There’s no mistake about it: Alaska is a remarkably beautiful frontier in so many ways. But the State is also fascinatingly unique. From its people to its wildlife to its abundance of snow (and shovelers), Alaska holds a treasure trove of features that are special and distinct. Need further convincing? Let’s take a look at ten everyday sights that are uniquely Alaska.
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1. Moose Crossing
Over 175,000 moose call Alaska home. In fact, moose abundance in the State can reach levels of five or more moose per square mile. Given the sheer number of these animals, it’s no wonder that locals and visitors can easily spot moose strolling across the street nearly every single day. You won’t see that in the lower 48!
2. Rubber Boots
If you’re fortunate enough to attend a dinner party in Alaska, don’t be surprised if you see 90% or more of the guests proudly wearing rubber boots. Many native Alaskans equate this footwear to tennis shoes. While non-Alaskans may opt for boots when flood waters rise, Alaska locals treat them as the go-to shoe.
3. Bears on the Run
Both brown and black bear roam the Alaska frontier in staggering numbers. Given their blanketing presence, it’s no surprise that a person can spot a bear running somewhere in Alaska on any given day.
4. Bald Eagle Scooping up Salmon
Many can look outside their home and see a crow nibbling on a piece of seed or a crumb. While interesting, the sight is simply not the same as observing the sharp talons of a bald eagle sink into a fast swimming salmon. An awe-inspiring phenomenon? Definitely. However, it also a common sight in Alaska.
We’re not talking about junk email here. We’re talking about the mystery meat that comes in a can. Alaskans are the second highest per capita consumers of Spam in the U.S. In fact, Spam is commonly seen at the lunch or dinner table of local Alaskans.
6. Chipped Windshields
Gravel covered roads abound in Alaska, as do several big rigs driving on them. Follow too closely and… crack goes the windshield. Hit one of Alaska’s roads for a quick drive and you’ll likely spot a few cracks along the way.
7. Vengeful mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are not an endangered species in the U.S., but this is especially true in Alaska where they’re out for blood in huge numbers. Remember that dinner party with boots abounding? Odds are you’ll likely encounter a lingering odor of repellent as well.
8. Spam and What?
Located next to Spam on the Alaska lunch or dinner menu is likely akutaq, also known as Eskimo ice cream. This common food staple is a blend of whipped fat mixed with either berries or a native meat (e.g., salmon or caribou).
9. Salmon Remains
Say the phrase “salmon run” and most people will automatically think Alaska. Salmon runs are a big deal in Alaska, as thousands of fish return to their native streams to mate and then die. This is why it’s no rare sight to see salmon skulls/vertebrae along the banks of Alaska streams when the runs are over. To some, the site may come as eerie. To Alaskans, it’s just the mark of another day. Now that’s unique.
In the northern stretches, Alaska summers can carry over 24 hours of sunlight at a time. Winters, conversely, see a similar stretch of darkness. Sure, daylight and darkness may not seem like unique concepts, but they are when that’s virtually all a person sees for months.