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Old 01-10-2017, 07:30 AM
Backwoodsdreamer Backwoodsdreamer is online now
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Default Thinking about moving up to AK in a few years



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Finally starting to get my life on track and make plans. I know for sure I want to be at least semi self sufficient/offgrid and Alaska seems to be by far the best place to do so. I understand it's hard work and not some romantic fairytale but I'm looking for as many firsthand accounts as I can get as well as suggestions. Hit me with your pros/cons/major pains in the asses etc along with some tips on where I could go that would be rural/remote but still have reasonable access to a school and hospital and things I'd need that aren't so obvious. One thing in particular I'm curious about is the subsistence hunting thing (heard moose hunts are on lottery basis but not sure if that applies in rural/remote) and how I'd fare my first year of residency until the "legal resident" requirement for hunting license is met if that's a thing (also read that somewhere). Either going to have diesel mechanic or welding as a trade through national guard assuming nothing screws me out of joining. Thanks!
Old 01-10-2017, 09:09 AM
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this should be interesting
Old 01-10-2017, 09:09 AM
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I'm curious myself about the real Alaska and not what's on tv
Old 01-10-2017, 12:47 PM
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Start reading the Alaska game laws and quit fantasizing.
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Old 01-10-2017, 01:17 PM
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Don't know anything about Alaska but I would go with welding as a trade given the choice.
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Old 01-10-2017, 02:00 PM
ajole ajole is offline
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In remote places, a welder that can't wrench isn't much use, a mechanic that can't weld isn't either, so you better know both.
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Old 01-10-2017, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppine View Post
Start reading the Alaska game laws and quit fantasizing.
Or we can be nice and just provide the link:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...gulations.main
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Old 01-10-2017, 02:27 PM
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But I think he was asking for more than just regulations. He's wanting to know availability and whether it's as productive as it's made out on television (which he probably knows isn't so).

He's also asking about location. I was considering Alaska at one time myself and was thinking just outside of Fairbanks. Close enough to drive in, far enough out to be left the hell alone.
Old 01-10-2017, 06:16 PM
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The North has a long, dark, cold winters. The wildlife density there is not as high as the Lower 48, not even close. There are fewer people, so at really low densities of humans there is enough to go around. The "Last Alaskans" can give you some clue.

A lot times it is hit or miss. Getting a moose changes everything for a lot of people. Dropping 5 caribou all at once can do the same thing. Sometimes you cannot find the caribou or a moose. Then you get to live on ptarmigan and snow shoe hares. Alaska is not for the faint of heart. You have to like cold, dark and remote with few services and no spare parts. Just remember that Alaska is trying to kill you most of the time. If that sounds like your kind of challenge, have at it.
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ppine View Post
The North has a long, dark, cold winters. The wildlife density there is not as high as the Lower 48, not even close. There are fewer people, so at really low densities of humans there is enough to go around. The "Last Alaskans" can give you some clue.

A lot times it is hit or miss. Getting a moose changes everything for a lot of people. Dropping 5 caribou all at once can do the same thing. Sometimes you cannot find the caribou or a moose. Then you get to live on ptarmigan and snow shoe hares. Alaska is not for the feint of heart. You have to like cold, dark and remote with few services and no spare parts. Just remember that Alaska is trying to kill you most of the time. If that sounds like your kind of challenge, have at it.
I admit I may be a little soft around the edges for a long ways north. I was thinking about the southern part but if what I'm looking for isn't available there I can always toughen up. Cold I like, dark I can handle. I'm used to living in BFE (for the lower 48) and never had enough money for spare parts so I'm semi used to making due. I've got a lot to work on but it's not a "moving tomorrow" situation or anything.

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Originally Posted by America's Patriot View Post
But I think he was asking for more than just regulations. He's wanting to know availability and whether it's as productive as it's made out on television (which he probably knows isn't so).

