11 February 2014

Life in Anchorage

A reader wrote to ask some questions about everyday life here in "the great land". That's what Alyeska means, by the way - an Aleut word the Russian explorers misunderstood and pronounced "Alaska".

Average annual snowfall here in Anchorage, located in "southcentral" (spelled locally as all one word), is around 65". That's not much, by some standards, but we frequently get more than that. Two years back, we had the heaviest snow since records have been kept - since 1915 - at about 149", officially. Here at my place, we measured as carefully as we could, and came up with 165".

The header picture, by the way, is the northern end of Anchorage. We're surrounded on almost all sides by mountain ranges. The Chugach Mountains, shown there, form the east side of town.

What does Anchorage look like, all up close and personal-like? Glad you asked.

Downtown, looking east

Lake Hood in summertime - the world's busiest floatplane base

A typical Anchorage neighborhood in winter

Chilkoot Charlie's, an old-time (and somewhat notorious) bar

The Glacier Brewhouse, a good eatery in downtown Anchorage

A graphic of southcentral Alaska, showing the general area & mountains - with luck, this one will enlarge greatly to show detail. Feel free to click!

Typical living accommodations - nearly 50% of Anchorage residents live in rental housing, and another 25% in condos.

The reader asked what time we turn on the Northern Light (snerk! - and yes, I know he was kidding). Truth is, they're often visible, but can't be seen in summertime because it doesn't get dark enough.

Average temps in July and August are daytime highs of 65, and ... well, here:

from www.anchorage.net

It's not unusual in January to have a week or more of temps below -20° F. at night. The coldest we've experienced in the last 10 years was -27°, during a cold snap that lasted about three weeks. Of course, by the third day I wasn't zipping up my parka, because it just didn't feel that cold. Our climate is rather dry, most of the time, and this part of Alaska actually qualifies as a sub-arctic desert, according to a guy at the Nat'l Weather Service who was interviewed on local TV some years ago.

Oh yes - if you ever visit Anchorage, be sure to visit the downtown visitors' center:


Cathy said...

Very informative!
"Great" and beautiful.
And there's grass on that visitor center roof! Whaaaaa?
And now I gotta look up Chugach for pronunciation and derivation :)

Rev. Paul said...

Thanks, Cathy. It's "CHEW-gatch", and is a tribal name.

CottonLady said...

Thank you for the tour and info on Anchorage! I was on a bus in September, 2011, through Anchorage, but only stopped downtown to eat briefly. I enjoyed the trip, but sure would have liked to have explored the city more. We ate a hamburger place with a crazy name, but can't remember it at the moment.

I'll send our cold weather so Spring can come in here!! Blessings!

Rev. Paul said...

You're welcome, Cottonlady. A downtown hamburger place? Hmm ... could have been Humpy's Alehouse, Platinum Jaxx, Snow City Cafe, Snow Goose ... there are a LOT of unusually-named places around here.

Old NFO said...

Been to Charlies, and stayed at the Hilton the last time I was up that way... Hilton had better food! :-)

Rev. Paul said...

The Hilton's food is alternative good, or really really bad, depending. This season they're on a "good" cycle again. I prefer the Captain Cook. :)

Chickenmom said...

Thanks for the pics! Wish I could see all in person. The temps I could tolerate - about the same here (it's -7 out on the back deck right now)

Murphy's Law said...

Been there a couple of times. Only time I stayed overnight was when I was traveling through with a young lady who I trusted to handle our lodgings since she was somewhat local. Shopping by price alone, she booked us into a quaint little place in Spenard where we had to check in with a desk clerk sitting behind lexan glass who told us that, for our own safety, we should go to the nearby store and get whatever we needed before it got dark. It was still fun, though.

Rev. Paul said...

You're welcome, ma'am. If you ever visit, I can help with recommendations for places to see, hotels, restaurants, etc.

Rev. Paul said...

I hear you. Spenard had a few bad years, but is much much better now. About 5 or 6 years ago, the millenials started moving there in droves, and it's now more of an up-and-coming artsy neighborhood, with new businesses & eateries.

Now, Mountain View & Muldoon are good places to avoid after dark. :)

Rev. Paul said...

From Armed Laughing:

Thanks for the info.
I know many folks in the lower 49 think you guys live in igloos!


Rev. Paul said...

Also, we all have pet polar bears, and tap into the pipeline for gas.


I know, Guffaw. I can't begin to list all the reasons why that's just void of thought. All we can do is plug away & hope for the best.

CottonLady said...

Yes!!! It was Humpy's Alehouse!!! Enjoyed a hurried meal there!