First, empty your mind of the images of frozen wasteland and penguins. Dismiss the blowing snow and igloos. Allow the preconceived notions of ice and mushing dogs to slide away.
Second you need to stop believing maps. Alaska is NOT below California on the left. It is not directly below Hawaii, either. Geographically, Alaska is on the left side of Canada. Got it?
OK now that we've got that in your mind, there are a few facts that I need to tell you:
Yes - we communicate with telephones, computers, email and regular snail mail. We have FedEx, UPS and all sorts of interesting things. We don't live in igloos. In fact I don't even think the native tribes still know how to build one.
No... I don't dogsled to work.
In pictures, I can tell you some things:
Anchorage - is a normal city. It has tall buildings, traffic and a bunch of crime - but it's also a helluva a lot of fun. Chilkoot's is the place to go if you want to go out - just watch out for the sawdust on the floor - and the bouncers. Malls, stores, car dealerships, bums... Just like any other downtown USA... And probably any other downtown around the world.
Now then, there are the outdoors. I have never seen such lovely places as there are in Alaska. Green, lush - almost tropical in the summer... Maybe not the same temperatures - but almost tropical... Or perhaps the word I am looking for is Rain Forrest.
Of course, there are lovely Aurora Borealis light shows every few days or weeks Wonderful light shows in the skies. They happen late fall and early winter - since there is a lot of sunlight in the summer and less sunlight in the winter. We have days when there are only 4 - 5 hours of sunlight during the day in winter. Pretty awesome if you ask me.
The dogs run in the summer and in the winter - and not everyone owns a set of them... And not every dog is a mushing dog --- Some people own pomeranians or poodles or dalmations... And they would never tie them up in a line. Lots of black labs... German Shepherds, etc. And kitties and birds and snakes... whatever your favorite pet is - a lot of the folks here have it.
To be honest - I only have to walk a block to see a view like this. Or drive a few miles to walk across trails. I'm not an avid outdoors freak - but I love seeing it from my own windows. This particular picture is from Afognak Island. Not too far from where I live. This picture was probably taken mid May or June. It's a State of Alaska Picture - and it is pretty representative of a lot of Alaska... Alaska anywhere during the summer.
There are a ton of waterfalls in Alaska. Just open your eyes. The island I live on has thousands of them in the summer. I love driving down the road and just stopping - amazed at the beauty of them... listening to them crash into life.
A view of the town where I live.... during the summer.
Yes. We do have winters - and yes, they are very long.
But Alaska is nothing like what most people think of... Blowing snow - penguins marching - igloos and dogsleds to work. (Ahem - I need to clarify - SOUTH POLE is where the penguins are...)
Any questions? Anything you want to know?
Like what are the flight times? LOL!