More Alaskan Facts

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April 11th 2017
Published: April 11th 2017
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At more than twice the size of Texas, the stories are equally large and unbelievable. But with less than three quarters of a million people, there is room to spread out. It is 1400 miles north to south, and 2700 miles east to west. Alaska extends further west than Hawaii! Having been here twice before does not count, plus it was over 30 years ago!

Did you know the Bering Bridge once connected us to Asia and the Russian hinterlands? Russia sold it to us for less than 2 cents per acre!

North Pole, Alaska is a town of only 2000 people, but far, far away from the actual North Pole. Do you think Santa lives there?

Rape and domestic violence run rampant here. There is one sex offender for every 293 people. The rape rate is 2.5 times the national average. Sounds like Baylor University?

Roadkill is considered the property of the state. Charity volunteers come and butcher the meat, then distribute it to needy families.

The Alaska pipeline, completed in 1977, supplies 20% of America's oil requirement. Each person in Alaska receives about a $1000 a year from the Alaska Permanent Fund, derived from the oil taxation.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is alive and well here, long periods of both light and dark tend to cause psychological changes and depression. I think I get a version of it during our shortest winter days here.

The famous sled dogs are thought to be Alaskan malamutes or Siberian huskies. But most of today's sled dogs are mutts, a combination of breeds. The southern breeds are not as resistant to the cold weather.

Few people realize that Japan occupied two islands off of Alaska, Attu and Kiska, where thousands died due to weather and war. More Americans were killed or wounded during the war in Alaska than defending Pearl Harbor. I heard of a story where brothers fought against each other.

While it is legal to shoot bears, waking a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph is prohibited. Who would be dumb enough to do that?

You know you’re an Alaskan (at least honorary) when… you travel to Anchorage in the winter for Fur Rendezvous. The highlight of this unique festival is watching locals race outhouses (is what it sounds like) down the streets of Anchorage.

There is a pizza place in Alaska that delivers by plane. Do you think it is hot, and will they bring extra jalapenos??

Alaska is the state that is farthest north, east and west (due to the Aleutian Islands). It is often called "The Last Frontier" by many!

At their closest points, Alaska and Russia are only two miles apart!

Because of mainland Alaska’s one time zone, northwest Alaska experiences two sunsets in one calendar day around August 8th.

Since there is no official route for the Pan American Highway, let's just assume it starts in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. It goes up through both South and Central America, and on up through North America, ending in Fairbanks, Alaska. I will be able to say I have been at both the start and the end of the Pan American!!!

October is considered one of the best months to visit, with the fewest tourists. But I was here in 1989 when the earthquake hit the Bay Area! I was on the last plane to land at SFO that day.

The long summer days in Alaska regularly produce “Giant Vegetables” by August harvest, with produce such as 127lb cabbage and 3ft long beans setting records at the Alaska State Fair.

From 1787 through 1912, the US never went more than 15 years without adding a state. Then 47 years passed before Alaska joined the union and US is now in the longest period in US history without a state being added (54 years).

Alaska is the only state name that you can type on one row of a keyboard. Whoda thought? And only one time zone.

Alaska is the only state that does not collect state sales tax or levy an individual income tax (some cities have sales tax, however).

There are more than 3,000 rivers and 3 million lakes in Alaska.

Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the United States combined (more than 34,000 miles).

During the Klondike gold rush in 1897, potatoes were so highly valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for them. Now get this: If New York City had the same population density as Alaska, only 16 people would be living in Manhattan. Barrow, 800 miles south of the North Pole, has both the longest and shortest day. When the sun rises on May 10, it doesn’t set for nearly three months. When it sets on November 18, Barrow residents do not see the sun again for nearly two months. I am so glad I do not live there!! Don't forget your Vitamin D supplements! The Pribilof Islands are home to the largest seal colony with over one million seals. Imagine the guano they produce! About 52 percent of Alaskans are men – the highest percentage of any state. We once met two women form Alaska, totally crazy!!! Alaskan Kodiak and Polar Bears can grow to 1,400 pounds and 11 feet tall. Moose can grow to 1,350 pounds with antlers spanning up to 6 feet wide. Other wildlife that I might see: Bald eagle, Brown bear, Black bear, Caribou, Dall sheep, Humpback whale, Orca whale, Sea otter, puffin, Sea lions, and Mountain goat. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour on an 800-mile journey to Valdez.

Though I am not a fisherman, these are some record Alaskan trophy fish: halibut 459 pounds, king salmon 97.4 pounds, rainbow steelhead trout 42.3 pounds, silver salmon 26 pounds, and red salmon 16 pounds.

Alaska contains over 130 volcanoes that have been active in the last two million years. Most lie around the Pacific Ring of Fire. Five volcanoes are currently considered active.

Alaska has roughly 100,000 glaciers, in an area of nearly 30,000 square miles. They cover 3%!o(MISSING)f the Alaskan landscape. Some glaciers can move over 300 feet a day!!!

Experts recommend at least three nights to properly view the Aurora borealis!

Alaska has more private airplane pilots per capita than any other state, perhaps testament to its many remote areas. The state's craft gin, vodka and rye whiskey production is all handcrafted by local artisans. The spruce tips used in the gin are gathered from the forests. If Haines is on your itinerary, head straight to Port Chilkoot Distillery, which makes some of the state's most awarded gins. And in Anchorage, the namesake Anchorage Distillery produces a variety of house made vodkas infused with fresh berries, hot chili peppers and other local ingredients.

I just find this place to be so different, and so interesting. It is certainly not the lower 48 in any way! What a treasure.


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