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Discovering Alaska…

July 14, 2013

P1020765The road of life for each of us is as varied and different as there are people on this earth. The road to “finding” Alaska is also varied but here many of the people that settle in Alaska traveled the same road to get here. Some come to Alaska as visitors/tourists and often don’t realize while they are here that they will return and never leave. Others come up here to serve in the military and find a place that fits their needs and desires perfectly. Then lastly you have people like myself that came to Alaska to do a job, and while they are here the total Alaska slowly seeps into their blood, grabs them and never lets them go.


If you look at the background on these ‘new’ Alaskans you will find again a varied eclectic mix of backgrounds. As for myself I would never have dreamed that I would end up living in some remote wilderness cabin. This is based on almost 49 years of living in the city of Philadelphia, and having an affection/need for hot running water, electricity and well just plane old civilization. So just how did this transformation take place?

Yes Alaska has more outdoors than any other state in the country. It has more rivers, streams, mountains and wild animals than most of the United States combined, but that to me is only the icing on the cake, so to speak. I have often sat looking out across the valley floor wondering just why I chose to live here. If you remove the majestic panoramas and the jaw dropping snow capped mountains what indeed is left?

To me its the people and the freedom that I found as I traveled the state on my first visit. The people because they were totally open and honest, unlike any I ever encountered back East. It was basically what you see is what you get with every person I met that first year. I have a habit of being wrong much of the time but I attribute this open/honesty to their rushed summer and long winter where they have to get their work done as quickly as possible and didn’t have time to ‘play games’. When you interact with them and asked them something they told you what they thought without the filter of wondering if you would be offended. This was the main thing that endeared me to Alaska, unbridled open honesty.

The ‘freedom’ I speak of comes with there being 571,951 square miles of wilderness and way less than a million people to share it, with most of them living in one city. If you had the mind to you could go practically anywhere and set up a new life for yourself, free from the constant of neighbors, or government. It was a freedom to say you believe in God and the constitution and that you didn’t want to live near someone who didn’t think the way you did.

Now after 18 years I may be wanting to spend more time with family

but I will never regret the opportunity to

walk amongst people who live free

in this place touched by the hand of God.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2013 2:01 pm

    I concluded once or twice that there’s more to life than Alaska. I packed up and left, intending to broaden my horizons and experience another life. I confess I’ve done it several times, and have never been gone more than a year, usually less. It seldom takes me that long to know I will probably choose to live all of my life here, the rest of it just as I have since my arrival in 1959. For its damnation and cussedness, the pull is like gravity and can’t be denied – at least for me. I can get away for a time, but inevitably I return, convinced in the rightness of it. That isn’t true for everyone. There’s a lot of planet out there, some of it suited for the remainder of one’s life. For me, it’s here even though not all my family or kids are. They know well my bones will remain in Alaska, alive or bleaching on the tundra. I understand their desire not to return to the place of their upbringing; the reasons are varied; I respect what they want is unique to each of them and they feel the same about me. I look forward to ending my days, not so much in Alaska the State, but Alaska the Land. I wish you well because an individual knows what’s right for him or herself when the time comes, and that’s the most important realization of all. All credit due you.


  2. kara permalink
    July 14, 2013 3:25 pm

    i have left the state 5 times the first was for christmas with the families we had moved away from, so technicaly it was a vacation, the second was under duress and kidnapping it took me 4 years to get back to my home here,the third was me stupidly thinking i couldn’t do it it was about 3 months and i was back the 4th was to move my grandmother up here, and the 5th was to travel as far as i ever want to go england for the birth of my grandson,, i will never leave again.


  3. July 15, 2013 6:56 am

    Alaska truly is a beautiful and awe inspiring place to live. To survive a winter and still love it, truly means your an Alaskan. All other’s are just living here.

    Very inspiring post.


  4. July 16, 2013 2:59 pm

    I have to agree with you in so many ways. We lived in Alaska for 8 years and they were the best of my life so far! However, we’re doing the family thing right now while our kids are young. It’s been tough to adjust to back east, but it has had it’s blessings. We’ll see where God takes us in the future. I think Alaska will always be whispering in our ear.


  5. July 17, 2013 6:20 am

    I am pretty sure I will never make it to Alaska, but recall my grandmother telling stories of coming there with a music troupe to bring some company to the miners, this was in the early 1920’s and mostly moved around on mule, horse and in covered wagons. We even have a picture of her. It is a magical place and it is good to know there are stewards taking good care of her.


  6. July 17, 2013 2:17 pm

    Lovely post Pete!


  7. Terry permalink
    July 17, 2013 6:45 pm

    Agree – great post, Pete :-)


  8. Jon permalink
    July 17, 2013 10:10 pm

    Been reading but haven’t said anything for awhile. Pete’s posting is why I continue to read the News Miner every day & occasionally post on the Arctic Cam. It’s a way to stay in touch with my memories of living/working in Alaska & Pete,, my friend, you’ve brought it all home again.
    After 10 years, maybe next year we can travel up there. My wife wants to go to Prudhoe Bay for one thing & I want to see a little bit of SE Alaska myself. Rest assured, Pete, we’ll “threaten” you with a visit on our way to Prudhoe. I still remember our phone conversation when you were in Texas over the holidays.
    By the way, where is the beautiful pic?
    59 today.


  9. unalaska permalink
    July 23, 2013 4:53 pm

    Your heart strings are being pulled every which way, Pete.


  10. August 2, 2013 11:35 pm

    My sister whom I love dearly asked my on my last vacation when I was going to move down there. My reply not any time soon. I have no plans to leave here ever.


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