An Alaskan's Stereotypes About Alaska

I am currently in the city of Fairbanks in a very nice house in a very nice neighborhood about to start what looks like will be a very nice work week. I am blown away. This is by far the farthest north I have ever been while rooted to the earth, and I've never been anywhere else in Alaska besides in southeast and south-central. I always imagined the interior as being a big muskeg-like soggy flatland in the summer- in a word, brown.

As we came down lower over the land flying into Fairbanks, the rivers were what struck me first, and they are indeed pretty ugly. Dirty, chopped up and yes, ugly, the rivers of the interior are not very impressive. I don't like rivers that much in general, as a matter of fact. But then I looked at the rest of the scene below. It's really green here. I didn't expect many trees, but there is quite a lot of forested area and the rest is all is all perfectly nice and green. The trees are pitiful compared to the Tongass, of course, but despite their spindly-ness they still reach pretty tall- taller than any I've seen in the Anchorage area.

Speaking of which- Fairbanks is way better than Anchorage. It's a town's environment I judge it on- not just how we usually think of the word, but the town's human environment and general feel of the area- people, streets, neighborhoods, even the location of the city. It's that quality in my hometown that fuels my love for Ketchikan. As for Fairbanks, it may be river-based and rather ugly in shape, but the general environment and surroundings are far superior to those of Anchorage. Anchorage is a very bland city, it seems to me, and south-central is much closer in character to the lower-48 than any other area of Alaska.

Anchorage is cold and dry- a concrete block with little natural comfort. In fact the only natural feature of note is Anchorage's impressive mountain background- which does little to warm the city. Despite Anchorage's location in the huge shadow of the Alaska Range, the city itself is depressingly flat. Fairbanks, on the other hand, has some refreshing topographical variety, despite what you might assume. UAF and the "downtown" area are very nicely situated on a big hill, and what I saw of the college campus looks far better than what I saw during my time at UAA. Not that I'll go to either one; I don't plan on moving to either Anchorage or Fairbanks at all, but it still looks like living here in Fairbanks for the next week will be, as I said, very nice.

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