10 Great Things About Alaska Living
10 Great Reasons to Live in Alaska
Some of my favorite hubs have come from Ryan's questions or requests - and here's another one that feels like home. Having once lived in Alaska for three years, in addition to going back for a month or more at a time whenever possible, this is a question I could answer: Name 10 great reasons to live in Alaska. Oh yeah, this I can do. I also encourage readers to go through this hub to the bottom, because there are some amazing Alaska photographs, mostly by my good buddy Tom Shover, who really should get a professional website I can refer people to (hint). Alaska is an incredible state, and I tell people it is both far more common and normal than you would expect, and wilder and crazier than you can imagine all at the same time. Yes, they have electricity. And yes, in town there is indoor plumbing. Alaska is incredibly beautiful, and I am forever changed for having lived there, for knowing the people, and for having some of the greatest adventures of my lifetime so far. There are also other links to my Alaska pages, such as the one talking about my daily life in Fairbanks Alaska for those interested.
Alaska PhotographsClick thumbnail to view full-size
#1: The Land Is One of a Kind
Alaska has earned the nickname "The Last Frontier," and it is one of the great unexplored areas left in the world. Alaska is by far and away the largest state in the Union and is over twice the size of Texas. Despite the sheer size, the majority of the state is unexplored. Alaska has the fewest miles of highway of any state, and many people who visit are amazed how little roadways there are. It is the most undeveloped state by far, and there simply are not that many roads, especially once you get into the Interior. Once in the Interior it's pretty much the Richardson Highway or the Alaska Highway until you hit an actual town or city and that's it. You don't see gravel roads, you don't see tons of small towns, the land is wild. It's also beautiful in a very understated way in the Interior, while the glaciers of the coast can be straight out awe inspiring. From glaciers and mountains to swamps and forests, rivers and lakes to the mountains and Arctic north, there are many features to Alaska that make the land one of a kind, wild, and beautiful in ways that are hard to describe until you've seen and experienced it for yourself.
Alaska Hunting & Fishing Resources from Amazon
#2: Can't Beat the Hunting and Fishing in Alaska
The title of this section says it all. Alaska has some of the best fishing in the world for five species of salmon, lake trout, Arctic Char, Arctic Grayling, and Halibut. There is also excellent northern pike and Dolly Varden fishing, and there are even steelhead fishing seasons and areas being stocked with thriving populations of rainbow trout. The town of Homer is known as the Halibut fishing capital of the world, and fans of northern pike will find there are no fishing limits on these in many areas because they are an invasive species in large parts of the state. The hunting is second to none, as well. While moose and bear might be the most well known, there is also hunting for wolverines, caribou, mountain goats, wolves, and muskox. Finding a good fishing hole or hunting grounds isn't hard at all in the state, and both of these attract tourists from around the world.
#3: The People Are One of a Kind, Too
Alaskans are uniquely and awesomely one of a kind. Giant beards abound, but there are just as many guys who are clean shaven. Broomball is a favorite intramural sport among locals, and is as fun to watch in the winter as it is to play. Locals in the Interior are ridiculously amazing at riding bicycles, and you see some incredible sharp turns made just from leaning body weight, no hands. In addition, I even saw one of those old fashioned bikes in person, the ones with giant front wheels where the cyclist's ankle is at the same level as your eyes. That was freaking cool. People like to fish, ride four wheelers, and if you find a couple of pilots or construction guys from the pipeline days, buy them some drinks and listen to some of the most incredible stories you've ever heard. These can range from bush pilots who made a million taking booze out to the bush, and then blew it partying in the aftermath, to guys who were hired security for wild towns, to one I heard about a bear getting into the water laced with LSD. The people are uniquely themselves, and you're really missing out on the experience of Alaska if you don't talk to them first hand.
Cheap Alaska Souvenirs from Amazon
#4: Always Something to See
You can't possibly see everything there is to see in Alaska. Not in one trip, and I'd argue not in one hundred. When a simple rest stop on the Kenai can offer break taking beauty from nature and incredibly peaceful views, how much more amazing are the State and National Parks? The Kenai itself is incredible, much less Kodiak Island, the Interior, Denali, Anchorage, the Southeast - and that's not even getting to the northern mountains or the Arctic. The nature is beautiful, there are many hiking trails to hike, fishing holes to fish, and a wide array of places and people worth seeing. Alaska has a thriving culture, and Native art and tradition remains strong in many areas. No matter where you are or during what season, there is always something new to see in Alaska. Even in my third year living in Fairbanks I was finding places that blew me away and would take a year to explore just the small sections in and of themselves.
