No matter that he’s a stuffed moose – look at this kiss he’s planting on me. This is one of my favorite pictures of me from Alaska, because I look happy, rosy from the frigid temperatures, and in the right light, it may look like this is an actual, live moose. Although I hear they’re ornery little suckers, so I’m glad that this is as close as I got.
So… what did I learn in Alaska? In no particular order:
- You can’t buy caribou or moose commercially, not even at restaurants. But reindeer sausage is absolutely everywhere.
- You can, however, get on a moose roadkill distribution list. Alas, we didn’t have the right connections and supposedly you wait for months to get your share.
- Temperature feels different to Alaskans. We saw people on a daily basis who were in shorts or short sleeves in 20 degree weather. We saw a boy getting out of his mom’s car to go to school at 7:30 a.m. in pitch darkness (the sun didn’t rise until 9:15 a.m.) in shorts. SHORTS. My mothering instinct nearly short-circuited and I had to fight the urge to go buy the kid some long johns and pants.
- Alaskans love their outdoor activities, regardless of temperature. It was not unusual to see people biking in temperatures in the teens at 8:00 p.m., well after the sun had gone down four hours before.
- Distance is entirely different to them. I met people who have to take a single-engine plane to work because there are no roads where they do their job.
- Alaskan lip balm is the bomb. They know cracked lips, I guess. I may never use another kind. My lips are now velvety smooth.
- Alaskans eat a lot of pizza (or at least they do in Anchorage).
- Speaking of Anchorage, it holds 40% of the state’s population. I didn’t get out to a native village, but I really want to at some point. Although I’m not thrilled about the fact that you have to get there in a single-engine plane. So we’ll see.
- The mountains there are just the most breathtaking thing and it’s almost impossible to get a picture that does them justice.
- The floor of native artifacts at the Anchorage Museum is probably one of the best-done exhibits I’ve ever seen. Beautiful, impactful, great use of multi-media. I just loved it.
- There are so many good books about the Alaskan experience. I came home weighed down and there are so many others I would have loved to buy.
- Alaska is beautiful and definitely worth visiting.