As I’m fighting to chip off the hard pack from my driveway, which is amazingly several inches thick despite the care I took to shovel after every few inches/feet of snowfall, it’s easy to add to the list of things I definitely won’t miss about living here: hard pack removal, shoveling snow, subzero temperatures for months on end, wrangling eight dog paws into dog booties for a walk, freezing skin off my hands by accidentally touching metal….Yeah.
But there are so many cool things about Alaska that I never would have gotten to do had I not lived here. Riding in a dog sled? Check. Fished for king salmon? Check. Chased by a moose? Also check.
So as my time here dwindles down (and as the amount of daylight thankfully increases) I want to focus on the coolest parts of living in Alaska.
5. Blueberry picking. I’ve had wild blueberries in other places but the wild Alaskan blueberries that ripen in the constant daylight are by far the best. They are simultaneously sweet and tart and go perfectly in homemade sourdough pancakes, or reduced down into a compote.
4. The midnight sun in the summer. People ask me if it’s really six months of light and six months of dark. It is, kind of. We still have the tilt of the Earth so it’s gradual but in the summer the sun skims below the mountains before popping back out for what seems like endless days of summer. It’s amazing. It never gets truly dark, just a little like twilight. There are baseball games at midnight, people play golf all night, and I have to dig out a sleeping mask and blackout curtains to sleep.
3. Salmon fishing. I’d never really been fishing until I moved here and went on a salmon charter and got hooked (pun intended). I LOVE fishing for salmon. The fish are huge and fight like crazy. There is nothing like fighting a fish in and landing it and then cleaning it and eating it. You appreciate it so much more.
2. No sales or income tax. The price at the store is the price you pay. Some towns have sales tax, but Fairbanks doesn’t and I love it. I also love being able to buy things online and not have tax added to it.
1. The aurora borealis. This is by far my favorite part of Alaska. While I was deployed I found myself looking up at the night sky even though I knew I would never see it there. I missed the ribbons of green and red light waving over the sky and bursting in random patterns.