Missing summers in Fairbanks AK

Living in Alaska has plenty of perks.  After spending three years in the Interior I returned to the Lower 48 for a job but every summer I can't help but to think about everything I'm missing back up north in the Last Frontier.  Three great summers there are filled with memories of fun, friends, love, and unforgettable experiences.  There's plenty to love about the great state of Alaska, and while it would be easy to go on for pages and pages, I'm just going to pop off on the first six that really come to mind.  So kick back and hopefully you enjoy my article on the top six reasons I really miss Alaska summers.

Daylight - 22.5 hour days

This is a great part of the summer in Fairbanks Alaska.  You may have heard of the midnight baseball game - because at the height of summer it is light enough to play baseball without any lights even at midnight.  You get attached to the sunlight and the long days (even the dark is more of a dusk and only about 1.5 hours), and there's a lot of coolness to this.  Energy levels go through the roof, you have the energy to go off a couple hours of sleep a night long term, and you find a lot of people at all hours of the day with the energy and eagerness to party or adventure.  It's a great combination, and I definitely miss having energy for over 20 hours a day.  Long days like that are an experience in and of themselves, and they're just awesome!

Great parties

I miss the great parties.  There are a lot to find.  I had great friends who were as crazy as me, and that definitely helped.  Up there, parties are not always kept to one place with only the basic drink and chat set up.  You never know where the adventure goes, and half the great parties I went to were bonfires lit by strangers.  Outside of Fairbanks on a lot of the side roads by all the cabins, on any given evening (and definitely on the weekends) I'd buy a six pack and wander around looking for a bonfire.  First one I saw I would stop by, give the six pack as a gift, and wait for a large group of invited friends and/or wanderers to show.

I loved the fact that I could just wander up to a bonfire and with a little bit of alcohol I was invited to the party.  You'd get some of the best mixes of people from all walks of Alaska life - and I loved every story, every experience: it was stunning!

Big summer money from long hour jobs

If you are a worker, you can find plenty of jobs during the summer that demand 12-20 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You can make an incredible amount of money through overtime, and on off days you still have energy because of all the sunlight.  There are plenty of people who spend 5 months working in Alaska and 7 months hanging out in Hawaii with their earnings.  There are certainly much worse ways to go!

Alaska's beauty is timeless - know what to see

Fodor's Alaska 2013 (Full-color Travel Guide)
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Alaska provides a wide array of sights and sounds - and a travel guide can give you a great head start in figuring out where you want to go and what you want to see to get more in during your vacation. If you've never been before, grab a great guide like this one to see all that an extended Alaska vacation has to offer you.

Gorgeous picture of Alaska in summer

Aerial Photograph of Alaska
Credit: Public domain via the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife

More reasons I miss the 907

And continuing on with my next three reasons...

The people

Alaskans are uniquely, well...Alaskan.  And that's a good thing.  That, in fact, is awesome.  I miss the boisterious nature, the friendliness, the blue collar acceptance.  There is an attitude that is so different from what I've experienced in other states.  I loved living in Alaska because the people aren't afraid of being themselves, and they aren't afraid of sticking out.  There are good people, hard people, and a certain shared feeling of comradery from living through the Alaska experience.  Especially in winter you can see this, but you can also tap into the shared celebration when summer is finally around.  It's been said the people make the place, and even in a place as amazing as Alaska that still holds true.

The scenery

Do I even need to explain this one?  The scenery in Alaska is hard to compete with, and there's a reason that it is called The Last Frontier.  The train ride between Fairbanks and Anchorage tends to take an incredible 12 hours but it's worth it every time!  Amazing rivers, forests, mountains - it's all part of the great wilderness.  Alaska is an incredibly scenic state and has plenty of different looks to offer along with many different ways to see it.  You're not going to get more of the same old, same old from the 907 area code.  I miss the scenery, because you just can't compete with that.  Nothing like waking up and being around lakes, forests, and mountains with a chance to see moose and bear on any given hike.

The adventure

Just being in the state in summer meant adventure, even on a "normal" or calm day.  Between amazing conversations or a small day trip or bonfire party, there is always adventure big and small around every corner and conversation.  The adventure of just being surrounded by people like Alaskans, living in a state where you can take off any given moment and possibly find a once in a lifetime memory or experience - and knowing that any second can cause that change is something I sorely miss while hitting the hum drum of a career life in eastern Iowa.  This more than anything represents the sum total of what I miss about Alaska.

Great little video on Alaska's gorgeous scenery!