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  • A Really Long Post Where Opinions Are Appreciated

    Hi everyone. I´m sure plenty of people come to this forum looking to move to Alaska to “find themselves” or to “have an adventure” or to live a “relaxing” lifestyle, etc ie a quick decision without thinking things through…Just to avoid any confusion, I believe if a person wants to find themselves, they just have to walk into the bathroom – look in the mirror – and bam, there you are….I don´t really see moving somewhere as an adventure, I see visiting some place an adventure, and then going home…..And I don´t really see how an environment like Alaskas can be pure relaxation if that person comes from, say, Atlanta. But that´s just my tiny opinion.
    We grew up in the suburbs, we lived a while in the big cities, and then moved higher in the mountains in the countryside. We know what we like, what we want, what we can afford, and what we can handle. We know we are not people who can live isolated hours away from all civilization, that we need certain things, like grocery store, etc, nearby.
    We´re not coming to Alaska on an idea or fantasy or on short-notice. Since 2011 we have done whatever research we could from far away, we´ve spoken to several people from Alaska, including park rangers and friendly people who worked at different alaska.gov offices in different regions. We´ve even spoken to several lodge owners in different areas, from the far north to valdez.
    We´ve looked at real estate offers for 8 years, land and homes and cabins, food prices, etc…
    And we did this knowing one day, when we were ready, we would be moving to Alaska as our final move (I have moved a lot in my life as that has always been a passion of mine). Now we plan on doing this either in 2020 or more likely in 2021.
    We also have a savings, so we cannot get stuck in Alaska if we hate it. Even if we did get stuck there because someone hid the bank, we have family that would bail us out no questions asked.
    What may come off as odd is why we are moving to Alaska. Unless you think like us, you won´t understand. We have always moved to a location for a silly reason. Because we both work from home, we did not have to move anywhere because or for work. So we moved to one place because we wanted to live in the mountains. We moved to another place because we wanted to live in a place that received a lot of snow. That´s why we move, we enjoy going somewhere that has what is most important to us, because that is what makes a person happy. Where he lives if he is living there because it has what he likes.
    Unfortunately, no place we lived had all 3 things that Alaska has that are at the top of our list; snow, certain types of wildlife and cold. It´s that simple. That is what we have always liked and now we want it all together for our final home.
    Despite all of this, we have a lot to learn about Alaska. And I believe we will learn all of that, and a lot more, once we are there. We take it one day at a time. But we still have some unanswered questions, mainly because many of the people we spoke to, including the park rangers, only knew about their areas and surrounding areas. And some places that we wrote to did not reply to us.
    Let´s begin here with our plans; in 2020 or 2021 we will be taking a 2 month drive through Alaska. I am going to put the route down below, keep in mind this route has been worked on for about 3 years now with some places being added occasionally. Also there may be some mistakes as I had a lot of notes I removed for each town, I may have accidentally removed one or two places. We won´t stop in all of these places, we also listed places we are passing through. Also, some places like Petersville may be removed and we will probably try to catch a bus tour to McCarthy instead of driving that road on our own.