#5: Amazing History
Alaska's history is hard to compete with. From the onion domes and Russian Orthodox influenced architecture in Soldotna and Sitka, to the annual running of the Iditarod, or a visit to the amazing Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska has an incredible living history that has a lot to offer visitors and residents alike. Museums on the Pipeline, the gold mine, and local Native culture abound, giving visitors a real taste of the intense and amazing history of the 49th state.
Some Local Alaska Wildlife
#6: Wildlife Viewing
If you spend any amount of time outside of Anchorage, you're likely to see some impressive wildlife. Moose are much bigger than most people imagine, and are just another part of life in Alaska. They're easy to spot and tend to amble along wherever they seem fit. Bears aren't quite as common, but if you go on a boat or take the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks there is a good chance that you might catch a glimpse of a black bear somewhere along the way. There are many whale seeing tours offered by boat, and if you catch the rivers during the salmon runs it can be right out amazing to watch. There are many different types of wildlife to see, and wildlife viewing captures the attention of hundreds of thousands of tourists a year.
#7: Always More Adventures
There are various "adventures" for every level of traveler. For some people, seeing a whale from a paid cruise might be an exciting experience, or taking the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks (or back) and seeing incredible scenery might be enough ((and nothing wrong with this - I recommend it to anyone visiting the state who hasn't gone)). For others, hiking a challenging trail that you can only get to via water taxi and spending two days hiking to a glacier and back is more along your style. Others may want to visit during the winter to play ice golf on the frozen lakes, or compete in one of many crazy races that have gained state and national attention for their challenging routes, or complete lack of routes through wild terrain. There are extreme adventures, there are "easy" adventures, and there is everything in between in Alaska.
#8: No Taxes, State Dividend
One top notch reason to live in Alaska, and one that gets a lot of airtime, is the Permanent Dividend Fund, or PDF. This is the state's share of the profits from the oil pipe line, and is the reason that there is no income tax in Alaska, and every single resident gets an annual check for there share. This checks can range from $700 to $2,000 a person depending on the price of oil that year, and this goes for children and minors, as well. Saving for retirement is a lot easier when you can put those yearly checks right into an IRA account. The lack of state income tax is also nice for those of us who are used to having to pay 5% or more per year. The two are connected hand in hand, and the PDF fund is the reason there is no need for taxes and why the individual checks are sent out every year to residents.
Summer in Coastal Alaska: Montage Video
#9: The Summers Are Paradise
There is nothing like a summer in Alaska. Seriously, daylight 24/7, a huge surge of seemingly endless energy that comes from being in that environment, and a beautiful state full of energetic and friendly people up at all hours of the day enjoying it. The Midnight Baseball game is a baseball game that starts at Midnight and uses no lights. Yes, summers are that bright. Cabin parties abound, campsites are filled with grilling salmon, burgers, caribou, moose, and bear and the world seems joyful and the possibilities endless. Because the sun doesn't go down, it even somehow feels like it's going to last forever. Believe me, after 7 months of winter or semi-winter, Alaskans love to cut loose and we would make up for it in those three months when the sun doesn't set and there's always someone up for another 4 a.m. adventure. Summers up there are paradise.
Video Northern Lights Alaska
#10: Alaska's Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, are one of the most beautiful natural features you can see anywhere in the world. No video can capture just how beautiful and amazing these lights are. Around Fairbanks these are most often green, blue, or some shade of the two. However there are also times when the lights are yellow, orange, and even the rare red (which is gorgeous beyond belief). Often times the lights can even be in combination of these colors, or shift from one to the other. The colors can appear "thick" like a river, having various depths and a constant movement that isn't just twinkling but also flowing, expanding, contracting, and moving in every shape and form. The colors are incredible, and the movement just as much. They often appear with a little hint, some movement in the sky that looks a little different, looks like it might be something, then it explodes in full glory and retreats so suddenly the silence and emptiness seems incredible, and even hallowed. They're incredible beyond belief, and unlike anything I've ever seen before.
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