I love September in Alaska.
Two years ago, this month, was the first time I flew here to visit Michael. It was the first time we went to Denali National Park. It was the first time I’d ever seen mountains of this grandeur and the first time I’d seen the leaves on the trees change so beautifully. Minnesota has a gorgeous fall, don’t get me wrong. But nowhere I’ve ever visited or lived beats an Alaskan September.
It took me a LONG time to fall in love with Alaska. A looooonnnnggggg time.
I spent the first five months living here asking how quickly we could leave. We were newly married, on a relatively tight budget, living in a tiny, old, debilitated apartment, and we couldn’t afford to do much outside Fairbanks.
And then we took our first trip to Anchorage Thanksgiving weekend, and slowly but surely, I started to see the appeal. When you drive 6.5 hours down the Parks Highway after a freshly fallen snow when the trees and mountains are glittering the entire drive you can’t help but fall in love a little bit…
We began to ski and snowboard frequently throughout the winter months, and the holidays proved to be adorable and festive in snow-covered Fairbanks and North Pole. Two trips to visit both our families kept me sane through March, and even caused me to miss our new “home”. Moving into the lovely duplex apartment at the end of this past winter was when I finally came around.
The tipping point to loving Alaska was taking an amazing Alaskan road trip with my husband and three closest friends in the end of June/beginning of July. Seeing the state through their eyes made me realize what I have here and how it’s only temporary. Despite what Alaska is missing, it has so much to offer.
So I can finally say without hesitation, I am content.
I am content with Fairbanks, Alaska. I am content with our adorable apartment, the Crossfit community I’m apart of, the aesthetic views while running, the mountains I see on my way to work, and our proximity to visiting them whenever we feel like it. I am content with the unending winter, the lack of fresh produce, the small population of this area, the expensive plane tickets, and the isolation.
Because where else on earth will I see a sunset like this?
“You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole–like the world, or the person you loved.”
― Stewart O’Nan, The Odds: A Love Story