I was kicking around all the places I've lived up here in my life, and thought of the diversity of each area for outdoor opportunities. I purposely lived in a lot of places so that I could find the best place. This has taken me 42 years! (24 years since I was old enough to make my own choice). My point was to spend enough time in as many cities/villages as possible to make an accurate evaluation.
Fairbanks: Lots of hunting and fishing available close by. Easy access to most area's. Moose, caribou, bears of both types, arctic grayling. Good trapping too. Winters cold but the community has a lot of winter activities to keep you sane. Went to high school at Lathrop, worked for a cab company, built some fences.
Sitka: Lots of rain, but great hunting for deer, bear, goats, salmon and halibut fishing. Mild winters. A boat is a must to enjoy this area. Went to college at Sheldon Jackson and fished my own boat out of here.
Wrangell: Good hunting for bears and deer. Good fishing and nice inland waterways close by. Boat is nice, but lot's of miles of logging roads in summer. Winters mild. Stikine river is great running for moose in a airboat. Fished my boat out of here, and worked at a fish hatchery.
Ketchikan: Lot's of rain, but good hunting for deer and bear. Good fishing for salmon and halibut. A boat is a must. Fished out of here occasionally.
Craig: Nice little town. Good deer hunting, extensive road system from the logging, great bear hunting. Fished my boat out of here.
Pelican/Elfin Cove area: Very small towns that I really enjoyed. Good fishing and hunting, but without a boat, forget it. Fished my boat out of here.
Juneau: Fished my boat out of here very occasionally. Never could find much to do in the way of the outdoors here. I probably missed something.
Yakutat: Great silver fishing in the late summer and fall. A decent miles of roads. Good bear viewing at dump. Fished my boat out of here also for halibut and salmon.
Dutch Harbor: Great place to work, but few outdoor opporunities that I could find. Crabbed and factory trawled for 10 winters out here. Was able to step foot on most of the islands during this 10 years, including the Priblofs and St. Matthew. Kiska is a must visit if you ever get the chance.
Kodiak: Tough, Tough Place. I was kid, couldn't find a job on a boat, rain rain rain. I think this town almost broke my spirit. Didn't have money or time to hunt much. Was down to my last slice of boloney in my tent 7 miles out of town before I made the one and only call to my dad for help get me a plane ticket to South Naknek, where I had a job waiting for me. Went back in 08 for an elk hunt on Raspberry, (even though I had swore off ever going back to 'The Rock') and it was a much nicer visit!
South Naknek/Dillingham/Bethel: I wasn't able to get out hunting or fishing much, but seems there was some good choices of species to hunt.
Homer/Seldovia: Great place, lots of hunting to be had for moose, black bear, goats. Great fishing for salmon, halibut. Mild winters. I worked the docks here. Tried to get on a boat, with no luck. Also worked for John Cabbott Seafoods in Seldovia a few months. Got my one and only ticket of any kind... 'minor in possesion' here for having a beer in my truck. 40 hours of community service to clean that one up...
Kenai/Soldotna: Spent a lot of years here. I always felt there was too many people on the entire peninsula. Good moose hunting, bear, goat, etc. Just not enough places to go where you wouldn't see people. It never stuck with me. Worked for an oil company.
Seward: Great place, but lot's of rain and snow. Good hunting for bears and goats. Great fishing for salmon, halibut, rockfish and all your saltwater stuff. I worked for a company cleaning fuel barges for the Navy at Adak here.
Coldfoot/Wiseman area: Really liked this area. Amazing outdoor opportunities, with the ability to go for a walk for weeks. Great hunting for moose, caribou, grizzly. Excellent wolf trapping. Worked in a gold mine at Nolan Creek, and worked a claim at Gold Creek up toward the pass. First time I was here, I was 12, and this is what inspired me to someday have a lodge.
Wasilla/Palmer: Currently have a small cabin rented here, as a base for the lodge and work. Great town, lots of things to do, and close to a lot of outdoor activities. This may become my 'not at the lodge' place.
Anchorage: Well, I avoided this place for my entire life until I took a job here last spring. That's why I rented in Wasilla, and decided I would be happier to have my family out of Anchorage, and I decided to commute in every day. This has been a good choice since April. I don't think I could ever 'live' here. It is a great place to buy stuff! When they get the bridge built, I'll move further out, so that my commute stays at around an hour. Contracting to an oil company.
Cantwell: I really like this sleepy little town. It's the closest town to the lodge. We've met a lot of great people here. It is a chilly place. Lot's of outdoor opportunities, and very few people. If the lodge starts making money, allowing me to not work anywhere other then the lodge, I will get a place here, and get my wife to start teaching in the school while I run the lodge.
Denali Highway: Somehow, I missed this amazing stretch of road until about 10 years ago, I happened across it during the 4th of July on the way back from Chicken. About half way across, I said to my wife 'I think I just found home'. This place has it all, summer and winter, hunting, fishing, trapping, snow machine, atv's, no people, lot's of history, and all types of hunting terrain you can imagine. I spent the next several years trying to find even a postage stamp of a peice of property on this highway.... nothing. Then I found the listing for the place at mile 68... .way out of range for me.. I kept saving, moving to better jobs, and doing whatever I could to scrouge up enough pennies to make the guy a resonable offer on the place. Finally pulled it off just over 18 months ago, and it's been everything I had hoped and more.
I have been on every road to the end in the state, except the Nabesna Road. I'm going to try to knock that one out this summer. I've traveled to almost every town, and lived in the ones above. I can now count the towns that I haven't been in farily easily. Barrow, Pt. Hope, Nome, Kotzebue, and Cordova. (been to Prudhoe, of course) I know there are a lot of villages in that area that I need to get to also.
Anyone else try to do get to every place up here? Or am I the only crazy one?