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North To Alaska

By rumbleinthearctic on 2014.01.09 In Adventures Lifestyle Mountains Nature Nature Photography Outdoor

As I am experiencing my 5th winter up in Alaska I wanted to share parts of my story.
I moved here in Fall 2009 to start my PhD. Actually I remember having dinner with my oldest brother and telling him that I had a problem, a problem which included me applying to grad school in Alaska, and the fact that I got in….That was my problem. My brother was like: “What, what do you mean you have a problem”. My problem was that I didn’t expect that I was gonna get accepted or anything like that, I kind of applied because the project was really cool. So in Fall 2009 I moved.

I have experienced far from anything anyone would have done in Stockholm. As a person from a big city like Stockholm, I probably knew less about hiking or surviving outdoors than avid hikers in Sweden. My dad is from northern Sweden and everything I knew nature wise, came from up there. How to not get lost in the deep forest, to listen to the ocean, always listen to hear where things are. Well, you can’t always do that at all places, but our summerhouse just happens to be right by the ocean, and you are bound to either hit the road, the ocean or a house….eventually, unless you have really bad luck.

Summerhouse

I remember going out into the forest every single day while up there, I loved it. Especially if I was angry or sad, or happy as well for that matter. You can do a lot of thinking when you are out in the forest. The view of  the forest, the ocean or the mountains (especially mountains) have this soothing effect on me. I can just stand there, smiling and thinking about what a beautiful world we live in.

Nature

 

Now, 5 years later I have a lot of experience about most things you could probably run into hiking in the outdoors. For most people Alaska grow on you…slowly. And when you least expect it you may be stuck, or want to get the hell away from it before you literally go Crazy!! There are two different “sides”, people who love Alaska and will do anything and everything they can to stay. And the other side, of people who just had enough, and just move when you least expect it. Living in Alaska is hard on you, both physically and mentally. We have about 200 days (or more) of winter each year, and then there is the darkness.

A frozen world

 

Well, you might say: but Northern Sweden has a lot of darkness and cold too!
Yeah, true, but they usually don’t have constant temperatures of 40 below for weeks, and most people do not live in dry cabins.

You get use to doing activities in temperatures most human beings would never think of. I ski or bike to work, even if its -35C. You learn how to adapt to the temperatures, how to layer your clothing, what to think about in the cold. How to not get frostbite. We learn, mostly by experience, but also by friends who give a friendly advice, we can all learn from other people all the time. You learn to listen to your body, its capabilities, and most importantly, its Limits!. For all of us have limits, no matter what we think.

People go crazy during the wintertime, we hate the cold and the dark at some point during the winter, but as soon as the temperatures rises again you totally forgot about winter. In October when you like a child wait for the snow to arrive, so you can start skiing or do any other fun snow sport, you don’t think about the fact that the snow most likely will stick around until May, be careful what you wish for…

driving

 

We sometimes need to go to the store when its 50 below. The stores don’t close, they are still open, most restaurants too for that matter. When we have cold temperatures like -30 or lower, our bodies start to itch. We have to get out. We can’t just sit inside all winter. I would go crazy if I was inside for several weeks.

Wintercamping

 

It’s dangerous, no really it really is Dangerous to go out in those temperatures if you aren’t prepared or dressed appropriately. Most people will get/have gotten frostbite, frostnip or hypothermia. It is impossible not to experience at least a mild form of either of those if you live here. But yet, we still live here. Because what we get is more than any other place could ever give us. Because it is Alaska.

into the Wild

4 Responses to "North To Alaska"

    Comments (4)

  1. Hélène wrote:

    Happy to see you still enjoy these crazy temperatures.. I definitely need to come visiting before you leave!! I bet it’s way better than wet and cold 🙂

  2. Matthias / 28summits wrote:

    Thanks for the insights and the great story! Alaska seems like a magical place that is high up on my list for a longer trip in the future! 😉

    • rumble in the arctic wrote:

      I am glad you liked it! It is a magical place, although there are times it is not so magical… 🙂

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Ann

I am a:
Photographer
Nature Lover,
Student
Traveler
Hiker
Adventurer

I currently live in Fairbanks, Alaska, and have lived here since August 2009. In this blog I will share my photographs from my life here, and of course stories about life in general in Alaska. So if you are as enthusiastic about an active outdoor life and love nature and photography as much as I do, you will probably like it.

Here you can follow me and my adventures, enjoy.

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