He's also asking about location. I was considering Alaska at one time myself and was thinking just outside of Fairbanks. Close enough to drive in, far enough out to be left the hell alone.
Correct on both parts. I didn't take offense to the "quit fantasing". I'm sure it happens to everybody that thinks about moving up there regardless of how in touch with reality they are. I know for a fact I'm guilty of it sometimes
Old 01-11-2017, 03:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backwoodsdreamer View Post
Cold I like, dark I can handle
I guess that depends on your definition of cold. Check the weather reports for Alaska next week. Depending on the source, temps can be anywhere from -40 (Damn Cold) to -60 (****ing Cold) for a bit.

Not to dissuade you, but getting dark, and staying dark are different things. But if you can deal with it, we get some of the most beautiful dark ever. If we do hit -60 in the coming days, we could have some of the most beautiful skies you've ever seen. If you can stand to be out there long enough to look at them, and the wood smoke from the neighbors isn't blocking the view.

Just, know what your getting into.
Old 01-11-2017, 11:10 AM
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If you are soft try somewhere else. This is the best advice you get this year.
Old 01-11-2017, 05:04 PM
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I guide up there in the summers, Nusagak River mostly. Did some adventure guiding taking people bear viewing. It is a beautiful place, but can turn life threatening in an instant. It does get very cold in the winter.
Old 01-11-2017, 05:19 PM
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My wife and I have been up to Alaska several times. It is beautiful, no doubt. At that time I also had a fantasy of moving up there so I spoke with a lot of the people living there. They do not consider you even a tenderfoot Alaskan until you make it through one whole winter. Apparently 95% of people that move there fail to last the first winter. Like others have said already, it is not for the faint of heart. The cost of living can be extremely high due to cost of transporting goods up there, that will depend on your lifestyle. Certainly will be an adventure you can tell your grand kids, hopefully, if you survive.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:38 PM
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I've lived here 47 years and have family and friends all over the state - which is really huge and extremely varied in terrain and temperature. Realize when the snow falls here it usually stays and accumulates all winter long. One sister lives in North Pole and it's been a normal, very cold, and snowy winter. That's a smallish community outside of Fairbanks - our second largest town - which is considered in the Interior of the state which has short, hot summers (but we grow grain up there) and long, cold, dark winters.

Family on Kodiak Island, one of the best kept secrets of the state. Amazing fishing, hunting, beauty - not many people among the town and villages. Since you mentioned the southern portion, you'd want to check out Kodiak, Sitka, Haines and Ketchikan - these areas are more warm but also more rainy.

There are many small villages scattered thru the state that are way off the small amount of roadway we have. Access by boat or plane (or dogsled/snowmachine) only. These are the places where the prices of everything skyrockets. I have a friend who teaches in the far north villages and has been stuck without transport several times this winter because the weather has been too bad. That means no mail or other type delivery as well. Her area in the far north part of the state is where the sun does not come up for months. My son works on the slope and was delayed a couple days on his come-home day this rotation.

Anchorage is considered to be in the Banana Belt (Southcentral portion of the state), the big city at over 300K now but all the perks and problems that come with it. Amazingly beautiful town though. Lots of city moose and bears, I can just about guarantee you'd see one or more if you visit. Sunsets and sunrises this time of year are unbelievable. They've had nice normal cold weather and snow this year too. Jobs not so hard to find and many folks commute from the MatSu Valley.

I should mention Glennallen to Valdez too - there are (very) small communities all thru there - not many stores but there are schools and mail delivery between those two towns, since it's on the road system. But easy to get out away too. This area is not really south and you have to drive thru Thompson Pass (which gets a freak-ton of snow every year) to get to Valdez...which gets a freak-ton of snow every year Extreme Winter games are held here too.

The state does still do some land lotteries from time to time, and there are even some places with no property tax (and no services either)...remote living is very possible if you are not afraid of work. I have friends who built their retirement cabin up on the back side of a mountain in this area; you can't hear anything but the wild. Here is a website for that...you'd do well to look thru all the online State of Alaska info, it's pretty good. http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/landsale/index.cfm

Good luck, you should consider a visit in the summer and one in the winter, just about anywhere up here so you experience some of it. We used to have a popular bumper-sticker: We don't care HOW they do it Outside. That attitude still shows up but not so much as in years past. (Outside is our word for anyplace not Alaska...)

