Saturday, August 2, 2008

No There There

Now that we are in Kotzebue (more on that later!), we have had a bit of chance to reflect on the journey through interior Alaska. We covered almost 1500 miles in the trusty rent-a-car and saw some absolutely amazing things and had some incredible experiences.

We also couldn't help but we struck by how much nothing there is out there. Miles and miles of road with few or no cars. Acres and acres of land with nothing (and not just in the national and state parks, perserves, and forests, but all along the road side.). Every 50 miles or so (sometimes less often) we would pass a "town," which would mean a gas station, a convenience store, a post office, a school (sometimes), a church, and that's about it. A few houses. A few people. And this is in the part of Alaska that is ON the road system!

I guess this should not be that surprising, given the size of Alaska and the population -- 680,000 people, 250,000 of whom live in Anchorage and another 40,000 in the suburbs thereof. After Anchorage, the next largest city is Fairbanks, where the population is around 30,000. Juneau, the capital, is about the same. There are just hardly any people here. Alaska has 121 high schools with less than 50 students. Less than 50 total, not 50 per class.

I found it interesting to visit and contemplate. I think Joy found it a bit oppressive.

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