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Thread: Could i have your opinion about the first time you visited Alaska?

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    Default Could i have your opinion about the first time you visited Alaska?

    I have never been to Alaska, but it's a place i have always dreamed of visiting. Could you please tell me what it was like when you first visited Alaska? I have always wanted to see the northern lights/ aurora borealis and Glaciers of Alaska. If you have viewed these in Alaska, could you describe what it was like when seeing them for the first time?


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    The first time I came up here I was like a child who had just learned Santa is not real. It was the first time I had seen and heard of something called combat fishing, I couldnt get back to New Mexico fast enough. The second time I came up to work for the summer.... that was 3 years ago and I'm still here.

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    My family moved here when I was 16. I got off the plane, looked at the mountains and thought, "I'm home."

    The aurora in Anchorage always seems very high in the sky, in Fairbanks I felt I could reach up and touch them. Have you ever seen snowsnakes? Little streamers of snow on the ground behind a moving car? The aurora is like that but made of shifting light filling the night sky. And they hiss and crackle.
    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

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    The first time i visited Alaska it was thru the memories of a friend while duck hunting from a canoe in northern Minnesota. By the end of the hunt I was so charged up I went to book my flight the next day for a Summer trip. That first trip the next July left me in total awe. It changed my life forever. My wife now openly tells everyone that we are married forever but I have a mistress named Alaska. Sooo after several years and several trips up, this Summer I bought my land near Kenai, my wife is totally on board with our pending move and it consumes my every thought. God gives us many gifts but when one of the gifts is Alaska you need to be willing to go get your gift because it can't be delivered to you.

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    One thing for sure if you do come up you will want to come back. Maybe serveral times as we have. Beauty every where.

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    1970 Anchorage International Airport. Stopped through on my way to Vietnam (6 times all together). We got off, had a Coke ($1.50) in the bar which was huge back then. The big polar bear was in an area and if I remember correctly, not enclosed. Someone tried to find an Eskimo for us but there were none around. Gravely disappointed. We flew out on Flying Tiger Airlines, all male flight attendants. I am not sure what direction we took but all I remember was a lot of small ponds and lakes.

    A few years ago I was in the airport lounge again and saw a waitress. I was the SAME one working there in 1970.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
    Cancer from Agent Orange - Aug. 25th 2012
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    I had wanted to see Alaska since I was very young and finally in 1997 I got a chance to take a job up here for a year. Best decision I ever made and I am still here and plan on staying forever. Alaska grabs you by the heart and won't let go. I very much recommend you come see it if you can possibly swing the trip. The northern lights are awe inspiring, especially if you are in fairbanks or further north. The mountains are incredible, the fishing is great, the hunting is like no where else, I just can't say enough good about this place. You seem particularly interested in the aurora. Most of the time they are green in color but whites, purples, and even red are seen on occasion. They dance across the sky, not stationary. Sometimes they are just in part of the sky and on great nights they fill nearly the entire sky. Incredible. Aurora is caused by solar particles and solar flares which come and go on a cycle. We are currently in a building cycle and should have good auroras for the next couple years. Be sure to come in winter as you cannot see the aurora in summertime due to 24 hours of daylight.

    One word of caution I will share that I was told long ago. Once you go to Alaska you can never go all the way home. Very true statement so plan accordingly.

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    Member tabmarine's Avatar
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    I first visted Alaska while working in F&B managment for Royal Caribbean in 1990. Immediatly fell in love with the
    scenery and the smell in the air. Pictures do not even begin to show the real beauty. Although I am still in Florida
    I purchased some property and hope to make my way there to settle in.
    If we all agreed....this would be no fun

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    Member etdvm's Avatar
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    First visit was to shut my husband up who visited/hunted a couple years prior and wouldn't stop talking about it. I agreed to go for a visit if he would quit, just please quit, talking about that cold, God-forsaken place 3000+ miles away...

    Since then, we have bought a cabin, boat, truck, etc. and go back and forth as often as possible.

    My first impression, once I got out and about where there was no city, town, electric lines. No sound except just nature:
    Looking out into the expanse north of Fairbanks near Circle, it is so endless, so large, so primitive, I realized at that point how utterly insignificant I was. Not in a bad way, this is a good thing. I don't matter. Therefore my petty issues didn't matter. Alaska, to me, is a huge reminder that we are just a speck of carbon and could wash away or become dinner at any moment, and the vast land will continue on like you never existed. It was, and is, a sobering delight.
    Alaske is like bootcamp...it breaks you down, then remakes you.
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    I was on one of the first flights allowed after 911 to Anchorage.

