Freak Lightening Storm
Well, lightening storms are not too common in Anchorage, but this year has been unconditionally warmer then any year in history, we had record breaking temperature 45 days straight over 70 degrees... and all that heat and rain clashed, we had a wonderful loud storm as you can see here on the lake.Related to:
- National/State Park
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Bears and Moose still an issue
We might joke about "Los Anchorage" but they do still have resident bears. You won't see Brown or Black bears downtown but you can run into them anywhere on the outskirts of town, such as the hillside area. There are usually 4 or 5 incidents a year where either the bear is killed or someone mauled. Folks are getting better about sealing their garbage cans and keeping dog food inside so the number of encounters is declining. Local residents are fined if their garbage can is not bear proof or if they take their garbage out to the curb the night before pickup.
Use common sense and when you leave civilization keep an eye out. Making noise as you walk along is always smart, especially in thick brush or around a blind corner. They want to avoid dealing with you as much as you with them. Lots of folks pack a gun, but I have discovered unless you are carrying something huge like a .454 you're just going to pi** them off.
McHugh Creek is an area where there have been several bear incidents recently.
Another animal to be cautious around are moose. Anchorage has many, especially in winter, and you are likely to see one just strolling down a residential street. They will attack and their hooves are deadly. We lived in the Sand Lake area just south of the airport and had many encounters with the big lugs.
They are nice to look at, but every year several people in the Anchorage area get mauled by adult moose.
If you see one with it's ears lowered, it means that it is annoyed with you. You should beware.
If you see that it's ears are raised, it is still curious. Don't push it.
Now, I don’t mean to offend anyone but why in the world would you be homeless here?? Maybe you don’t have a choice, but it just so happens every one of our homeless people are veterans (according to their cardboard signs) or they stand by buildings that say “now hiring” for entry level or labor jobs. We do have a problem with panhandlers who stand on the corners, waiting for red lights to walk in front of your car and give you a cold, hard stare. Some just sit in a chair by the mall…I’m not sure how these more passive types make money, but one thing is certain, you come to Anchorage, you’ll see this. It’s sad, in a way because I couldn’t imagine being homeless in the first place, but to be homeless here has to be an entirely different experience than in a warmer climate. There are shelters and like I said, jobs. Like in other cities, I wouldn’t give these people money from your vehicle. If you feel so compelled to contribute, do so with meal coupons or through organizations like the Salvation Army or something which are also abundant in Anchorage.
Anchorage is not known for its spectacular weather. Perhaps not as rainy as southeast Alaska or as snowy as other places along the southcentral coast, but we do get our fair share of crappy weather. Winters are cold but not like Fairbanks…though we do drop below 0 F (-17 C) and it’s not unusual. When it snows, it sticks around. When it melts a little during the day, it freezes at night. After a short time, the layers of ice and snow accumulate and make walking an art form. Driving isn’t easy initially, either—we have studded tires and all wheel drive but still slide on occasion. Roads are not plowed very well, if at all—parking lots just get a scraping but this doesn’t remove the ice build up.
When it’s not snowing, it’s often rainy, but you bless the rain because it’s not snow. Streets do flood and the rain is usually chilly…definitely in the spring and fall. Summer, which takes place after our long season of snow and lingering season of mud, is reportedly pleasant. When I visited before in the summer, it definitely was. The long days, the mild temperatures create our tourist season.
We also have very cold clear days where apparently, the snow is upset that it can’t fall so it creates diamond dust instead. Little tiny particles of ice that shimmer on surfaces and in the air when captured by the sun, but with no accumulation. (The most common place for diamond dust is in Antarctica if that tells you something) Often, we have low clouds and resulting fog. Directly along the water, especially along Turnagain Arm outside of the city, winds of tropical storm strength are common.
Sound good? Then come on up! Seriously, though…we do have good days and like I said on my intro, they are not taken for granted.
Anchorage Drivers are Discourteous
If you plan on driving in Anchorage, expect to be tailgated, honked at, cut-off and shouted at. People here are in such a hurry to get on with their "Important Alaskan Life" that they will stop at nothing to get one car-length ahead. Oh yeah- and many of us are armed. So it's a Texas meets New York type of thing out there on the roads!Related to:
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Gaining access to the military bases
There are two military bases in Anchorage, Ft. Richardson and Ft. Elmendorf. To gain acess to the bases you must have one of the sets of the following items:
1. Military ID with offical window decal
2. Military ID with temporary pass
3. Other ID with a crapload of paperwork
The only way to access the base without option #1 is to use the Boniface gate (pictured) which you can access from the airport via the following directions:
From Anchorage International Airport to Boniface Gate (main gate).
Depart Airport you will be on West International Airport Road.