Current weather map - though the north part has dropped in temps from what's shown here
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:30 PM
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Unless you have a lot of stuff to move, consider an interim move to Wyoming, Montana or northern Idaho. They aren't quite as cold and dark as AK, and perhaps a bit less 'free' but you may avoid a huge mistake if you find you can't handle winter in the deep north.

I lived in New Hampshire and up on the Keewenaw in MI in my 20's, and wouldn't touch either with a 10' pole once I hit my 50's.
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:26 PM
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Scorinth had a lot of good to say. Definitely come to visit. Summers are fantastic. Winters are winter - you better like winter, and little sun, or you won't stay. There's lots of winter sports, as you'd imagine, and there are parties to break up the winter -- like Iron Dog, Iditarod, Fur Rendezvous, Miner's Ball, and such. Gotta keep that cabin fever away Lack of sunshine is areal thing up here in the winter. Some people use lamps; my wife took a Vit D supplement for a few years in the winter; it never really bothered me at all. A lot of us get outside at least once during winter - I know we do once or twice between Jan and March. I'm not as warm-blooded as I used to be.

Possibly an easy way to move would be a move to Anchorage, rent for a while and get a job, then use it as a base to look around the state to pick something according to your tastes. You can be in Anchorage or out in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors and no one to say anything about what you do, or any of the grey area in-between. Things have decidedly tamed down in the last 20 years or so -- I have mixed feelings on that. Used to be, quite a few "bad guys" never made it into the hands of law enforcement to be dealt with; but not these days. A lot of the big box stores have moved into Anchorage, couple in the Valley and Kenai, for both the good and bad of it. We're friendly, trusting, and helpful, but we like to be left alone at the same time.

One thing for sure -- if you're anything left of moderate, please DO NOT COME!!! We DO NOT WANT you. You will be outnumbered. We have enough of those kind to deal with -- coming up here 'cause it's Alaska, then frickin' start trying to change it to what they left behind.

With all that said, and if you're not guilty of the paragraph above, make your way up and don't let people try to talk you out of it or say you're crazy. The odds are high you'll absolutely love it. And heck, if not, you an always drop back down outside.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backwoodsdreamer View Post
Finally starting to get my life on track and make plans. I know for sure I want to be at least semi self sufficient/offgrid and Alaska seems to be by far the best place to do so. I understand it's hard work and not some romantic fairytale but I'm looking for as many firsthand accounts as I can get as well as suggestions. Hit me with your pros/cons/major pains in the asses etc along with some tips on where I could go that would be rural/remote but still have reasonable access to a school and hospital and things I'd need that aren't so obvious. One thing in particular I'm curious about is the subsistence hunting thing (heard moose hunts are on lottery basis but not sure if that applies in rural/remote) and how I'd fare my first year of residency until the "legal resident" requirement for hunting license is met if that's a thing (also read that somewhere). Either going to have diesel mechanic or welding as a trade through national guard assuming nothing screws me out of joining. Thanks!
Why don't you find a remote place close to your present location and practice this lifestyle in a safer environment. If you find out that you are adept at living like this, then move to Alaska. In addition, you will have improved your skills in welding or diesel mechanics.

Moving to Alaska was a fantastic learning experience for me, but I had a job waiting for me when I got there. Alaska is not the place for someone with marginal skills and no job. It is a great place, however, to be cold and hungry with no place to stay if you come unprepared.
Old 01-11-2017, 10:34 PM
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I wanted to add one more comment...If you have welding skills, you will not lack work, that is for sure. My dad was a pipefitter/welder with his own shop in Kodiak. He worked on the Alaska Pipeline when it was going in back in the 70s and never stopped working. Anyplace with a boat harbor will keep you busy, but that's a good skill anywhere.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:31 PM
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I especially appreciate the responses here from a few people living in Alaska. I'm a sailor, and one of the plans I fantasize about sitting in San Francisco bay area traffic every day involves 3 cases of canned chicken and turning right when I sail out the Golden Gate. I have friends halfway, and after a season kicking around in the Puget Sound I could see myself exploring the coastal panhandle, and farther north.

It's especially good to see someone say that a fellow who can both weld and wrench might find his way up there, as welding and wrenching are two things I do even when I don't have to do anything. :-)
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