Why Leave Alaska

Vek

New member
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
16
Lived in Anchorage for 5.5 years. Arrived with no kids and left with three...that's what chased us back to be near family.

We left a lot un-done up there, but we did our share. Most activities would have been a LOT more fun had the kids been a little older, but the memories are good nonetheless. We powered through and boated/camped/fished places where babies and toddlers probably shouldn't be, and those kids are now hooked for life.

There's nothing wrong with living in Anchorage. Everything was minutes away. We stumbled into a small house on a small easily-kept lot with a big parking pad for the boat, and that was to our benefit. You don't want to go up there and strap yourself to a big house and expensive vehicles which demand time better spent recreating. Think that through carefully before moving up: how do I need to live, in order to get the very most out of my time off in the summer and fall. Then, how do I balance that with keeping my family sane during the winter.

There are adventures to be had up there that cannot be matched in any way/shape/form down here. Adventures of all kinds: boating among icebergs, bouncing on waves caused by glaciers calving, orcas swimming right through your troll gear, landing a 20lb king wearing a baby in a bjorn, ocean kings biting like silvers, jigging foot-long herring in a 2-acre plankton bloom on a glassy ocean, breaching humpbacks close enough to hear the slap of reentry, king salmon so fat that the entire fish eats like L48 king belly, alpine hiking minutes from town. More of the same if you sled or ski. More of the same if you hike.

Hunting: set aside money for access. For me that was a couple grand for a raft that I could pack/drag upstream and float moose out, and a grand+ per year to get to the sheep spot. I think my sheep pilot retired, so that cost has either doubled or the opportunity disappeared.
 

greatwhitebuffalo

Active member
Joined
Aug 9, 2013
Messages
460
Location
Wyoming
I like visiting, but never resided there. I was kind of surprised by people who told me they left because there was too much rain.
 

Vek

New member
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
16
The weather seemed like it had a lot of inertia. A cold summer stayed cold and gray, all summer. We had one with just 3 days of daytime highs over 70. Partly and mostly cloudy had a far different interpretation than same in western WA. We kept lumber outside under the porch - down here it's a recipe for rot and up there it merely sat. Overall though, even in Seward and PWS, I found it dryer than NW WA state. Valdez is another story, though. Everything there looks well rinsed.
 

AlaskaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,542
Location
interior Alaska
I moved to Alaska from Idaho 27 years ago.
Alaska is a diverse state...I live outside of Fairbanks.
I don't think I would like living anywhere near Anchorage or on the Kenai...too crowded compared to interior AK.
I don't think I would like living in southeast Alaska...too wet and gray.
In interior AK, our annual precip is 12 inches, with about half of that as snow.

I like where I live because I can see hundreds of miles of wilderness right outside my back door.
I like that I can put on a pack, hike the hilly roads of my neighborhood with one of my labs,
and maybe see one vehicle in a 8 mile hike.
There is a strong sense of community and we know all our neighbors well.
There is also a tolerance for diverse viewpoints and life styles...vegans get along with trophy hunters for example.

My wife is from North Dakota and she says the winters are way worse there due to the wind.
Our cold snaps are calm with low humidity. I can split firewood for an hour at 20 below with
a polarfleece shirt and a shell. We live on a ridge out of town so when the temperature is
-40 at the Fairbanks airport, it can be near zero at our house (elevation above 1,000 feet).
You have to love snow to live here (interior Alaska), we typically have snow from November to mid April.
Most folks either snowmachine, cross country ski, trap, ice fish, etc. all winter long.
Two woodstoves in our house keep me busy and I enjoy wood heat.
I like skijoring with my labs on snowmachine trails 5 minutes from my house.
It is usually sugar snow so easy to plow and driving is fairly safe most winters.
The only thing I do not like about winter is the short days in December....less than 4 hours.
By now we are back to normal...I was outside this morning at 9:30am with plenty of light and
hiking until 5pm with enough light.
Northern lights (auroras) can be amazing on any given night from Sept to April,
and the neighboorhood facebook page has posts like "the lights are out now..."

The summers are typically wonderful with long warm days.
It is light constantly from late May to mid August.
Excellent gardening...
One problem is all friends and relatives want to visit then and its also
time for getting any outside construction projects done.
Wildfires are common and some summers can have dense smoke for weeks...
sort of like the Missoula area in 2000.