Travel 2.9 miles to C Street, turn left
Travel .8 mile to 38th Avenue. Road splits you will be on A street, which is a one way street.
Travel 2.2 miles to 6th Avenue and A Street (6th Avenue is also called the Glenn Highway) turn right on 6th Avenue
Travel 3.6 miles to Boniface Parkway and Elmendorf AFB exit.
Travel exit, which is .2 miles.
At stoplight turn left travel .5 miles to Boniface Gate.
Travel .7 miles (merging to your right) at second stop light turn right.
Travel .7 miles to DRMO, which will be on your right.
Turn right, Administration Building is straight ahead.Related to:
- Family Travel
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While some roads in the Anchorage area are classified as interstates, there is no real fast way through or around the city. Alaska 1 is an interstate before and after the city, but you have to deal with the traffic lights, the merging and rush hour…there’s no way around it. When 1 does again turn into something that more resembles an interstate or at least a highway, everyone takes it, so you still have the congestion near the ramps. Additionally, most vehicles are large which limits your visibility and trucks have to take this route too, which ties things up even more. During bad weather or an event like a hockey game, it’s even slower. It can get frustrating but the good news is that as quickly as you get stuck in traffic, you can get out of it (though it might not seem quick at the time).
Dimond Blvd. is one of the worst roads for traffic because the majority of shopping and restaurants are in this area.
Ingra and Gambell (which are the roads Alaska 1 splits into) has gridlock too…before it splits off, around Merrill Field, you’re likely to be sitting in traffic as well.
I never have seen one during my visits.. but they're out there.
If you where a 'Bear Bell", they'll likely hear you coming and avoid you.
The worst attacks occur when you 'surprise' a bear, especially an adult mother with her cubs nearby.
Moose on the Loose
"Moose on the Loose" is more than a saying around Anchorage, it's a warning. Urban Alaskans have created lots of prime moose munchies with all landscaped yards people plant. Anchorage has more moose than the residents know what to do with. But, the problem comes because they are wild animals. From time to time moose are known to attack children, dogs, gardners chasing after them for eating the prize shrub in the yard, people trying to get to their car so they won't be late for work, etc...
Moose tend to be most dangerous when they are provoked in some way, but they are unpredictable as any other wild animal. Give them a wide berth. This moose was stubborn, and seemed to know that it was in my way. I kept opening my door to peek out and see if it was still around. The ornery critter just stood there for a good 10 minutes.Related to:
- Road Trip
Moose warnings for drivers
You have propably heard that mooses are all around in Alaska, but it is good to remember that they are in Anchorage too! Mooses of Alaska are bigger and more social than every where else. You might have learned that they avoid human's smell...not in Alaska.
Mooses here come to near everything and they don't care is it a downtown or your home. I have seen mooses in Anchorage almost everywhere, even in downtown.
So beware while driving there and once you meet moose, try to be calm. Mooses are not dangerous nor aggressive, so don't be scare. In the other hand they are wildanimals, so better not pet them...
Sometimes cows with calves might be very protective, but I haven't heard any stories about violent mooses.
Moose & Cars Don't Mix
Moose are known to run out into the middle of the road. Though moose are typically the loser in the confrontation, over the years a lot of people have been killed in these collisions. So please be wary while driving in Anchorage, and on Alaskan Highways in general.
The moose population is higher on the roads in the winter because they are down at the lower elevations, but even in the summer moose are present. In the daylight they are pretty easy to spot in the snow. But the problem comes is that moose are most active starting around dusk and into the evening it seems. Often you'll only see their eyes shining in your headlight.Related to:
- Road Trip
Support the natives by buying crafts
Do not give money to the pan-handlers! This is a big problem in Anchorage. Some of these moochers are just trying to get drinking money. Support the natives of Alaska by buying their crafts which are well made and a great keepsake of our state. This picture is a play on words for an American idiom of where you don't want to be especially without a paddle.
Leave your guns at the door.
Much of Alaska is wilderness, and people hunt and fish. But we don't take our guns with us when we go to fancy eating places, or to the opry with the missus. So leave yours at home too, I know, you just wanted to see if you could sheek it by them fellers at the airport, didn't ya?
I'm lucky to never have seen a bear within the city limits of Anchorage. For the past two summers the bears seem to be venturing in to the city constantly. This is very disturbing and is part of the reason I'm seriously considering moving out of Alaska once the recession is over! The bears are getting way too close for comfort!
The bear in the pic was hit by a vehicle in front of Cal Worthington Ford on the Seward Highway on 8/22/08.Related to:
- Family Travel
I have stayed at the Hotel Captain Cook on three separate occasions on my recent trip to Alaska. We...more
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