One year. I have lived in the wild and weird state of Alaska for one year as of today.
A year ago today I'd spent days upon days in a dirty car filled with way more things than we EVER should have road tripped with and FINALLY arrived in Anchorage, AK. We'd been traveling with two dogs, two people, more jerky than is probably healthy, and two fancy goldfish in a 5 gallon bucket. There are quite a few people in my life that still give me shit for that whole road tripping for 5+ days with two goldfish thing. To them I say, SUCK IT.
Goldfish not pictured. People frown on bringing them backpacking.
I knew that moving to Alaska was going to open me up to an adventure of the likes I was unable to predict. I knew that living here would enable me when I was old and grey to begin stories with, "When I lived in Alaska..." waxing on and on about wild Alaskan adventures. What I didn't realize is that after only one year of living here I'd already be brimming with stories, adventures and sights.
Here are a few:
- I drove from WA to AK on a road trip to end all road trips. Part 1, 2, 3, 4 (this was the night I was so tired I washed my hair with body lotion, and was too tired to rewash my hair. Fun!), 5, 6 & 7
- Fished on the famous Kenai River, catching nothing, but loving every second
- Experienced a midnight sun
- Fished on the longest day of the year and caught my very first wild Alaskan salmon. Later I caught more!
- Went on my first backpacking trip
- Went halibut fishing and caught a plethora of tasty, yet ugly looking fish
- Saw orca whales in the wild and cried like a little girl at the beauty of mother nature
- Hiked, hiked, and hiked some more
- Had a humpback whale swim directly under my kayak and scare the living crap out of me
- Hiked next to a glacier
- Met my first blogger friend in person! (ok, this has NOTHING to do with living in Alaska, except that it happened here, and it was amazing, and yes I think of this as a milestone in my past year. Deal with it.)
- Experienced my first Alaskan winter -- AND survived, with the help of some happy pills
- Had my first white Christmas
- Cross-country skied like there was no tomorrow -- see also, more cross-country skiing
- Went to a tailgate with 200 other strangers on a frozen lake. Didn't die!
- Watched the kickoff of the Iditarod on a frozen lake. High fived mushers and took many pictures of puppies
- Saw a TON of moose
- Rented a cabin in the middle of nowhere for a winter weekend getaway. Skied on a frozen lake and wondered how in the hell I got so lucky. Same trip? Saw the northern lights from my hot tub -- died from all the beauty
- Survived and THRIVED during the snowiest winter on record EVER in Alaska
There was more, I know there was, but these are just the highlights from things I blogged about. In one year I've done and seen more than I think I ever managed to do and see while living in Washington for nearly 8 years.
Even better? This summer is already looking epic. This summer I'll go to Denali National Park, go on three different halibut fishing trips (looks like I'll need a second freezer!), have my parents and Adam's parents visit, backpack and hike with friends in and around Anchorage, fish, fish and fish some more, spend the 4th of July in Seward with friends, and those are just the trips I have booked! I have dreams of so many other adventures. Fly in trips to see grizzly bears, girls weekends at mountain cabins, white water rafting, kayaking next to glaciers in Valdez, there's so much I want to do!
So in conclusion, this place is very far away, takes some adjusting at first, but being here is the greatest adventure I've ever had.
Put this place on your bucket list.
You won't regret it.