[bct] Re: Alaska

  • From: Slythy_Tove <mcg907@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 06:50:30 -0800 (PST)

You are welcome, Beth and Joni - I have to cut my observations off at times or 
I'd sound like a very long commerical for Alaska.  (smile)  I have been told 
that I should write publicity for the state advertising counsel.  I suspect it 
is only because I love it so much that I can do this.  

Where else could you have to land a jet because it was attacked by a large 
salmon while taking off from Juneau (laughter).  Moose wander into open doors 
at hospitals or homes (generally a dangerous thing, but still funny) and You 
have to keep lids on trashcans or the 2 foot tall ravens will tear open the 
bags and have the garbage all over the street?

It is a land of extremes, a land of incredible warmth of heart of the 
inhabitants and a land of incredible beauty.  

Slithy

Joni Colver <joni.colver@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: That was a fascinating description 
of Alaska.  I can understand why the 
"we're all in this together" community aspect appeals to you.  Thank you for 
sharing such priceless insights with us.

Joni
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Slythy_Tove" 
To: 
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 7:28 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: Alaska


Hi Beth,

  I moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1981 when my daughter was not quite 2 
years old.  We lived in Anchorage until 1987, when I followed the job trail 
to Fairbanks.  I got to live through one of the deepest cold-snaps on 
record, minus 55 for about 2 weeks, and the following spring (1989) we moved 
back to Anchorage where we lived until we moved to New England in early 
summer of 1996.

  I fell in love with Alaska within moments of arriving and had no intention 
of ever leaving, but Dan could not get a job there in his speciality.  We 
met over the Internet (he was a co-owner of a Pagan list and I joined it) 
and we were friends for a time before we realized we had more in common and 
then more - until he came to visit and we have never looked back from that.

  My heart will always be in Alaska in terms of where I consider home. 
There is something about that first chill of winter, when the snow falls on 
Flat-Top and the breeze comes down from the Arctic North, across the 
glaciers (now rapidly dwindling) and there is a snap in the air that is so 
different from the day before.  Winter arrives overnight.  I love the snow 
with millions of suns reflected in each small segment of it so that it 
dazzles the eyes in the day and has a soft silver glow in the moonlight.  I 
love the winds that blow in Anchorage.  They can cut you to the bone or blow 
warm air in from the tropics.  There is the scent of ocean and towering 
mountains jutting out of the sea so that you are surrounded by peaks and 
water.  The first summer I was cold and could not understand how people 
thought 70 was hot weather.  The next summer I was dying of heat prostration 
at 75 degrees.  I adapted quickly.  The people were probably the best part. 
I am a Westerner at heart, n
 ot an
 Easterner and the folks in Alaska figure we all sink or swim together.  So 
friendly, open, welcoming.  I have never quite adapted to the East coast and 
the coldness and anger here.

  I had friends who worked in Barrow and I hoped to spend a couple of years 
there after my daughter was grown and gone, but it didn't work out that way. 
All the social workers shared a house and life in the great wild north was 
only for the hardy.  Water was kept from freezing, but you turned on the ice 
shower to get wet, turned it right off, soaped and lathered, turned it back 
on to rinse off, turned it off to put on cream rinse (if you dared) and then 
rinsed again and ran with chattering teeth from the shower and into a big 
turkish towel.  I have photos of Linden wearing a Parka and mukluks, walking 
to work.  Polar bears are a problem there and consider little children 
walking snacks when they get really hungry.  Sadly, I missed the whole 
experience - yes, I'm a nut.  I like things like that.

  Fairbanks only has about 20,000 people in the city as part of the city is 
College, Alaska where the university is.  The rest live in little towns 
around there - North Pole, Salcha, Ester Dome, Fox, etc.  Not as much snow 
there, generally, colder in the winter, hot in the summer, not a lot of 
wind - actually, no wind at all.  I didn't like that.  A subarctic 
community - people pulled together a lot and you always picked up hitchikers 
in the winter or they could die.  It is the place where you plug your car in 
at night in the winter and it is hooked up to a pigtail that connects your 
battery blanket, oil pan warmer, and block heater.  The laundromat rented 
showers to people who lived out of town with no running water.   Unlike 
Anchorage, Fairbanks was subject to air inversions and serious pollution 
from wood stoves, autos and whatever else people used for running cars and 
heating homes - plus the discharge from the refinery at North Pole.  The ice 
fog is actually a dense fog
 that is
 mostly pollutants which crystalizes and hovers over the ground from about 
your knees to about 20 feet overhead during extremely cold times with air 
inverstions.  As an emergency worker I was one of the few people on the road 
during that time and you learn to drive with one tire on the gravel to tell 
where you are going - at 5 miles an hour.

  The snow in Fairbanks is generally very dry so that you can bring a 
washtub full inside and melt it and get about a cup of water - Anchorage 
snow is very wet and a washtub full of snow is very heavy and nets you about 
half a wash tub of water.

  The best northern lights I saw were in Anchorage because we had a 
telephone tree where people called each other.  I never heard them - 
probably could not have heard them had I been in Nome, but my friend, Jacki 
who was in Nome told me it sounds like static when they are very active. 
They are like waving curtains in the sky, if you can imagine the bottom of 
the folds of curtains above your head, with your fingers on them and they 
are undulating overhead.  Or they start as a point and then start going in 
spirals out and out and out and then whiz off in one direction or another 
and start undulating.  Sometimes the sides of the curtain of lights are 
clear as well.  Mostly they are green, but sometimes other colors.  Red is 
the rarest.  There was a lot of light pollution in Fairbanks until you got 
out to the NASA launch site around Poker Flats and much of the aurora was 
masked by the light pollution.

  I have visited Sitka which is a temperate rain forest Island where they 
have the Sitka Rain Festival - January 1 through December 31, every year. 
Of the week or so I was there (total) I saw the sun shine once and was told 
it was a blessing on me.  I've also been in Juneau, which is another 
temperate rain forest area, as is adjoining Douglas Island - only Juneau 
also has a landlocked glacier and polar bears called "glacier bears" because 
they have adapted to the glacier and have faintly indigo fur.

  It rains in Juneau all the time as well, as it does in Ketchikan.  No 
snow, just rain - lots of rain.

  Well, probably enough rambling for now.

  Slithy






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