you!

Each of these places boasts incredible views, great seafood and a selection of adventurous activities. Homer was beautiful, we camped right on the water, on the north end of The Homer Spit. The spit is 4.5 miles long, with a few campgrounds, and a cozy seaside town with shops and restaurants. This strip of land is surrounded by water of the Kachemak Bay, and the Kenai Mountain range. This town is a popular fishing town, as well as a tourist destination.

Kenai_Mountains
Kenai Mountains, Homer AK: By Colleen Ducat

Our next stop was Seward and the Kenai National Park. The Seward port is a popular fishing town, as well as tourist destination. Thrill seekers come here for the number of activities they can try. Kayaking and boat cruises being the most sought out. I was able to go on a little kayaking trip with my parents provided by Miller’s Landing: A locally owned adventure company that takes you on a variety of guided water tours. Our guide took us around Tonsina Beach, a nice forested, secluded area. We were able to paddle around all the rocks, and try sea pickles, which is just seaweed that’s been fermented by the saltwater. There is also a little yurt rental place which is pretty cool. Our guide threw in a little extra treat and took us to Humpy Cove. There you can paddle by the few abandoned and empty cabins hidden among the trees. Continue all the way back and you can see a large waterfall that drops into crystal clear water, and is probably the most fresh water I’ve ever tasted. On the way back from our adventure we were picked up by our water taxi that dropped us off. We were joined by porpoises that played in the waves of the boat. Such an amazing experience.

img_8141
Humpy Cove Waterfall: By Colleen Ducat

A little ways outside of Seward is the Kenai Fjords National Park. Hiking and kayaking are the main draws to this scenic wonderland. One of the main attractions is the hike to the Exit Glacier. There are a series of hikes for the length of time and how far up you want to go. This is bear country, so be bear aware! Make sure you have proper footwear and clothing as it is rainy, wet, and cold most of the year. This glacier runs down from the Harding Ice Field which spans the Kenai Mountains. This is a beautiful hike that gets you really close to the glacier. A must see stop on your Alaskan Adventure.

The last stop on this list was Whittier Alaska. There is exactly three ways you can get to Whittier. One by boat, two you can hike in over the mountain pass or three (depending on the lane you are in) wait an hour to go through the multi-purpose train and car tunnel. One tunnel that changes direction of traffic every thirty minutes, except when the train comes, then you wait longer. The cool thought about it is you’re literally driving on train tracks through the base of a mountain going twenty-five miles per hour. When you make it to the other end you see the face of a train waiting on the other side. It’s a little unnerving. Now this small town, and I’m talking really small, doesn’t look like much. It has a good fishing economy and it’s a tourist port for Alaskan cruises, but other than that the activities in the town are pretty non-existent. The real action is out on the water. Now the only reason we even went to Whittier was to catch a ferry to Valdez, AK, but that would have ended up being a really big cost with little reward. So after a few hours of exploring the town and deciding what to do, we found this water taxi/ glacier tour guide called Epic Charters run by Brooke Whip and his wife Christina. It cost about the same as the big one way ferry, but it packed so much more action. We took an eight-hour round-trip boat ride across Port Wells, on the Prince Edward Sound, to the College Fjord.

img_8270-1
Harvard Glacier, College Fjord: By Colleen Ducat

Spectacular views of glaciers and wildlife. We got up close and personal to the glaciers, and had some fun watching whales, sea otter and sea lions play in the water. We filled up a cooler full of ice that was over ten thousand years old. We learned that the clear ice is the oldest. Our tour guide gave us the full experience and got right up close to the Harvard Glacier. It looked as if we were right next to it, but were still six miles away!

Brooke explained that we perceive things to be smaller and closer than they are. The base of the glacier we were at was the equivalent of a forty-story building, and it gets taller and wider the farther you go back. Just imagine the wave of a collapsing skyscraper. Six miles was the safety zone. This is the moment that I realized how big the world is, and there are larger things out there. So be aware, that there are many small and seemingly boring towns in Alaska, but some of the best adventures are not in plain sight, you have to go on a scavenger hunt. It may not be what you had in mind, but might just be something you didn’t know you were looking for. Until one minute you just decide “what the heck, why not?” and then you’re off on an amazing adventure, experiencing something magnificent.

img_8296
Vassar Glacier, College Fjord: By Colleen Ducat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denali it all you want

 

img_8087
Denali through binoculars: Photo by Bill Ducat

After our trek to the Arctic, we headed south to visit Denali National Park. Home to the tallest mountain in North America coming in at a height of 20,310 feet above sea level. This is an absolutely beautiful park filled with mountains, rivers, and wildlife in abundance. Even on an overcast and rainy day, this is a stunning expanse of land. So wild and natural that it seems untouched by man. The only way to enter the park is either on a bus tour or on a hike. During our visit to the park, my parents and I took a six-hour bus tour through half of the park. We did not get to go all the way to Denali; however, we saw so much beauty and wildlife that it was totally fine. Among the various animals were elk, moose, and doll sheep. No bears were seen, unfortunately, but most bears can be spotted along most of the roadways all over Alaska and Canada.