    Anchorage to Girdwood- 39 miles (45m)
    (BELOW ROUTE IS 5 MILES ONE WAY + 5 MILES BACK)
    Alyeska – not necessary as it is in Girdwood
    Girdwood to Portage – 11 miles (15m)
    (BELOW ROUTE IS 25 MILES ONE WAY + 25 MILES BACK – 46m 1 way)
    Portage to Hope – 25 miles(46m)
    Hope to Cooper landing– 47 miles(58m)
    Cooper landing to Sterling – 34 miles(41m)
    Sterling to Soldotna – 11 miles(14m)
    Soldotna to Ridgeway – 4 miles(6m)
    Ridgeway to Kenai – 8 miles(13m)
    Kenai to Salamatof – 6 miles(9m)
    Salamatof to Nikiski – 8 miles(12m)
    Nikiski through salamatof to Kalifornsky – 27 miles(34m)
    Kalifonsky to Cohoe – 15 miles(20m)
    Cohoe to Ninilchik – 30 miles(37m)
    Ninilchik to Happy valley – 9 miles(12m)
    Happy valley to Anchor point – 12 miles(14m)
    Anchor point to Homer – 15 miles(19m)
    Homer to Kachemak – 5 miles(10m)
    Kachemak to Portage – 178 miles(3h 22m)
    backtrack above route
    Portage to Moose pass – 50 miles (50m)
    Moose Pass to Crown point – 5 miles (6m)
    Crown Point to Primrose – 7 miles (9m)
    Primrose to Bear creek – 17 miles (21m)
    Bear Creek to Seward – 5 miles (10m)
    Seward to Lowell point – 2 miles (8m)
    Lowell point to Whittier - 90 miles (2h)
    Portage to Whittier - 12 miles (23m)
    Whittier to Anchorage – 60 miles (1h 20m)
    Anchorage to Eagle River – in anchorage
    Anchorage to Palmer – 42 miles (49m)
    Palmer to Glacier view – 60 miles (1h 11m)
    Eureka roadhouse – 18 miles (18m)
    Eureka roadhouse to Nelchina – 15 miles (14m)
    Nelchina to Mendeltna – 12 miles (12m)
    Mendeltna to Glennallen – 29 miles (28m)
    Glennallen to Copper center – 16 miles(20m)
    Copper center to Willow creek – 10 miles(11m)
    Willow creek to Chitina – 42 miles(50m)
    Chitina to Mccarthy – 60 miles(2h 5m)
    Mccarthy to Wortmanns – 158 miles(3h 52m)
    Wortmanns to valdez – 22 miles(25m)
    Now backtrack from Valdez to Glennallen (go through tonsina, willow creek, copper center) – 120 miles(2h 8m)
    Glennallen to Gulkana – 10 miles(12m)
    Gulkana to Gakona – 9 miles(13m)
    Gakona to Chistochina - 30 miles(35m)
    Chistochina to slana – 27 miles(44m)
    Slana to Mentasta Lake – 25 miles(30m)
    Metasta Lake to Tok – 39 miles(43m)
    Tok to Teltin Junction – 12 miles(15m)
    Teltin Junction to Chicken – 64 miles(1h 18m)
    Chicken back to Tok – 78 miles(1h 33m)
    Tok to Tanacross – 13 miles(19m)
    Tanacross to dot lake – 37 miles(41m)
    Dot lake to delta junction – 60 miles(56m)
    Delta junction to Donnelly – 28 miles(29m)
    Donnelly to Paxson – 52 miles(54m)
    Paxson back to Delta Junction – 80 miles(1h 25m)
    Delta junction to big delta – 9 miles(10m)
    Big delta to moose creek – 67 miles(1h 7m)
    Moose creek to north pole – 7 miles(11m)
    North pole to Fairbanks – 14 miles(17m)
    Fairbanks to Four mile road – 53 miles(56m)
    Four mile road to Nenana – 4 miles(7m)
    Nenana to Clear – 25 miles(26m)
    Clear to Ferry – 19 miles(18m)
    Ferry to Healy – 11 miles(11m)
    Healy to Mckinley park – 19 miles(24m)
    Mckinley park to Cantwell – 22 miles(25m)
    Cantwell to Talkeetna – 127 miles(2h 6m)
    Tallkeetna to Trapper creek – 30 miles(33m)
    Trapper creek to Petersville – 29 miles(1h 2m)
    Petersville backtrack through Trapper creek + talkeetna to Willow – 75 miles(1h 27m)
    Willow to Houston – 11 miles(12m)
    Houston to Wasilla – 16 miles(19m)
    Wasilla to Eagle river – 28 miles(29m)
    Eagle river to anchorage- 16 miles(20m)

