- Frank DeArmas
Our next stop on our grand Alaskan tour is Anchorage. This is Alaska’s biggest city and anything you need can be found here. It is also what I refer to as the hub of Alaska.
Anchorage Seaplane Base
The Seaplane base sits next to the international airport and it was so cool to watch all the seaplanes taking off and landing. These bush pilots are the real transportation backbone in Alaska as most of the towns and villages don’t have a road going to them. Jan will give you more details below.
Click to see full picture
Courtesy of Wikipedia
Location, Location, Location
Also, because of its location, it is a busy shipping hub. Just to the left of the seaplanes sat FedEx and UPS 747 cargo planes. I remember while I was in the Army that one of my flights stopped here to refuel on its way to Asia.
Courtesy of Alaska Railroad
As a train buff I was also excited to see the Alaskan railroad was also based here. You may have ridden it if you did a land and sea cruise. Passengers would board in Seward and come here before going on to Denali and points north. And if you did not take the train, you most likely were on one of the many Princes tour busses that we would see on the road.
The city and its surrounding towns gave us a great chance to dine out, restock at Costco, and even get a haircut. And yes, we even got to see a moose and her baby. Jan will tell you a little bit more about this below, it was cool!
Dinning at the Moose Tooth
We got to eat at this really cool pizza place, The Moose Tooth Pub & Pizzeria. It was some of the best pizza we had had in a long time. Well, we had been in the wilderness for a long-time grin. Part of what we love to do while we explore is really get out and see and experience the local areas food and people. With Covid this is a little more trickier. Having just recovered from my own experience with it, we are being careful wearing masks when we're up from our table and sitting away from folks.
This is definitely a city I wish we had more time to explore.
Jan’s fun Facts
Fun facts about Anchorage. There are quite a few that I want to share with you.
The Municipality of Anchorage stretches over 2,000 square miles. That’s larger than the entire state of Rhode Island – and nearly the size of the state of Delaware.
Like much of Alaska, Anchorage was once under a glacier… about 20,000 years ago. Today, there are 50 glaciers within a day’s drive. There are also several active volcanoes, and there have been eruptions as recently as 2009.
Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city. It is home to nearly 300,000 people, roughly 40% of the Alaska population.
More than 1,500 moose live in the area. Sometimes traffic comes to a complete stop for a moose crossing the road. We were lucky to see a cow moose while taking a walk at Potter Marsh Boardwalk. This is right in the middle of the city, standing on the boardwalk, you could see the cars go by on Alaska 1 highway. (You don’t see that everyday where we come from.)
Alaska is the hub for seaplane pilots and home to one of the largest populations of both seaplane pilots and seaplanes in the world. At the heart of this hub is Lake Hood in Anchorage which has the distinction of being the largest and busiest seaplane base in the world with over 750 resident aircraft and 67,000 operations annually.
However, this seaplane base also becomes the world’s largest ski plane base, as most of the seaplanes based at the lake remove their floats and replace them with skis for the winter months.
Alaska has 9,127 active pilots, and 8,713 registered aircraft. This number is most likely larger, while talking to the locals, they say there are a lot more pilots that aren’t registered. They pass the knowledge of flying down from generation to generation and never bother to register.
Alaska has about 229 federally recognized Indian tribes, out of 567 total in the United States, and most of their members live in rural areas. They count on the seaplanes and ferries to take them to the doctors, get medicine and anything else they might need to get them through the long winters. That is why seaplanes are so important in Alaska, they are much cheaper to operate than helicopters.
Yikes, it’s only August 14th and the fireweed has “topped out”! Looks like we’re going to have to get our long underwear out. (Which I did at our next stop).
We enjoyed out time in Anchorage but we had to move on. Homer awaits us and we look forward to adding to our great memories. As always we hope you enjoyed the blog and until next time, we will see you on the road!
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