I am participating in a blog challenge this month. It is 30 Days About Me from the blog a Daily Dose of Toni. Each day we share a little bit about ourselves to meet new people and share ideas. It has been a great month!
Today’s topic is talk about where we live.
As many of my rabid readers know, I am an Alaskan transplant. I have been living in the Great White North just over a year now. In a nutshell–
My life is better than your vacation.
I live in Willow, Alaska. It is the mushing capital of the world. There are more mushers and races in this hamlet than probably anywhere in the world.
Willow only has 2500 (or so) residents. It is located about an hour and a half north of Anchorage and about two and a half hours from Denali National Park. In fact, I have a beautiful view of North America’s tallest peak from my huge windows in my house, that we have affectionately called Forto’s Fort.
I have written a lot about Fort’s Fort over the past year and you can read about it on this blog but there are always new things to share.
While it is still in the heat of summer with 90 degree temperatures Outside (the Lower 48) it is in the 50s here with cool night and drizzly days. Fall is in the air here. The birch trees are slowly turning yellow and I saw my first flying V of geese heading south just the other day.
I live on four and a half acres that backs up to state and national forest that has trails right out my back door to run sled dogs. This wooded area stretches literally to the end of the earth. If you look northeast on Google Maps from my property there is not another town until the arctic ocean.
Willow is the home of the Iditarod re-start, the Winter Carnival, and used to be an old mining town back before Alaska was a state. In fact several years ago they wanted to move the state capital here instead of Juneau.
I live 40 minutes from the nearest grocery store and the amenities of the “city”. This city is the town of Wasilla. Yep, thats right, the town that Sarah Palin built. A lot of people get mad at me when I say that but when she was mayor of this little town of 10,000 she was instrumental in bringing in the infrastructure to sway Home Depot and other large businesses to the area.
Alaska is like no other place on earth. Not only is the weather sometimes brutal–last year I ran sled dogs at -32 degrees. There is a saying that “Alaskans do things different.” They do. Life is a little slower, less hurried than the big cities which I have lived most of my life.
We are hard working people and we take advantage of what Alaska has to offer including the midnight sun in the summers. In June and July it is light outside almost 24 hours a day. During this time you will find many Alaskans working and playing late into the night. We can get more done after work than many Outside can do in a weekend.
In the winter it is just the opposite in terms of daylight with only 4 or 5 hours of visible light. This took more getting used to than the constant sunlight. Up here there are hundreds of little coffee huts, many of them open 24 hours a day, serving Alaskans the java to keep going in the summer and keep us awake in the dead of winter.
While I can cross the highway, just a short walk from my house, and be in the middle of nowhere and in the wilds of Alaska–we have all the amenities of everywhere else. People ask me all the time if there are polar bears? No. There isn’t a polar bear within 500 miles but there are plenty of moose, black bear, bald eagles and mosquitos so big they could carry you away in the summer. We have three foot salmon in our creeks and rivers, rafting, hiking, downhill skiing, camping and plenty of festivals and farmers markets.
Alaska is an outdoor lovers paradise.
We are four hours time difference from the east coast so Monday Night Football starts at 3:30 in the afternoon but is over just after dinner time. People eat breakfast while watching the games on Sunday instead of beer and brats. The stock market closes just after lunch time but actually opens here in the middle of the night. A few months ago the Today Show was up here filming at 3 am for a live feed in the east coast.
We have daily earthquakes, feeling my first one a month or so ago. Most of these occur in the less populated areas. Speaking of the populated areas–Alaska is 1/5th the size of the U.S. but really we only have about 450 miles of highway from Seward to Fairbanks. Sure there are many roads that spur off from this highway, but more than 3/4 of the state is off the road system. This is called the bush. This area is only accessible by plane.
We have tour bus and RV caravans full of visitors. All of them trying to capture the mystique of this great state.
Many find it. Some never leave. Alaska truly is the Last Frontier and I am glad to live here.