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Welcome to those visiting from Blogtrotting! We are glad to have you here and hope you will learn a little bit about our new state of residence, Alaska.
For my regular readers, Blogtrotting is a great blog with bloggers around the world taking turns sharing about their part of the world. It’s a great opportunity to see the world from your home.
Our family just moved to Alaska from Maryland at the beginning of January. We arrived just after the darkest days of the year and it took a while to get used to it getting light close to 10 a.m. and dark around 4 p.m. Thankfully, the change in daylight occurs pretty quickly. So by the time we moved into our new home, the days started around breakfast time and ended near dinner time. But, by June the days were long enough that it never really got dark at all.
We live in the Municipality of Anchorage, the most densely populated area of Alaska. However, it feels far less crowded than our previous area of northern Maryland or even where we lived in NE Ohio! Traffic can become problematic here at times as there is only one road going out of Anchorage. If there is an accident or weather related blockage, then you are essentially stuck.
When someone says “Alaska” what comes to mind?
Here are a few things that came to our family’s minds while planning for our move….
Mount McKinley, also called Denali, is the highest peak in North America. Every year people attempt to scale to the summit, with only a subset of those reaching their goal. It is NOT an easy hike, and most likely a hike our family will never make. However, we do plan to visit the park and hopefully glimpse wildlife in their natural habitat.
Anchorage is bordered on the eastern side by the Chugach Mountain Range. We live on the lower hillside of one mountain located north of Anchorage proper. The photo above was taken near the airstrip on Elmendorf Air Force Base side of JBER. Now that it is summer, the snow is melted even at the tops. However, on the eastern side of this mountain range you can find glaciers that stay frozen year-round!
Did you know that within several of the mountain ranges in Alaska, you will find active volcanoes? Earthquakes are also a common occurrence. We didn’t start to really notice them until we had unpacked the china and crystal. A decent earthquake gets them shaking and we’ve even seen the ceiling fan shake during stronger ones.
Many different animals may pop to mind when you think about Alaska and wildlife. The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage showcases many of these as well as acting as a rehabilitation center. You can read about our visit to the Zoo and watch a somewhat long slideshow of the animals we saw there.
We have seen Bald Eagles, the United States’ bird, in both an education setting and in nature. We got to see a few injured birds on a field trip to the Wildlife Center on Elmendorf. And, a walk along the boardwalks at Potter Marsh allowed us to snap a photo of one hunting for supper.
While we’ve seen signs (scat and scratched trees) and heard of sightings near our house, we have NOT seen a bear in the wild. Well, Mr. O did see one on his drive to work a few weeks back. But, no one else in the house has seen a bear outside the zoo. Both black and brown bears make their home in the area.
Throughout the warmer months, you can find classes about living in Bear Country. What you do in a bear encounter depends upon the type of bear and how they are behaving. The photo below is of an informational plaque at the Alaska Zoo.
Another large animal that requires some ‘safety planning’ when going out of the house is the moose. We have had a few visits from moose in our yard and have seen them all around the area.
It was shortly after the visit from Mama Moose and her young calf that there was a bear sighting about 200 yards from our house. Bears sure do like to follow their potential meals!
There are plenty of other animals throughout the area. One that is getting a bit more attention at the moment are salmon. Many Alaskan residents head out during the month of July to dip net where the salmon are ‘running’. Dip netting is over, but you can still catch the salmon with a rod and reel. You just need to be aware of your surroundings as the bear are also out ‘fishing’ for their dinner!
Aside from Anchorage, other cities with larger populations are Juneau (the capital) and Fairbanks. Most everywhere else in Alaska is known as ‘the bush’ with lots of smaller communities scattered here and there. Some of the locations people visit are accessible only by small plane (flown by bush pilots.) There’s even a long string of islands (Aleutian Islands) that seem to almost reach to Asia.
Getting to Alaska happens by boat, plane or driving the Alcan (Alaska Canada Highway).
As our move was during the middle of winter, we flew from Philadelphia to Anchorage via Minneapolis. You can see photos of the move in a previous post.
If this post has wet your appetite to learn more about the Great State of Alaska, you might find the following sites of interest. There’s so much more I could write about (e.g. the Iditarod race that happens every March), but I’ll leave it to you to delve a little deeper.
http://milepost.com/ where you can see more about the Alcan highway
http://www.muni.org/pages/default.aspx about the Anchorage Municipality
Don’t forget to come back here to visit as we are chronicling our Alaskan Adventure here at Day by Day in Our World! Posts about our life in Alaska are tagged by Alaska.