My biggest complaint about hunting is that it is a fairly short season.
Ducks open Sept 1 and end when the marshes freeze solid in mid-Oct.
Some units moose is Sept 1-15 or Sept 8-25.
Sheep season is longer Aug 10- Sept 20, and residents can go every year at no tag cost.
Caribou is variable with some herds declining (Arctic, Mulchatna) while others are stable (40-mile, Nelchina,Porcupine)
After October, my last hunt is for Sitka blacktails and that is a 5 deer limit, usually we go during the rut in November.
Since there are so few roads, hunting can either be very crowded anywhere near the road system,
or expensive requiring a plane to transport for either a float hunt or a DYI ridgetop hunt (at least $2k)


Alaska's population has declined every year for the past three years as oil production and prices has declined and
85 percent of the state economy is based on oil.

There is no income tax, no sales tax, and moderate property tax.
We have a house appraised at $330k on 5 acres and the property tax is $5k.
That goes down when I turn 65 as the first 160k is not taxed.
Also when you turn 60 you get a free hunting and fishing license.
The annual oil dividend averages about $1k depending mostly on the stock market 5 year average,
and that is a dividend for every member of the family that is an Alaskan resident.

Three things I do not like:
It takes forever to fly to most places in the lower-48 and that can be expensive also.
Short days of December when even at noon the sun is low...just barely over the Alaska range to the south.
Can not drive across the border to hunt like I could when I lived in Idaho.
 

BearFoot

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Messages
1,223
Location
Alaska
People are different, there is a saying in Alaska: "Alaskans love screwing over other Alaskans".
Much of what you expressed is true, but I have never heard the above quote before. Nothing close. I've worked all over the State. More than 40 years. Oil field, cannery, military, government, commercial, retail, residential, in business. NEVER heard the above quote. NEVER have I heard the above quote! My experience is people of Alaska, do have opinions, yet respect each other. We live in a harsh environment . Attitude is everything.

So why would anyone want to live in Alaska?
Beauty everywhere, and the sheep hunting sucks.
Attitude is everything.
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
1,404
Location
SE SD
Much of what you expressed is true, but I have never heard the above quote before. Nothing close. I've worked all over the State. More than 40 years. Oil field, cannery, military, government, commercial, retail, residential, in business. NEVER heard the above quote. NEVER have I heard the above quote! My experience is people of Alaska, do have opinions, yet respect each other. We live in a harsh environment . Attitude is everything.

Not what I found in my youth thats for sure, but I was also around Anchorage which may play into that greatly. I'm talking about stuff like: stealing from each other, price gouging, scamming, so on and so forth. There's good apple and bad ones, always, I'm just saying now after living elsewhere, that's not the norm like it was in Anchorage. I try to keep my car doors locked around here, but I'm an oddball. Most people never lock their houses or their cars in South Dakota, especially when you're outside Sioux Falls.

My wife is from North Dakota and she says the winters are way worse there due to the wind.
Our cold snaps are calm with low humidity. I can split firewood for an hour at 20 below with
a polarfleece shirt and a shell.

Wind is killer down here, way worse. But, in South Dakota at least, the winters are much milder and much shorter. We just dipped below zero for the second time this year. Its been a nice mild winter here, but I did hear Anchorage was like 40's for the new year....
 

Northwoods

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 24, 2016
Messages
554
Location
MN
I’m glad that I got to spend almost 4 years of my life in interior Alaska. I feel like I made the most of it. I do not regret moving back to the “lower 48” after I got married.
 

mdhunter

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Messages
1,350
Location
Maryland
Isn’t it everywhere that has both ups and downs for living depending on your particular abilities to make a living?

There are not enough Marylanders on this site for a thread but we certainly have our good and bad points. Good: mountains, beaches, economic opportunities, Chesapeake Bay, four seasons... Bad: Washington DC is too close ;) we have crowds, high taxes, not enough public land by some accounts.

Anyhow, where you live depends a lot on how you make it.
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
1,404
Location
SE SD
Isn’t it everywhere that has both ups and downs for living depending on your particular abilities to make a living?

