Summer Fears in the Last Frontier
By: Courtney Dowd-Stanley
Experiencing Alaska’s glorious summer season can be the most heavenly thing that will ever happen in your life. Ask any local and they’ll tell you that summer in Alaska is something that is never taken for granted. In fact, we ferociously fight sleep to avoid losing out on a single second of Alaska’s premier time of year. After a cold and dark winter, the revitalizing warmth and sunlight of summer is a necessity—especially the vitamin D. No matter what, we’re out to have a good time and get things done, and nothing is going to get in our way … except maybe these 13 relentless fears that every local has each summer. Flickr - Joseph
1 – Getting stuck behind the tourist train (otherwise known as an R.V. parade). Flickr - Kim F When you want to pass, but you can’t see anything but motorhomes for miles…
2 – Wasting precious fishing time in the dreaded construction traffic. Flickr - carol mitchell We hate the traffic but complain about the rocky roads. Dang frost heaves! We dread the delays, but then catch ourselves happily day-dreaming about the smooth stretches of pavement that’ll be there next summer. Well, at least the views are always good.
3 – Sun guilt. Flickr - Keith Parker After pining all winter for sunlight, you can’t help but feel guilty staying indoors in your PJ’s all day when the sun is shining for 24 bright hours. Must. Keep. Going. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on sleep, because all too soon winter will roll back around.
4 – Those three little words that pack a mean punch. Let’s say it together now… “HOOK IN EYE!” Peninsula Clarion Ouch! Wetting lines doesn’t have many disadvantages, but this one can’t be denied. Emergency room visits are always a major buzz kill when the sun is shining in the Last Frontier.
5 – Being run off by the ‘other’ locals. Flickr - Ian Collins Sure, a local might try to run a tourist out of their favorite fishing spot. We all know this to be true. But even locals get chased out of the best honey holes by critters that aren’t concerned with picking on “people” their own size.
6 – Bad salmon runs. Flickr - Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service If the runs aren’t prolific, everyone in Alaska suffers. Sport, commercial, and subsistence anglers rely on Alaska’s tremendous natural resources as a means of survival. Summer fears like this are never fun to deal with.
7 – Dry weather causing “burn bans” and taking away all the comforting campfire smells that take us back to the good ole’ days. Flickr - Travis Nothing beats a little campfire nostalgia. But when the weather is hot and dry in Alaska, the wildfire danger is simply too high to allow for the s’mores party to carry on.
8 – Mosquitoes. Oh, and spruce bark beetles. Also, cow parsnip. Devil’s club, too. Flickr - Murray Foubister The endless swatting and scratching of mosquitoes bites—sometimes you can’t walk out the front door without getting swarmed by the unofficial ‘state bird’ that takes all the fun out of everything. Then the spruce bark beetles come along and chomp away at our forests. While you're in the wilderness, off the beaten path, cow parsnip and devil’s club will either feel like daggers piercing into your skin, or leave a painful itchy blister. Either way, it’s no bueno. You'll be itching to get rid of these kind of summer fears.
9 – Getting stuck between a rock in a hard place. Flickr - Christoph Strässler Whether you’re broke down in a remote area with no cell reception, fogged in at a Southeast Alaska airport, or caught red handed between a sow and her cubs—Alaska locals know firsthand how quickly things can take a turn for the worst due to weather or wildlife. Best thing to do? Be prepared for anything. Summer fears are unavoidable, but try to practice patience and enjoy going with the flow. Alaska is one big, beautiful, and unpredictable beast.
10 – Watching smart people do dumb things. Flickr - a.dombrowski Okay, so we’re giving you all the benefit of the doubt here. But, c’mon! You (tourists and locals) can’t stop in the middle of the road to roll down your window and take pictures of moose. We get it – sometimes the urge to take your time and make sure your photo turns out good is too strong. But, unfortunately, highway laws apply. Find a safe spot to enjoy Alaska’s splendor without putting others in danger.
11 – Getting lost in translation. Flickr - Lukáš Poláček Alaska’s rugged backcountry is arguably the most alluring setting in the entire world. But when a storm moves in and the compass isn’t leading you down a familiar path, getting lost can mean a life or death situation. Being knowledgeable and vigilant is key to avoiding these kind of summer fears.
12 – Trashy behavior. Flickr - Katmai National Park and Preserve Whether it’s the visitors or the locals, nothing is more depressing than seeing our beautiful state being filled with litter. The Last Frontier deserves so much more than all that nonsense!
13 – Leaving. Nothing is worse than not being able to spend summer under the midnight sun. Flickr - Western Arctic National Parklands
Every local knows that leaving Alaska during the summer season is absolute torture. We spend nine months waiting for summer, and painstakingly plan all of our “outside” travel to avoid missing any second of it. Nothing short of a disaster would make us choose to leave. As the old saying goes, “you can take an Alaskan out of Alaska, but you can’t take the Alaska out of an Alaskan.”
Looking for more where that came from? Check out these 15 incredible lakes that will demand your attention this summer. If you love wildlife, you'll enjoy the admirable Alaska animal sanctuary that's providing a safe haven for bears in Sitka, Alaska. Also, we're sure you'll agree with these 15 reasons why anyone who visits Alaska this summer won't want to leave.
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Written by Courtney Dowd-Stanley
Thank you for sharing. 25 years in Alaska..Was a wonderful journey in my life. I love Alaska…and all the great memories I have in my heart.
Hope to come back soon to visit!
Have been enjoying Alaska for 15 years now always make 1to 3 trips per year. Will be there in 2 weeks . Can hardly wait!