In the largest state, big is hip
Isaac Mizarhi cardigan, graphic T-shirt, Nine West colored jeans and statement belt (all own)
Contents
  1. Alaska is not that funny shaped island off of Hawaii
  2. Alaska is a state of extremes …
    • About half of the Alaskans live in Anchorage
    • What is the highest peak in Alaska?
    • Alaska holds the US record for the lowest temperature
    • Alaska experiences over 1000 earthquakes each year
    • Alaska has 130 volcanoes
    • The longest day
  3. Obsessions with extremes
    • Growing the biggest whatever
  4. What is the northern, eastern and western most state of the US?
  5. Other extremes …

Alaska is not that funny shaped island off of Hawaii

What is it with Alaskans and these extremes? Well it’s not because of being mistaken to live on that small funny shaped island close to Hawaii as many weather reports in newspapers may make people think. Actually, Alaska to scale would cover the US coast-to-coast.

Alaska shown at the same scale as the Lower 48s
Alaska show at the same scale as the Lower 48s

Alaska is a state of extremes …

… and contradictions. The State of Alaska – called the Last Frontier – has quite a collection of extremes. It starts out being the largest state of the US with 663,268 sq mi (1,717,856 km2). At the same time, Alaska is the most sparsely populated state of the US with a population of 738,432 according to the 2015 US Census. This means when you distribute all Alaskans evenly over the state, there would be 1 Alaskan on every 0.898 sq mi (2.326 km2). Despite its sparse population, Alaska is the most populated area north of 60 N in America.

About half of the Alaskans live in Anchorage

This fact explains the sparse road network in the state, and the Alaskan humor in the photo below. Actually, there are many villages that are off the road network. Anything that can’t be produced in the village has to be flown in or be transported there by boat in summer or via a seasonal road in winter.

What is the highest peak in Alaska?

Alaska has the highest peak in the US with Denali, which is also the highest point in North America.

Alaska humor
Alaska humor about the vastness of the state and the underdeveloped infra-structure

Despite  the low infrastructure regarding the roadnet work, Alaska has two space ports.

Alaska holds the US record for the lowest temperature

The coldest temperature ever measured since onset of recording in the US was -80F (-62.2oC). It was observed at Prospect Creek Camp in the Endicott Mountains on January 23, 1971. In Barrow, the minimum average July temperature is 34F (1oC). Interestingly, Alaskans love to have their photo taken at 40 below in a bikini.

Alaska experiences over 1000 earthquakes each year

Alaska is also the US state with the most earthquakes per year as well as with the highest mean annual magnitude of earthquakes (6.7). Being located at the border of two tectonic plates Alaska experiences a magnitude 8 or higher earthquake on average every 14 years. I have been in the Alaska 2002 7.9 earthquake. Believe me I don’t even want to know what an earthquake with a magnitude higher than 7.9 would feel/look/sound like. On average, about 1,000 earthquakes occur in Alaska each month.

midlife woman in casual jeans, Tee, statement belt in front of firewood

posh chic midlife woman in gold leather trench coat
Burberry gold leather trench coat, graphic print Tee, statement belt, pendant necklace, Nine West color denim jeans, Esprit bag, and statement belt (all own)

Alaska has 130 volcanoes

Being located on the ring of fire, Alaska has 130 volcanoes that have been active within the last two million years. Note that in total, there are 169 volcanoes in the US that are considered to be active. You can find a active volcano catalog at the link. Pavlof is Alaska’s most active volcano.

Which volcano in Alaska is the most active? #triva #Alaska Check link for answer. Click To Tweet

The longest day

Due to its northern location, Alaska has the longest days and nights. At Barrow, the Sun stays below the horizon from November 19 until January 23. On the contrary, during summer, the Sun stays above the horizon from May 11 to August 2. Thus, Alaskan parents would never say to their kids to come home when it gets dark. They wouldn’t see them for summer.

sunrise and sunset in Interior Alaska
Annual course of sun rise and sun set in Fairbanks, Alaska. Twilight is about two hours. In mid August, enough daylight is lost that there are dark nights again and the aurora can again be seen in clear sky nights

Obsessions with extremes

With all these extremes, no wonder that there are various competitions to have the _____st of whatever. Add an adjective of your choice at the blank line. For instance, there is a competition that seeks Alaska’a hairiest man. At regional fairs or the State Fair, there are competitions for having grown the largest cabbage, found the largest mushroom, sewn the most beautiful quilt, you get the idea.

midlife woman looking posh chic in denim shirt dress and leather hat
Me in the 2000s posing side-by-side with the cabbage that was the biggest at the Tanana Valley Fair. I am wearing a denim shirt dress with leather hat as it was a hot sunny, day in August. I am cooling my arm as I had an allergic reaction to the bite of one of Alaska’s “supersized” mosquitoes.

Growing the biggest whatever

I don’t participate in these growing competition. However, this year, I grew the biggest kohlrabi I ever have seen in my life. The one in the photo is one of 12 of this size! I think that the kohlrabies grew that big because this summer rain was relatively evenly distributed. There weren’t many dry days between wet days.

Alaska grown kohlrabi
Kohlrabi from our yard measuring 7 inch in height and 5.5 inch in diameter. I don’t have kitchen scale so I can’t list the weight.
giant radish grown in my yard in Alaska
These radishes were grown in our yard without fertilizer

In our yard, I also saw the biggest mushroom I have ever seen in my life. Why do vegetables grow that big in Interior Alaska? It’s due to the white nights of the midnight Sun. The plants grow 24-7 for more than 80 days. This means

In Interior Alaska, you mow your lawn twice a week. #Alaska #funfacts Click To Tweet

The late spring leads to a green-up like bushing a button. The short growing season is more than compensated for.

What is the northern, eastern and western most state of the US?

Alaska crosses the dateline sort off. This makes Alaska the northernmost, eastern most, and western most state of the US. Attu Island in the Aleutian chain is located at 52°54′09″N, 172°54′34″E. Point Barrow is the most northern point of the US at 71°23′20″N 156°28′45″W. The most western point of Alaska is Amatignak Island at 51°16′7″N 179°8′55″W.

Which state is the northern, western and eastern most state of the USA? #quiz #triva Check the solution at the link. Click To Tweet

Other extremes …

… are the expensive electricity costs, or related to great facts about the Trans-Alaska pipeline.

What are the extremes in the state where you live? Do you grow vegetables? I am curious.

Like the photos? If so, please feel free to pin them to your own Pinterest board.

Focus Alaska is a series here on High Latitude Style featuring Alaska curiosa, lifestyle, wildlife, street style, weather, and insider travel tips. Did you know that you can register for my Newsletter to let you know about new posts, how tos  and special style subjects? I’d highly appreciate it if you take the time to sign up and ask your friends to sign up too!!

Photos of me: G. Kramm

Other photos: N. Mölders

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