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One thing everyone seems to want to know is what it’s like to live in Alaska? Is it FREEZING all the time? How much snow is there? Have you seen the Northern Lights? Here’s an answer to all your questions!
We moved to Alaska from Puerto Rico in June 2016, so we’re coming up on our 2nd anniversary here! It was definitely a crazy exciting change from one extreme to the other. We’re a military family, and when it came time to make our top 10 list, I knew I wanted somewhere with snow, since I’d really never seen it before (Florida girl here!). We decided to put Anchorage, Alaska at the top of our list, and sure enough, that’s what we got!
It was getting to the peak of summer when we arrived, and it was AMAZING. The days are definitely long in the summer, which is perfect for going out and exploring. They’re so long, in fact, that in parts of Alaska the sun doesn’t set for over 2 MONTHS! We’re closer to Anchorage, so our longest day is around 19.5 hours, with the sun rising just after 4am and setting around midnight. It also helped Rico acclimate well, as he was never really a fan of darkness. It’s a little strange adapting to midnight sunsets, but we definitely make the most of long days. We get to hike on a glacier, see moose, feed reindeer, play with sled puppies, and go fishing in turquoise lakes. It was surprisingly warm and reached a perfect 70 degrees many days! This summer was considerably cooler and rainier, but it was still amazing.
Not gonna lie, it’s coooold. Last winter we had a few major snowfalls of 10+ inches at a time, and a couple days where the temperature reached 22 BELOW ZERO. Ouch. Roxy isn’t a fan of the cold weather, but she does like to try and grab frozen chunks of ice and run around with them. Rico LOVES the snow, though! He zooms around like crazy and can’t wait to go back out after he warms up inside. This winter has been much milder, and we had days where it’s reached almost 50 degrees in January. I actually think we all prefer the snowier weather! The short days are a little challenging with the sun setting around 3:30pm, and R&R are ready for dinner even earlier than normal. So are we, for that matter! We do lots of indoor activities, and bundle up to go outside and play. Roxy and Rico both have sweaters and coats for really chilly or deep snow days. If there’s enough snow, we’ll build a snowman and Rico rushes right over to tackle it down! We have a huge fenced backyard, which makes winter potty time way easier!
There is a ton of wildlife in Alaska, but we live in a pretty established neighborhood surrounded by farmland, so we actually don’t see a lot of wildlife. We will have the occasional bald eagle fly overhead, and ravens. Ohhh, those messy ravens! They’ll come around on trash days to scavenge and drop half-chewed packages in the yard, so Roxy does her job as the clean-up crew.
We haven’t come across any moose or bears while out hiking with the pups, but the one time they saw one on the side of the road Rico barked like it was the biggest dog he’d EVER SEEN. We did see a mama moose and her babies while hiking with my cousin Brie, and ended up turning around lightning fast and left that area! You don’t want to mess with mama moose! We keep leashes/harnesses on Roxy and Rico whenever we’re out so we don’t take any chances. Once, we were out for a drive and saw the cutest baby bear EVER. Mama wasn’t too close and we were safe in the car, so we watched for a while and melted.
We have! We’re further south than the best places to see them often, but we do get them on occasion. Last year we had pretty good luck seeing the aurora around mid-March, which was when the photo below was taken, so I’m hoping we have a good show soon and be able to take good pics! Roxy and Rico haven’t really noticed it at all though.
Honestly, we absolutely LOVE everything about life up here, except for how faaaaar from family it is! Our family is all in Florida, which is right around a 12 hour flight. It sucks. We try to get home 1-2 times a year, and some have been lucky enough to visit us, which makes it easier. Brie is planning to come up for a few weeks again over the summer to work on her blogging (check her out at BriannaJade.com) < shameless promo!) so we’ll have lots of quality time!
So you’re planning a trip to Alaska?! EXCITING!! The weather patterns can vary drastically depending on where you’re visiting. If you’re driving, I recommend purchasing The MILEPOST 2018: Alaska Travel Planner to plan out your stops. There are many long stretches without gas stations and that book is key to keeping you from running out of gas! One of the most important things you definitely want to get no matter when you visit is a good jacket; I like these 3-in-1s since they can be used on warmer, rainy days without the insert, or use both layers for cold days. A good pair of boots and gloves is vital too!