    Understand that Alaska for me, like many others, was a dream trip. Even if it was a business trip.

    Anchorage did not impress me. It is a big city with typical big city problems.

    But the first glacier I saw took my breath away. The colors, muted reds, oranges, golds and every hue of brown were amazing. Dead salmon lying on the gravel hinted at fishing like I had never seen before.

    I rented a car and made sure I got to touch a piece of a glacier and I knew I would go back.

    The first time I got really close to a glacier and watched it calving into a froze over lake I laughed like a kid.

    I haven't spent a winter there yet, but that is on the list of things to do. I want to see the full Aurora at 30 below and feel the bite of the north.

    I've been back, and will go back still more. If you are lucky a bit of Alaska gets in your soul.

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    I fiarst saw Alaska on December 1, 1950. There were no paved roads, and the Anchorage population was about 7,000. It's now around 350,000, and has changed much. And a lot of that wasn't for the better !

    I left Alaska late in August, 2012, and really, REALLY hated to go. I'm still a pilot, and flew most of those years in Alaska. My outback places are still the same, but Anchorage and Fairbanks are not. My wife and I agreed that Alaska was a great place to live, but a pretty poor place to visit: one can't see much of Alaska during a short visit. Still, it's well worth the trip !!!

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    I first started coming up here in the summer of 1989 while still in the Service. My Brother and Uncle lived here with their Families and kept invuting me. That first visit, like Safari said, it "grabbed my heart" and I couldn't get enough. I told my brother as soon as I retire from the Service I am moving here. He convnced me to visit again in the winter to be sure. I did and when I was leaving to ge back to Charleston, S. C. where I was stationed, I felt something I don't remember ever feeling before. I was Homesick - for Alaska! I visited at least once a year every year after that until I retired. I moved here in 1997 and have never felt more at home anyplace else I have been in the world. I spend alot of time in McGrath and Bethel, in fact my wife, (her family moved here in 1984) and I did our Honeymoon in Bethel. I have been from Barrow to Juneau, from Tok to Kotzebue and have yet to find a place I didn't care for other than where I currently live, Eagle River (North Anchorage). I agree with the others in that Anchorage is just another city but get awy from it and you will not be disappointed.
    We love the Northern lights and have seen some spectacular shows of colors and patterns but the other thing that got me was the night sky overall out there in the wilderness, especially in the winter when there is no one around and no civilization for miles to force their harsh electric glow over everything and the air is so crisp and clear.

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    My first alaska visit was August 28th 1994 came up to go to college at UAF, the airline lost my bags and all I had was a my shorts and short sleeve shirt which I had on when I left Wisconsin. Arriving in Fairbanks it was in the 40's and that was my first lesson always have a jacket or sweatshirt... The northen lights are awesome in Fairbanks, the winter was cool but not bad... I have been back I think on ten trips since 1998 when I left... Would love to be there fulltime but have family that needs help here... But like someone else said Alaska grabs you and never lets go... Get there somehow becuz it will be a life changing event for you, if you are an outdoors person... Good Luck

