Living in Alaska: Life in the Far North
Living in Alaska, in America’s last frontier, is something I always dreamed of. I grew up hearing stories about how awe-inspiring, or completely breath-taking it was. It seemed like I would bump into people who had traveled or lived here almost weekly at times. I was privileged to know one elderly woman who worked in Skagway as a teenager, and another woman who lived in Kodiak, but wintered in the Midwest. I would listen to their stories of how beautiful it was here, how huge the mountains were and how much wildlife there was. They would tell me about the salmon runs, the glaciers and the wide-open wilderness.
I don’t mean to sound like too much of a sap or anything, but I was wide-eyed with wonder and completely sold out to the idea of living in Alaska, site-unseen.
Living the Alaskan Dream
A decade or so later, my family and I live here, in the “Great Land”. I can’t believe it! The journey here hasn’t been as simple as my teenage dreams (moving to Alaska was a huge adventure in itself, by far the scariest thing we’ve done, but an amazing experience) but it’s been worth it. Living in Alaska has been more than I could have dreamed. We absolutely love it! I feel like we were made to live here.
The Perks of Living in Alaska
There are definitely a lot of advantages to living in Alaska. I’ll skirt around some obvious, well-publicized perks at the moment (like Alaska paying you to live here, kind of), and move to some of my personal favorites.
- Mountains… I know they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s not many places where you are surrounded by towering, majestic peaks. Seriously, I see two different mountain ranges on my drive out of our neighborhood every day! From most of Palmer and Wasilla, you can see the Talkeetna Range, the Chugach Range and on a really clear day, the Alaska Range. Alaska mountains are some of the most amazing I’ve seen. They seem to tower over you. I can’t do them justice, you’ll just have to come visit and experience it for yourself.
- The People and the Pace… Life really is slower up here, especially outside of the big towns. There are a lot of people here who chose to be, and that makes happy people. Sure, every place has people who got stuck, or want to be somewhere else, but overall, Alaskans love Alaska! Everyone is more casual, more relaxed, and full of people truly living life.
- Wildlife… Wildlife abounds in Alaska! We see moose pretty frequently, sometimes three times a week (in our yard). We also have ground squirrels and marmots at the higher elevations, ravens the size of chickens, eagles, salmon, bears (black and brown) and wolves. And that’s just here in the Mat-Su Valley! Expand that boundary to the rest of the state, and you add polar bears, caribou, musk oxen, seals, sea lions, whales (humpback, orca and porpoise) and much more!
- Hunting and Fishing… Once you are officially a resident of Alaska for 1 year, you qualify for Personal Use tags. We get to dipnet for sockeye salmon (Reds) every year. Last year, we got 45 fresh, Kenai River Reds that lasted us all year! Those would go for $9/lb+ at the store. The crazy thing is, our family of four is allowed up to 55! There are also harvest tags for moose, bear, caribou and sheep. This is a great benefit for residents, keeping our freezers full through the year.
And There’s So Much More!
There’s way too much to include right here about Living in Alaska, but suffice it say it truly is dream come true for us to be a part of this place and its people.