    We also have a section for the far north, but we´ve decided to leave that out due to the road conditions and 1-2 years after we settle in our new home, we can visit the far north.
    During this drive, we will stay 1-2 nights per week in a hotel, the rest of the time on camping grounds, etc.
    When the trip ends, we will settle in a campground in or outside of the town we choose to move to, we are in no rush finding a place so whether it takes 3 months or 1 year to find what we like, fine. Maybe after 12 months we will rent an apartment, but that will be decided at that time. We will buy a new car (leaning towards the F150 or maybe not), buy a lot of land with a year-round-livable-cabin already, or a lot of land and have a smaller cabin built. Although we prefer to avoid the building costs.
    So now come our questions, and although they may seem really silly to many of you, bear with us as when we say we want to live near bison or wolverines, it doesn´t actually mean we want to go outside and pet the wolverines and play with them like they are kittens. We respect wildlife, we don´t want to be the couple that was raised by wolves in Alaska, we just want to live around it. Also, we are the type of people who do not have expectations in terms of seeing certain wildlife like wolves. We realize certain wildlife is seldom seen. If we see something, great, if not, that´s life.

    1)We are fond of wolverines, but have been told by numerous people your best chance of seeing them would be living in the brooks range. According to the same people, finding a cabin with running water and electricity and in the vicinity of normal things (grocery stores), etc in brooks range is impossible. But we also see that wolverines are in mainland Alaska. Even though they are seldom seen, do you ever see them say in a place like Healy or Circle or Wasilla etc, or really only in the far north?
    2)Herds of caribou are also high on our list. We were told in a certain area near Healy there is a great place you can view herds when they are migrating. Are there actually small towns where these migrating herds go through every season, or do they completely stay away from where anyone would live?
    3) Bison are less important to us but out of curiosity, would you ever see a bison walking down the street in Wasilla like you would see a moose or bear? Or are bison really located in a certain area mainly?
    4) The most important animal for us is the wolf, although I understand people have lived in Alaska for 20 years and never saw a wolf (depending on where they live). We would like to live in a wolf town ie wolf country, where you see many. But it won´t happen, we understand.
    We were told you can see some in the far north, but really only in national parks as they aren´t seen often, for example, in small towns.
    So my questions regarding wolves are if someone said I want to live in the area that has the most wolves, and not inside of a park, and not in the far north or brooks range, and not in he Aleutians or on an island, where should I live? What town or area do I have the biggest chance of seeing wolves more than once?
    5)Girdwood and Valdez are high on our list because of the snow. But we have been told you won´t see any wolves in valdez or girdwood, and probably very few to no caribou as the snow is too deep. Is this true?
    6)Considering we want to live in a cabin about 20-40 minutes away from a store with what one needs to live (groceries, etc), is it possible to live, say 25 minutes away from the docks in Valdez and be living in a cabin away from everything? Is that possible actually in any part of Alaska ie in a cabin 25 minutes outside of Fairbanks or the north pole or Wasilla or any place really?
    7) This is just a question out of curiosity. If we were to move to a place like Circle, would a small community like that accept and be happy with 2 strangers settling in there?
    8) Lastly, the first place on our list is Healy, mainly because a park ranger from Denali said if she had to recommend one place for us considering what we want, and also considering we won´t get the most snow and wolves/caribou in the same spot, she would say if we want the most snow to choose valdez or girdwood, and if we want less snow but more wildlife choose healy and try to find a place near stampede road area as it borders denali. She also said she lived there and would see wolves, cats, bears etc all from her front porch, and the people there are extremely friendly to new neighbors. Therefore, do you think living outside of denali actually means you see more wildlife in your front yard, or would there be ust as much wildlife in your front yard in a place like Wasilla, or circle, etc….?

    Remember, our main things are lots of snow, wolves, caribou…..we are going to see bears and moose in most places regardless.

    We really appreciate the help as even though we´ll learn a lot once there, it is nice to hear diffrnt peoples opinions.

  • #2
    Healy would probably fit your bill..
    Denali has a long and storied history of wolf research and conservation....the rest of the state, not so much....
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    • #3
      And if you drive that itinerary in midsummer, you'll see hundreds of thousands of people, and maybe a few animals...if you really want to see wildlife from a vehicle in the north, try northern B.C/ Yukon territory....
      "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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      • #4
        Originally posted by cdubbin View Post
        Healy would probably fit your bill..
        Denali has a long and storied history of wolf research and conservation....the rest of the state, not so much....

        Thanks, that´s why we have it at the end of the route. It seems what most are saying.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cdubbin View Post
          And if you drive that itinerary in midsummer, you'll see hundreds of thousands of people, and maybe a few animals...if you really want to see wildlife from a vehicle in the north, try northern B.C/ Yukon territory....
          That´s a good point I left out. We´re not driving to see animals, we just want them where we settle down. We´re just driving to take a look at the towns and see if one makes us go "ooooh" more than the others, learn about Alaska, see some nice places, etc...

