Because Bob and I took a cruise to Alaska last year, I have found myself interested in all things Alaskan. I don’t really think I would want to move to Alaska, because I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to snow and cold, but I have to say that Alaska is absolutely beautiful…and yes, I would got back for a vacation again…in a heartbeat. While I didn’t like the cool weather, Alaska is a place like no other. The United States took possession of Alaska on this day October 18, 1867, after purchasing it for $7.2 million…less than 2 cents an acre. The Alaska purchase comprised 586,412 square miles, about twice the size of Texas, and was championed by William Henry Seward, the enthusiastically expansionist secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson. Many people thought the purchase was frivolous. Public opinion of the purchase turned more favorable when gold was discovered in a tributary of Alaska’s Klondike River in 1896, sparking a gold rush. Alaska became the 49th state on January 3, 1959, and is now recognized for its vast natural resources and great beauty.
Since we were there, I found an app for my phone that tells me about earthquakes around the world, and since Alaska gets a lot of them, the names of some of the places we were at have shown up on my app periodically. There haven’t been any huge earthquakes, but there are still earthquakes. The reason earthquakes grabbed my interest was because of a movie we watched in Anchorage, about the about the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake that occurred there. It was the largest earthquake in the history of the United States, registering 9.2 on the Richter Scale. The devastation from that earthquake is something that I will never forget. I wasn’t even there, and I will never forget it. When we walked past the area where so many houses were simply swallowed up…well, it was an eerie feeling. It was hard to shake it. One minute people were living their lives, and the next they are buried alive. Still, life moved on, and people persevered.
It takes a rather tough breed of people to live in Alaska. The weather gets extreme, and much of the state is, and always will be a wilderness area. Half of the year has extra long days, and half of the year has extra long nights. Yet, even with the extreme and sometimes brutal weather, the people of Alaska stay there. They work hard all summer to prepare for the long winter, and in summer’s long days, they are outside enjoying the fresh air well into the nighttime hours, because they know that the winter is coming and with it will be the short, cold, dark days. I don’t think most of us could handle Alaska, and yet those who do feel that it is a gift. And that is something I can understand.
While I didn’t get to see the Aurora Borealis, I know that I would go back to Alaska for an Aurora Tour in a heartbeat. The mountains there are beautiful, and everything has a feeling of vastness. Alaska is a beautiful state, and one I would really recommend that people visit. While I wouldn’t live there, I would definitely go back there. You simply can’t see Alaska in a one week trip. All that does is whet your appetite. I’m really glad that we purchased Alaska, even if the people weren’t sure it was a great idea at first.