 

 

img_1655
Female moose: Photo by Colleen Ducat

You can Denali it all you want (see what I did there?) but this place is simply amazing, and a must-see stop on any Alaskan journey. After we left Denali National Park, we headed toward Wasilla, AK to meet up with some friends, but halfway there, my dad suddenly pulled into an overlook that was staring right at Denali. Unfortunately, the same cloud cover that we had during our visit to the park, was still covering the mountains. Geoffrey Chaucer was right when he said “patience is a virtue,” because if it wasn’t for my dad, and his ability to sit and wait for something to happen, we would have never seen even the smallest portion of Denali peaking through the clouds. It took about 5 hours to see just that small piece that we did. Even though we didn’t get to experience the full view of Denali, it gave us a reason to come back.

 

 

img_1692
Iditarod Sled Dog Headquarters: Photo by Bill Ducat

We took two days in Wasilla, AK to visit friends and recuperate from the long drive. Our friends gave us many more suggestions on where to go on our way south. A little fun activity: if you visit Wasilla, make sure you stop in at the Iditarod Sled Dog Headquarters so you can cuddle with some adorable puppies. You can even go on a sled ride for about ten dollars. I suggest going in the morning when they open for maximum puppy time because it does get crowded. If you love dogs as much as I do, then this is a must stop destination.

 

Hidden Treasures

We started the trek to Alaska by crossing the border into Canada. We were met with so many pleasant surprises along the way. British Columbia is a province with many large and small cities within its vast acreage but between each city is miles and miles of beautiful country. I saw an abundance of rivers, mountains and wildlife: bears, moose, and eagles to name a few. My dad asked me to be the navigator of the trip. He wanted me to find unique places to visit, and within a day of driving through British Columbia, we found two fantastic waterfalls– Shannon Falls, the third tallest waterfall in Canada; and Nairn Falls, Provincial Park. This unplanned exploring provoked us to explore all the places we traveled to and find all the hidden gems they had to offer.

To be able to go on this length of trip, you need to consider a budget. This leads to finding free or inexpensive places to sleep. Since we were in an RV, it was a little trickier. Luckily, British Columbia has a series of hydro recreation areas with free camping. Outside the little town of Lillooet, British Columbia sits the Hydro Seton Lake campsite: One of the best free campsites I have ever stayed in. surrounded by mountains and rivers in the wilderness.

British Columbia was not what we were expecting. My dad thought it would be a quick drive through the province, like that of some of our fly over states; however, we ended up exploring British Columbia for nineteen days. In that time, we ventured to every place that was on our route to Alaska. Witnessed my first glacier—The Salmon Glacier– in the extremely small town of Hyder, Alaska, jointed by the town of Stewart, BC. There are no customs to get into that part of Alaska, since the only way out is back through Canada.  This was just a teaser of what the rest of Alaska was like. After spending a week exploring south east British Columbia, we pushed northbound to the Alaskan/Canadian border.

Blog Promotion

cropped-we-did-it-our-way
we did it our way blog photo: by authors Carine and Derek

Hello dear readers, I would like to take a moment to tell you about another blog I love. If you like my work, then head over to this site for more content you’d love. If you love travel, and adventure there are many cool blogs out there to choose from; however, if you seek something more fulfilling and inspiring, then I am suggesting this amazing blog. You will love every word of it, and want to keep reading. I know I do.

The blog, “we did our way” is written by Carine and Derek, two world travelers that live their life to the fullest. They promote living your best life, and that is ultimately my goal as well. These two have been to so many amazing places, and have so many stories to tell. We all have our own unique story. It’s just a matter of actually taking the steps necessary to achieve our goals. Carine and Derek inspire people to do just that.

These two knew they wanted to see the world and explore. So they made the decision to put their home lives on hold and take an adventure. They chose to do what they want while they still can, so they dropped everything and are living their best life. Carine and Derek inspire and strive to make dreams to become reality. Go check them out for funny and inspiring content that will lift your spirits!