There are not enough Marylanders on this site for a thread but we certainly have our good and bad points. Good: mountains, beaches, economic opportunities, Chesapeake Bay, four seasons... Bad: Washington DC is too close ;) we have crowds, high taxes, not enough public land by some accounts.

Anyhow, where you live depends a lot on how you make it.
I don't disagree. I just wanted to share because a lot of people on HT seem to hold Alaska as the ultimate place to live, the dream spot to move to, and I get why people feel that way, I just wanted to point out that Alaska has drawbacks that many people probably don't think about. They may not be drawbacks for everyone though, for some it may even be a plus. To each their own really.


South Dakota is flat, so I tend to ignore that issue every day ;)
 

wllm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
16,505
Location
Boston
Not what I found in my youth thats for sure, but I was also around Anchorage which may play into that greatly. I'm talking about stuff like: stealing from each other, price gouging, scamming, so on and so forth.

My friends from AK are pathological in their car paranoia. I knew them all before they moved to AK so I know it's something they developed living the last decade in Anchorage.

To a person they are obsessive about not leaving anything in a vehicle ever, and they go out of there way to find "safe" parking spots. My wife lived on the south side of Chicago for 4 years and we live in one of the rougher neighborhoods in Aurora now... so it's kinda weird that we are the one's that are getting chastised by our AK friends for "making our vehicles targets".

I've never experienced the crime in Anchorage personally, but I found the above behavior pretty concerning.
 
N

ntodwild

Guest
Interesting conversation.

I have a hunting partner that comes to Washington every year to hunt with us from Anchorage and at first it boggled my mind why he would fly all the way from Alaska to hunt with us. After years of conversation with him the initial post is almost a mirror of what my buddy describes. As retired coast guard he was stationed in Alaska and met a woman, ended up settling down there and for the last 4 years has been dying to leave but his wife has children (teens) who's father will not let them move so he's stuck for several more years. He's an outdoorsman at heart and tries to spend his time trapping and fishing but the isolation and winters really gets to him. He is lucky enough to make a decent living and he and his wife get out of Alaska on the regular taking cruises and vacations but he's and the end of his wick and looks forward to the days his new wife can leave the state. I can imagine it's probably like living in a place like Hawaii of which my wife and I did for several years. Fun for a bit and great to visit but it's no place to raise kids or settle down.
 

Mallardsx2

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
1,576
I worked there for a summer and consider myself pretty hardcore. I dont ever see myself moving there. Its a pretty place and the people are very nice. I just dont see how anyone could live there and enjoy life unless they had a high paying job. Things are just too expensive.
 

Randi

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
565
I have already posted on this thread, so my overall views of living in Alaska have already been stated, but to condense my previous post.

I LOVE Alaska, but I also miss Texas. If hunting and fishing were the only topic we were discussing, I would never leave Alaska. But I enjoy ranching, rodeos, horse shows and the easy ability to visit so many ( and varied ) events within a 6 to 12 hour drive.
Layed back southern hospitality one way and Las Vegas the other with shooting the rapids in the Grand Canyon, or the Mississippi River trip along the way, depending on which way you drove. But mostly I miss "ranching"

I wanted to say that I personally disagree with those who feel Alaska is bad for kids. I feel just the opposite. There is so much to do that does not involve "electronics" Granted the further removed you are from a city, the more difficult it would be to keep the child involved, but there are sports, hunting, fishing, drama and musical plays for children to participate in, music , art, photography, and even horses events, dog sled races, we canoed the yukon river to the mouth one summer and lived off the land in while doing so-------different, fair enough, but plenty of things to keep a child busy all the way through college IMHO. I will always be grateful for the years spent in Alaska, but at some time, when I have saved enough money I will be raising longhorns on a ranch in Texas
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
1,404
Location
SE SD
I wanted to say that I personally disagree with those who feel Alaska is bad for kids. I feel just the opposite. There is so much to do that does not involve "electronics" Granted the further removed you are from a city, the more difficult it would be to keep the child involved, but there are sports, hunting, fishing, drama and musical plays for children to participate in, music , art, photography, and even horses events, dog sled races, we canoed the yukon river to the mouth one summer and lived off the land in while doing so-------different, fair enough, but plenty of things to keep a child busy all the way through college IMHO. I will always be grateful for the years spent in Alaska, but at some time, when I have saved enough money I will be raising longhorns on a ranch in Texas

I grew up in Anchorage, and I will agree that it is a great place to grow up. I got a fine education through high school and left for university to experience something new, but I wouldn't change growing up in Alaska.