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    We were newly wed, and in debt in 1964. I was career Navy, stationed in the San Francisco area. She had just been released from Active duty. I put down Adak, way out in the Aleutians, for my next choice of duty and that was probably the only time I ever got my first choice! I arrived on Adak early in August 65, She and the new born son didn't arrive until the first of Feb66. As I stepped off the plane and looked around, It was raining, maybe snowing too, wind was howling (as usual). There no trees in sight, just Navy buildings, and the vegetation (grass) was already brown. Kinda bleak you might say. The Navy awarded me some back pay (finally) so I invested it in a friendly poker game, I increased my initial investment by a comfortable margin, took my winnings and before I sent it all home to the Wife, I spent $90 in the Navy Exchange on the purchase of a Remington mod 870 wingmaster 12Ga. I and a friend burned lots of powder shooting at (and occasionally hitting) Sea Ducks, and then we learned how to ambush an occasional Emperor Goose as they came in for fresh water. Duck season was from Aug of 65 into late Feb 66. A farm boy from Western Nebr I didn't know what a halibut was, had never seen nor tasted one. My first Halibut caught off the rocks at Zeto point was an 80 lb hen, As I brought the head of the huge fish to the surface, one of the Sailors with me whipped out a 22 revolver and emptied the cylinder into the head of the fish before another sailor sank a gaf into her. Another new experience.(Dear Dad the fish up here are so big you have to shoot them in the head before you can lift them out of the water!) I had never seen, nor caught a dolly varden, but during my time on Adak I caught thousands of them. We were allowed to hunt the caribou that were mainly on the southern end of the island then. Ptarmigan were quite plentiful all over the island then too. The only negative thing I could say about Adak is the Weather is usually too miserable for little kids to play outdoors much, and so rather than extend our stay on Adak I accepted orders back to South East Asia in 1967. Up to this point in time, I had never given any serious thought as to what I'd do when I retired from Active Duty. However, setting in a hut, in South East Asia, while it was pouring rain, re-reading my Alaska Magazine, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was going to find a way to get back to Alaska. It took some doing, but in 1972 the Navy agreed to send me from the DC area to a small Naval unit on the back side of Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. About 1973 The Navy extended everyones normal 3 yr tour here to 4 yrs. At the end of my 4 yrs in 1976 I was credited with 21 yrs of active duty and so we retired and have been living the good life here ever since.

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    The first time for it was like....coming home. I knew it was where i was meant to be for the rest of my life. I cant wait till we finally move up there.

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    Pretty neat story..thanks for sharing. Tough times indeed. and thanks for your service. I just dropped my packet after 24 years and cant wait to get back to Alaska myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    We were newly wed, and in debt in 1964. I was career Navy, stationed in the San Francisco area. She had just been released from Active duty. I put down Adak, way out in the Aleutians, for my next choice of duty and that was probably the only time I ever got my first choice! I arrived on Adak early in August 65, She and the new born son didn't arrive until the first of Feb66. As I stepped off the plane and looked around, It was raining, maybe snowing too, wind was howling (as usual). There no trees in sight, just Navy buildings, and the vegetation (grass) was already brown. Kinda bleak you might say. The Navy awarded me some back pay (finally) so I invested it in a friendly poker game, I increased my initial investment by a comfortable margin, took my winnings and before I sent it all home to the Wife, I spent $90 in the Navy Exchange on the purchase of a Remington mod 870 wingmaster 12Ga. I and a friend burned lots of powder shooting at (and occasionally hitting) Sea Ducks, and then we learned how to ambush an occasional Emperor Goose as they came in for fresh water. Duck season was from Aug of 65 into late Feb 66. A farm boy from Western Nebr I didn't know what a halibut was, had never seen nor tasted one. My first Halibut caught off the rocks at Zeto point was an 80 lb hen, As I brought the head of the huge fish to the surface, one of the Sailors with me whipped out a 22 revolver and emptied the cylinder into the head of the fish before another sailor sank a gaf into her. Another new experience.(Dear Dad the fish up here are so big you have to shoot them in the head before you can lift them out of the water!) I had never seen, nor caught a dolly varden, but during my time on Adak I caught thousands of them. We were allowed to hunt the caribou that were mainly on the southern end of the island then. Ptarmigan were quite plentiful all over the island then too. The only negative thing I could say about Adak is the Weather is usually too miserable for little kids to play outdoors much, and so rather than extend our stay on Adak I accepted orders back to South East Asia in 1967. Up to this point in time, I had never given any serious thought as to what I'd do when I retired from Active Duty. However, setting in a hut, in South East Asia, while it was pouring rain, re-reading my Alaska Magazine, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was going to find a way to get back to Alaska. It took some doing, but in 1972 the Navy agreed to send me from the DC area to a small Naval unit on the back side of Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. About 1973 The Navy extended everyones normal 3 yr tour here to 4 yrs. At the end of my 4 yrs in 1976 I was credited with 21 yrs of active duty and so we retired and have been living the good life here ever since.
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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    My first visit to Alaska was Aug 27, 1968. I remember it being really dark, then there was some commotion and then really bright all the sudden I was hanging upside down and there there was some guy spanking my rear end.... yep I was born here and never plan to leave unless I cannot provide for my family any other way.

    My Dad came up in 57 after graduating from College. Borrowed the money from his Dad and said he would be back in 6 months.... he still lives here at least part of the year.

    Come on up and have a visit. Be sure to get out of Anchorage or Fairbanks and see some of the real Alaska. You will not regret it.

    John
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