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By Joseph Knowles

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Unfortunately, there are precautions to take in using the agencies. They work on commission, which means they’re being paid by the establishments you’re buying from. A good agent will disregard the size of the commission and really look out for you, but I’ve encountered so many visitors on poorly planned itineraries that I feel the need to issue a warning. Some travel agents book visitors on trips to far-flung corners of the state in quick succession, so they wind up staying only briefly in expensive places and then zoom off somewhere else, all with little concern for the visitors’ true interests.

Some areas close up tight, but the silver salmon fishing hits prime time on the Kenai Peninsula, and the season there stays active until the end of the month. A lucky visitor can come in September and hit a month of crisp, sunny, perfect weather, and have the state relatively to him- or herself. Or, it can be cold and rainy all month. Cruise ships continue to ply the Inside Passage well into October, while the sky dumps torrential rains: Ketchikan averages 22 inches and 24 rainy days in October.

Hiking off trail or voyaging in a canoe, raft or kayak, you quickly find that one mountain looks a lot like another. If you are unsure of your navigational skills, maps, or equipment, don’t go without a guide. Beyond those basics, the most important safety precautions are to go with another person and to make sure someone knows where you are and 33 when you will be back. Leave a trip plan with a person who will call rescuers if you don’t return on time. At the very least, leave a note in your car indicating where you are bound.

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