First impressions of Anchorage

Our first weekend in Anchorage was a whirlwind of settling in to a hotel, finding a house, and exploring. My first thought was that it was a lot like the Pacific Northwest, lots of drizzly rain, lots of coffee, and lots of uses for…. salmon! Unfortunately, we just missed fishing season, so that will have to wait until next summer.

There were also many wildlife photo opportunities.

I thought the sidewalk chalk in the small city square was a great idea!

We wandered a small farmers market in the downtown area and the girls met their first Alaskan Husky, sled team dog. Beautiful dogs!

Anchorage sits right on the Cook Inlet, part of the Pacific Ocean.

And, here it is in person.

I was quite impressed with the amount of flowers in the downtown area, even in September. Everything was clean and well cared for. The city itself definitely has a small town feel, though Alaskans refer to this as the ‘big city’. It’s all relative, I suppose.

Just to put into perspective our country’s largest state, Alaska is one-fifth the size of the lower 48, and is bigger than Texas, California, and Montana combined! 

Though enormous, Alaska has roughly the same population of the District of Columbia! We definitely have room to spread out up here.

Our new home base, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) is a huge base. It is about four times larger than our previous base, Yokota, and looks just like a national park. Here are our mountain views, which remind me of my Utah home.

The Eagleglen Fitness Park, on base, is a great recreational area,

complete with lots of paved trails through the area to walk or bike.

Also, right outside the gate is the Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery. We learned all about salmon and are excited for the summer fishing season. Salmon will be swimming up this waterfall in no time!

As for wildlife, we’ve seen bear and lots of moose right on base. I’ve also heard of lynx and wolves calling JBER home, as well. Yikes! This sign is a regular site around Anchorage.

Also, this site. We saw this momma moose and her babies right outside the commissary.

The girls enjoy walking to this river, about 10 minutes walk from our house.

And, I have lots of beautiful trails for my morning walk.

But unexpected encounters with bears are always at the back of my mind!

I was even surprised with a fantastic Northern Lights display one cold morning, which was simply magical!

photo by friend, Katie Denisar

The base has many lakes as well, for both fishing and boating. As you can see, JBER is kind of an outdoor persons dream. Too bad I’m such a city girl, but maybe I’ll be forced to change my ways….

Luckily, we were offered a base house right away and were able to get settled quickly. All of our household belongings had been on a slow boat from Japan for about two months. It was a great reunion!

Even in mid-September, the sunset was late, probably around 10:00 pm. Come July, there will be about 22 hours of daylight each day. Don’t know how I feel about that!

I’ll cap off this blog with our visit to the state fair, and hanging out with the lumberjacks.

And who doesn’t love a collie-riding monkey?! Cowboy up!

So far, so good. Though, I suppose thus far, Alaska is a little more rugged than I generally prefer. This should be interesting….


  1. Jeff Jonsson
    December 26, 2016 / 11:38 pm

    You guys need to start camping! When Matt retires, we can all go camping together. It would be a blast! We can drag Derek and Pam in too, and have awesome campouts!

  2. Amara
    December 28, 2016 / 6:18 am

    I'm not worried about you becoming an outdoor lover. It looks too beautiful not to fall in love with! I'm sure it's a little harder now with all the snow -kahtoola microspikes and snowshoes? I am also jealous of all the animals you are seeing. Utah seems to be managed to grow large herds of deer and elk for the hunters, and not much else. Kai and I have run into a moose once. It was really cool, but that's all it took for me to start carrying bear mace with me on hikes and trail runs!

  3. Pamela Cole
    March 12, 2017 / 11:57 am

    The base looks gorgeous! I'd love the trails. If only you didn't have to worry about animals…

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