Now I wonder how the old man afforded the life we had as a laborer in the construction world. But we also ate a lot of spam when I was a kid, so maybe that's why... haha!
 

Arctic_Snow_Seeker

Active member
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
161
I get this question a lot from people in the lower 48 so I thought I would share with the group since I think a lot of people here dream about moving to Alaska one day...

How does one get this question a lot? Are you walking around with an Alaskan Grown shirt on? Are you constantly name dropping Alaska?



  • Alaska is beautiful, beyond what most people can fathom when coming from the lower 48, this is what I probably miss the most
    [*]Alaska is brutal winters more so than anything, this is one thing many people don't understand, or underestimate
    • If you're coming from any other the northern states, its not really the same. lets talk about a "typical" winter in AK
    • Long, snow is generally around before Halloween most years and will stick around until around high school spring break (early March you usually get to see pavement again in parking lots)
    • Often the ground stays wet enough that for spring baseball you're not able to go on a field until the first game in mid April
    • Days are short, shorter than you'd think possible even in Southern Anchorage. 5:30 mins is what you get at the shortest day. Sunrise 10ish, sunset 3:30ish
      • Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark takes a toll on people
    • Winter depression is a real thing. If you don't have something to wake up for, its hard to get out of bed when its still dark, and hard to stay awake when the sun sets before 4pm
    [*]
I would say most of the fellow Alaskans I run with love winter more than summer.

  • People are different, there is a saying in Alaska: "Alaskans love screwing over other Alaskans".
I have NEVER heard anyone say this. Where did you hear this saying?

I've often found people that move up here and leave just never really put it all together when it comes to living up here. Its amazing how many people come up here for a few years and then go back to wherever they came from. To live up here takes a special person. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. In fact to me the lower 48 is one big "anchorage". You can have it. I'd rather live in AK with year round winter than in a state thats claim to fame is an exotic bird and a rock with carvings of terrorists on it. :)
 
Last edited:

SD_Prairie_Goat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
1,404
Location
SE SD
How does one get this question a lot? Are you walking around with an Alaskan Grown shirt on? Are you constantly name dropping Alaska?
Could, but don't. People in South Dakota are genuinely interested in where people are from, which is where it comes from most often. Also when you spent the majority of your life in one location, stories about it are bound to come up.

I would say most of the fellow Alaskans I run with love winter more than summer.

To each their own really. Sled necks will always say winter is best, salmon fisherman will always say summer is best. If you run in a crowd that digs winter obviously this would be the case. I made a general statement, you feel otherwise, nothing we can do but agree to disagree unless you want to poll the population of Alaska.


I have NEVER heard anyone say this. Where did you hear this saying?

Alaska. Ever hear the saying " butter my biscuits and drown me in gravy"? I'll assume no, does that mean it's invalid because you haven't ran across it, or put out to memory? No.

I've often found people that move up here and leave just never really put it all together when it comes to living up here. Its amazing how many people come up here for a few years and then go back to wherever they came from. To live up here takes a special person. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. In fact to me the lower 48 is one big "anchorage". You can have it. I'd rather live in AK with year round winter than in a state thats claim to fame is an exotic bird and a rock with carvings of terrorists on it. :)


It's not about "putting it together " like my whole post was about, Alaska is not for everyone, there are massive positives and massive negatives to Alaska depending on the person.

Also, don't knock pheasants until you've tried them, if you think ptarmigan are fun hunting, pheasants will blow your socks off.

Lastly, not sure how to address your comment about Rushmore... Maybe you're trying to be funny by saying four of the greatest presidents in our history are terrorist? Or maybe you firmly believe that, and are making a point?
 

Arctic_Snow_Seeker

Active member
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
161
There are positives and negatives to everywhere. Just don’t make up a saying no one says. I’ve heard the biscuit one before because it’s an actual saying. The Alaska quote you said... nope.

Phesants taste good. Don’t really care for the urban setting though.

And yes the founding fathers would be considered terrorists if they tried that present day.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
104,665
Messages
1,730,386
Members
32,718
Latest member
curhunter
Top