Today is Alaska Day and the day that I like to reflect on how awesome this state of Alaska really is each year. You’ve heard me brag about it all before, but here is my current list of why I love Alaska so much:
- Moose – This past week, I’ve seen 6 moose around town. There was a mama and baby in the neighborhood, a giant bull moose in the church parking lot, and then a mom with twin babies walking around my friend’s house last night when I was there. Though it’s scary to run into moose while walking or biking, I never get sick of seeing them. It’s unreal and amazing. They’re gigantic and awesome.
- Northern Lights – I know. You’re sick of me bragging about it, but I haven’t seen them yet this season and now that it’s dark again, I’m ready. They are completely unreal, beautiful, and creepy. I don’t even know how to describe them.
- Dipnetting – Have I mentioned it’s my favorite? Not to mention my weekly salmon dinner. Mmmmm.
- The PFD – This year, we only got $5,500 which is significantly smaller than 2016’s $10,360 but having that annual windfall has been helpful for us financially.
- (Lack of) Taxes – I can’t bring up the PFD without pairing it with our fabulous tax situation. Alaska has no state income tax (the PFD is considered a reverse income tax) and no state sales tax. Some cities has sales tax, but Anchorage does not. Alaska is currently in a recession thanks to the oil drop and the state needs more income, so we may get income taxes eventually, but for now, our tax burden is low.
- Mr. T’s Flexibility and Benefits – Mr. T’s Alaska job gives a lot of vacation and some fabulous health benefits. We’ve ALWAYS been grateful for these things, but in the current healthcare climate, we are very grateful for these benefits.
- Winter Wonderland – While we may have to deal with the cold and the snow, the winter is beautiful. Yesterday, as I drove my kids to school, Denali was lit up by the sun and the rest of the sky was full of alpenglow. It was beautiful. This happens a lot around here where the scenery is breathtaking. Hoar frost is also my favorite.
- Alaska Airlines’ Club 49 – We live in a weird place where we have to fly everywhere – even in-state! Alaska Airlines has stepped up. They give benefits to Alaskans. For us, it means lots of free luggage for our Trader Joe’s imports.
- Culture – I love how much Alaska Native culture is honored and acknowledged up here. Alaska Native cultural activities are a part of school and kids compete in the Native Olympics. The non-native culture here is also great. A friend’s brother said that Alaskans are 30% camping all the time and that’s a great description. People are generally friendly, super chill, and the only “in” clothes are Carhartts, Xtratuffs, and down skirts. As a non-shopper, I love this. My kids also get to ice skate and sled at recess. How cool is that?
- Outdoor Activities – We primarily love the bike trails around Anchorage and use them extensively all summer (and Mr. T in the winter with his studded bike tires), but there are so many amazing walks/hikes/outdoor opportunities just minutes from our door. Within 3 hours, you can get to the ocean, the mountains, glaciers, wildlife, fjords, forests, lakes, etc.
I’ll end on a nice, even list of 10 but I could gush all day. On Alaska Day, we reflect on how great Alaska has been to us. We’re grateful for this whole adventure!