For some reason the thought of Alaska has always piqued my interest. Maybe it had to do with growing up in a huge state in the south and wanting to know what it’s like to be so close to the Arctic Circle. In grade school I read articles about the Northern Lights, the snow, reindeer, sled dogs, even funny things like North Pole, Alaska (yes that’s a real city). I remember my best friend visiting her family up there in the summers and me begging her to bring me back some kind of souvenir. Maybe my memory of the snow globe she brought back for me hung around my brain long enough to spur this trip.
Recently when a news report about climate change aired on TV and seeing photos of whole Alaskan villages washing away with the glaciers melting I knew I had to visit.
Why winter though? Why visit when the high for the week is 25F and the sun rises at 10:30 only to languidly hang around the horizon for a few hours before dipping under again?
Well 1.) Northern Lights viewings can be pretty exciting in winter, more so than summer for obvious reasons and 2.) Actual winter! Everywhere I looked, everyone’s cars were dirty, everyone had the same long coat and gloves. This was just a part of life and life goes on. I also drank a LOT of coffee while in Alaska.. it’s kind of like the unofficial state drink of choice and actually there are a lot of drive thru coffee huts for when it’s really just “don’t get out of your car it’s so cold weather”
So yeah I talk about how cold it is but it’s also incredibly worth it. Winter in Alaska is extraordinarily picturesque; although many national parks and scenic overlooks are closed for the season already. Summer and Fall are Alaska’s two main tourism seasons. With mild temperatures and plenty of sunlight there’s a lot to see and do in this state!
During the drive to Fairbanks I noticed some scenic overlooks were even covered with many feet of snow. Even though it looks packed and dense – it is not actually able to support your weight. Oops. Actually, fun fact: in some parts of the state the sun sets at 3:00.
middle of nowhere gas station – iPhone photo taken at 4:00pmI photographed some of Alaska on film which I still haven’t gotten developed yet. Once I do that I’ll update this post so put me in your bookmarks!
A lot of people ask me about the “running from the law” factor that Alaska is somehow (?) known for. I guess with so much vast land it’s easy to find a cabin somewhere and live “off the grid.” It’s fun to imagine a life like that, but I like having electricity and running water and am not a Bear Grylls type gal. Most of the state land is national parks so it’ll be protected from developers’ mini malls and condos.
10/10 Alaska – would visit again. Maybe next time I’ll come in the summer for a completely opposite experience and some midnight sun. There’s so much more random factoids I would love to tell you from my trip as well as the intense research on the local culture and weather I did beforehand so maybe I’ll compile a post of “How to Visit Alaska in the Winter” for next time.