Saturday, July 9, 2011

Escape to Alaska: Another Way of Life

Living in Alaska means lots of things.

For example, paying some of the highest gasoline prices in the country even though the state is the nation's largest domestic producer of oil.

It also means having a very cool license plate issued in 2009. That was the year that Alaska celebrated 50 years of statehood.

In Alaska you never live very far from nature and the splendor of the earth, largely uninterrupted by the intrusions of humans. Like  the friends we visited in Homer, Alaska who have this for a view from their living room up on the hillside.

When you live so close to nature you're drawn to be in the midst of it. My brother-in-law took us mountain biking on a trail that was less than a mile from his front porch.

Alaskans like to take advantage of the long growing hours provided by the Midnight Sun and plant some edibles in their back yards. A tall fence is necessary to keep out the rabbits--and any moose that come by, eager for a munch. In addition, a green house helps the plants that need more heat. Until one gets into the Interior, the hottest summer day is mild. Around 70 F. degrees.

Cabbage or spinach, anyone?

The real bounty of Alaska isn't on the land, but in the ocean and rivers.

My nephew took out a boatload of relatives and they fished Kachemak Bay. They came back with fresh halibut, a delicious white fish that can grow to upwards of 300 lbs.

They filleted the fish, cut the rest into steaks, and less than an hour later we were eating it. By then it was 9 p.m. It's a fact that Alaskans tend to eat late in the summer. Why not? With the sun so high in the sky there's little reason to start to think about going to bed until you look at your watch and say, "Oh my, is it really getting on toward midnight?" - V.W.

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