This is probably going to be the record holder for the earliest thread to die, but I’m curious. I was born and raised in Alaska. Haines, to be specific. I wonder how many Dopers were born or spent time in Alaska.
I’ve met many people who have been to Alaska, or moved to Alaska, but there aren’t that many that were born and raised there. I’d like to hear from folks that have spent a few years up there at least. (I’m feeling a little homesick during the holidays).
Hell, even if you’ve been there on a cruise, let me know where you went and how much you liked it. I’m easy!
For 30 years, I wanted to see Alaska, was DYING to see it, really. I read the Michener novels, heard the stories from natives, watched every tv show on the subject.
Then finally, I went on a cruise to Alaska.
It is no way to see such a beautiful state.
I mean, yeah, what I saw of Alaska that wasn’t created for the thousands of tourists who disembark from those massive waste-dumpers every year was amazingly beautiful, but I would never send someone on a cruise of Alaska if they were going to see it for the first time. I would tell them to find one of those tiny planes that will drop you into the wilderness for a couple of weeks of fishing and camping. Or I’d tell them to fly inland, and visit Fairbanks, or take a boat down the Yukon. Anything but a cruise ship.
For the record, I did the cruise to Juneau, where we rented kayaks to paddle closer to the Mendenhal glacier, and we saw TONS of wildlife: enormous bald eagles, dolphins, orcas, etc. We also stopped in Skagway, a cute little town with a great Old West feel, Ketchikan, a charming little fishing town, up to Hubbard glacier, and then a trip through the Misty Fiords.
A cruise is just too disconnected from Alaska and its people.
I have never been within a thousand miles of Alaska. But I’ve known a couple of Alaskans, and if they’re anything to go by, it’s a cool and quirky bunch of people up there. The Alaskans I’ve met have all been highly individualistic and adventurous types – never have I felt like such an old school “East-coaster” as when I’ve been in the presence of Alaskans. As one friend told me, everyone who can’t fit in in the East moves to California, and everyone who can’t fit into California moves to Alaska or Hawaii. So you know it’s gotta be a strange bunch of misfits up there.
Anyways, that’s my impression, and try not to disabuse me of it too much – I’d like to imagine that such a place really exists!
I’ve been to Alaska once, for two days, in March of 2000. Spent the time in Anchorage and Seward. Very disappointed to be unable to catch the Aurora Borealis, as the weather was cloudy/misty/gray both days. Still, it was an amazing experience. My family went dog-sledding, and I got to see moose walking through an urban street.
My maternal Grandfather and my Father worked construction and on the pipeline in Alaska when I was a kid. I grew up listening to my Dad recite Robert W. Service. My Great Uncle was the Chief of Police in Kodiak, and my Great Aunt was a teacher’s aid for years on the island as well. So it surprised no one in the family when I up and migrated North. I arrived on Kodiak in April 1989, immediately moved to a village, (Larsen Bay) and lived there for five years. We moved into the town of Kodiak in 1994, and we are still here!
My husband is Alutiq, and a commercial fisherman, born and raised in the village. I brought two daughters with me when I left Seattle, the youngest was four, and the oldest turned seven on the ferry. They were raised here and now both live in Anchorage, and I have had two more kids since, a fourteen year old daughter and a son who will be thirteen this week, both born in Kodiak, started out life in the village but are growing up in Kodiak. I have no plans to ever leave the State.
If you ever want to chat about the Greatest State, just shoot me an email (in my profile)!
Two years in Fairbanks in 1946-7 and I absolutely loved it. It was a crazy little town back then. Stationed in Ladd Field (long gone) and worked in 10th Search & Rescue mushing dog teams, for the purpose of rescueing downed pilots. In all that time, only one plane went down, and by the time we got there, the pilot had walked back to the Field. Rest of the time all we had to do was train with the teams. Two of us would go out with a team for a week or two while the other two took care of the rest of the dogs, and then the other two went out. Tough duty, I’ll tell ya.
A perpetual hunting and fishing paradise. I would have stayed in the service for 20 years if could have kept that duty!
It was fantastic country (except for the bomber-sized mosquitoes), and got the chance to get down to the Matanuska Valley and that was entirely different but also beautiful. Ah, the stories I could tell, but not fit for the tender ears of you youngsters.
Few years later after getting married, wanted to go back, but my wife wouldn’t hear of it.
Born in Juneau, grew up in Anchorage, graduated from West Anchorage, went to UAF for a couple of years (back then it was the ONLY UA), left for 30 years, have been back for seven. My father worked at the A-J mine as a blaster in the 30s, on the Haines cutoff, and on the Canol cutoff portion of the ALCAN. My mother retired from the State. My wife and I owned a piece of property on a high bench in Haines that overlooked Lynn Canal, but sold it before developing it. It seemed a romantic notion to retire to Haines, but came to the quick realization that we are both city people and wouldn’t be happy there for long.
In my present job, I see more remote areas of Alaska than most residents will ever see. I routinely visit the Bering and Arctic coastlines, landing in very small aircraft on dirt runways. It’s wild and primitive out there, lemme tell ya.
My family is now in its fourth generation here and rapidly approaching the fifth.
I was born and raised in Seward, and spent a couple of years in Anchorage too. All told, I spent about 21 years in Alaska before moving away for good in '95.
While it certainly is beautiful and the people are strange and interesting, I would never want to live there again. The winters are too long, and the “summers” are too short. And it’s so time consuming and expensive to visit the Lower 48 from there.
I do get homesick for it (Anchorge, in particular) once in a while. I like to check out the AlaskaCam every now and then to see a corner of my old stomping grounds.
My dad and his wife still live up there, in Moose Pass. I really need to take my family up there for a visit. It’s been too many years.
There is still a core of individualists here, those who vote the issues and the people, those who work towards consensus, who try to plan for a comprehensive and sensible future for the state. They are, regrettably, in the minority. The bygone days of the Constitutional organizers and people who said what they meant, etc. are just that.
The state is now ruled by oil and religion, in that order. Churches pop up at an alarming rate (tax-free, doncha know) and the state is now very crimson version of what it used to be. Closed-door sessions and corruption carry the day, and politicians are the end instead of the means. It’s what will drive me from here when the time comes, despite my love for the the place and many of its people, and despite the fact that nearly my entire family lives here. It saddens me to contemplate that day.
I wasn’t born in Alaska, my family moved to Fairbanks when I was six back in 1973. I went to University of Alaska-Fairbanks, graduated in 1988. I’m just about the only person I know who graduated from college in four years. I moved down to Seattle about 12 years ago and have only been back for visits since then, although both my mom and dad and sisters live in Fairbanks, my two brothers live in the Seattle area.
The biggest thing I miss now that I’m down here is the idea that you can get into your car and start driving and in 30 minutes you’ll be out in the middle of total wilderness. Yes, there’s wild country here, but drive an hour and you hit a big town, drive another hour and another big town, all the way to San Diego. The non-built up areas aren’t wilderness, they’re rural, even in Eastern Washington.