Throw-that ball over those mountains in '88-back Thursday! | Teaching in the Tongass

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Throw-that ball over those mountains in '88-back Thursday!

I figured this would be a great time to pop in a Throwback Thursday since I'm being all gushy about home this week (don't ask me in October about living here or I'll throw a SAD light at you in a moment of sheer "rain-fever") and I've already written a post about it anyway. Throwin it back in 3, 2, 1...

Originally posted 4/20/2013

Alaska. Home. My great great grandparents arrived in Skagway, Southeast Alaska during the Gold Rush.  My great great grandfather made his living running a pack train (leading mules with people's luggage and supplies) on the Chilkoot Trail.  They eventually made their way to Juneau (not far away) and my family has been here ever since.
Juneau:
I work in an elementary school in the middle of a valley know as the Mendenhall Valley, which was carved by the Mendenhall Glacier.  This is one of the best views of the glacier...check out those beautiful fireweed flowers in the foreground.
And here is a pic my brother took of the northern lights above the same  glacier (different viewpoint) last week...it was at 1:00 in the morning, I was sound asleep :)
If you want a little more live action, check out these webcams

A few misconceptions I should address sooner rather than later:
We do not live in igloos. We do not use dog sleds for transportation.  We accept the dollar.  Alaska is part of the United States, not a territory, but a STATE. It is connected to the rest of the continent and not in a little box next to Hawaii as your map might lead you to believe.  It is HUGE. Bigger than Texas.  If you know someone in Barrow and ask me if I know them, I might ask you if you know someone on the other side of the country. Yes, our population is small (Juneau is about 30k), but we are spread out on a large scale.


The funny thing about our state, is that in addition to being shown as small on a map, it is never shown in the correct location.  Every year, students LIVING IN JUNEAU, think that we are an island off the coast of California (this is usually how a map displays Alaska).  Here's a little Alaska humor showing how crazy it would be if we just showed inaccurate maps everywhere:
 
Can you tell I have had some interesting conversations with tourists off the cruise ships every summer?  There are many very different regions of AK, and Southeast AK is along the coast...ocean, gigantic mountains everywhere, glaciers, spruce trees, the works.  Northern AK (Anchorage and beyond) is where you might picture tundra, moose, Eskimo, Iditarod....Juneau is very far way from that area and in fact, land-locked (travel in and out only by ferry or airplane).  I cannot count the number of times I have been talking to a customer service agent for a company that tells me "There is a store in Anchorage, you could go there."  Not likely, buddy. 

Weather: We are in a rainforest, which means it rains. All. The. Time. Seriously. An average of 62 inches a year. But...on the bright side, when it's sunny, you are reminded how lucky and fortunate you are to live in a tourist destination.
 It snows on and off from about November to March, rains on and off throughout the other months.  May, June and July are our summer season months.  It is light out until about 10 or 11 pm in the summer, and is only dark for a few hours before the sun rises again....a complete trip when you are camping and the birds are singing in the middle of the night because it is getting light at 3!
So, if you ever decide to take a trip to Alaska, first, make sure it's May-July if you want a good chance of sunshine, then make sure you stop in Juneau and at least say hello to me! Seriously, I'd love to meet any of my followers!
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1 comment

  1. I know what you mean about misconceptions about Alaska, I live in Anchorage and people ask me the same questions. Mt favorite was when my Mom's cousins went on a cruise that docked in Juneau and they wanted me to come down for the day and visit - um. . . .no!

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