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          • #6
            I have a cousin in Healy. Seems like owning property is a little weird, like the railroad owns most everything under your house? Not sure. They don’t particularly love the place, but he works for the mine and has a good job. The community seems pretty supportive and it’s not a horrible drive to Fairbanks for stuff. Also seems to be a great spot if Winter is your friend.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by gbflyer View Post
              I have a cousin in Healy. Seems like owning property is a little weird, like the railroad owns most everything under your house? Not sure. They don’t particularly love the place, but he works for the mine and has a good job. The community seems pretty supportive and it’s not a horrible drive to Fairbanks for stuff. Also seems to be a great spot if Winter is your friend.

              Thanks, I´ll check up on that. Do you know if he is familiar with McKinley Village (I find McKinley Park on google maps but not McKinley Village, although I see McKinley Village has a facebook page and not sure if healy is considered somewhere inside McKinley Village). And maybe he also knows if there is still a road leading to ferry, as someone told me they think you cannot drive to ferry anymore, you have to park and walk across a bridge or something, but they were not sure.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by flopitdown View Post
                Thanks, I´ll check up on that. Do you know if he is familiar with McKinley Village (I find McKinley Park on google maps but not McKinley Village, although I see McKinley Village has a facebook page and not sure if healy is considered somewhere inside McKinley Village). And maybe he also knows if there is still a road leading to ferry, as someone told me they think you cannot drive to ferry anymore, you have to park and walk across a bridge or something, but they were not sure.
                If you’re talking what I think locals call glitter gulch, it isn’t very far from Healy. We drove there for a pizza, took maybe 10-15 minutes each way if I remember right. Pretty much a facade owned by the cruise line thats mostly closed other than in tourist season.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by flopitdown View Post
                  That´s a good point I left out. We´re not driving to see animals, we just want them where we settle down. We´re just driving to take a look at the towns and see if one makes us go "ooooh" more than the others, learn about Alaska, see some nice places, etc...
                  About half of what's on your list might make you go, "ooohhhh"....the rest will make you hit the door locks, lol...
                  You're going to be blowing right by most of the best stuff...
                  I think you're right on checking out Hope, Talkeetna, and McCarthy...they are charming and historic places...I would also recommend Eagle, Manley, Seldovia, the Denali Highway, the Swanson River road, Hatcher Pass, Nabesna, Nancy Lakes, Prince William Sound ferry...all peripheral to your trip, and more scenic/ less crowded than what you have listed....
                  "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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                  • #10
                    There will be tracts available early next summer in beautiful "Sunrise, Alaska".
                    "Life Is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing" - Helen Keller

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gbflyer View Post
                      If you’re talking what I think locals call glitter gulch, it isn’t very far from Healy. We drove there for a pizza, took maybe 10-15 minutes each way if I remember right. Pretty much a facade owned by the cruise line thats mostly closed other than in tourist season.

                      Thanks for that, I´ll look that up also.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cdubbin View Post
                        About half of what's on your list might make you go, "ooohhhh"....the rest will make you hit the door locks, lol...
                        You're going to be blowing right by most of the best stuff...
                        I think you're right on checking out Hope, Talkeetna, and McCarthy...they are charming and historic places...I would also recommend Eagle, Manley, Seldovia, the Denali Highway, the Swanson River road, Hatcher Pass, Nabesna, Nancy Lakes, Prince William Sound ferry...all peripheral to your trip, and more scenic/ less crowded than what you have listed....
                        lol Thanks. I´ll add those to the route, appreciate it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AGL4now View Post
                          There will be tracts available early next summer in beautiful "Sunrise, Alaska".

                          I remember Sunrise on the map but if i remember correctly there were no road or street to it. This is a stupid question, but what do you mean by tracts?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            And don't forget a AAA "Plus" membership, and a current copy of the Milepost....your best friends on the road....
                            "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by flopitdown View Post
                              This is a stupid question, but what do you mean by tracts?
                              Actually they are lots.


                              tracts (plural noun)
                              • an area of indefinite extent, typically a large one.
                                "large tracts of natural forest"
                              "Life Is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing" - Helen Keller

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