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Discussion Starter #1
okay, just a few questions, and a few statements. I have always dreamed of living in alaska. I have skills, that will allow a modestly constucted cabin to be built. I have lived in several places, and although I liked most of the places I was, they wound up being to small. Basically anyone would wash dishes, or flip burgers to be able to live there, so life was tuff without any skills. One thing I learned was that you have some trade offs between "cool" mountain towns, and the rat race cities.

I would like to live close to a major city, say within an hour or so, for more cash making options, but away from it as to allow the good life.

My only time in alaska was a stint in a cannery in Naknec, near King Salmon.
I didn't have a chance to see any of the goods at all. I like the idea of the Panhandle region, fishing, hiking, mountains, boating, island hoping, etc.but hell, other than island hopping, any place in alaska will affored one the outdoor pleasures they seek. I was looking into Haines, but the POP. is 2500, seems a bit small. Hell Juneao is only 30 k or so, and compared to most cities very, very small. I think that would do. My only thought is, on a map, it looked as if it had no roads connecting it with anything??:confused: is that true? I know acnchorage would suit my needs, but completly unfamiliar with out lying towns or areas that would be affordable. I know it may be crazy, but Im looking to spend less than 40K on land, and hoping for views, trees, mountains, and rivers......so, is it doable, or am I dreaming? One area near anchorage that I have been checking out is Wasilla, but I Know next to nothing.

any thought or ideas appreciated.
 

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I have skills, that will allow a modestly constucted cabin to be built. I have lived in several places, and although I liked most of the places I was, they wound up being to small. Basically anyone would wash dishes, or flip burgers to be able to live there, so life was tuff without any skills.
What kind of skills? Bowstaff skills? Nunchuck skills?

I'm going to tell you the opposite of what you want to hear. Move inland to McCarthy. It's tiny and bad ass. Land is cheap and the mountains are big. Retarded big. There are rivers, glaciers, and a single bar in McCarthy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
eat your dinner TINA.......

Im not opposed to anything, just want to know options
 

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it looked as if it had no roads connecting it with anything??:confused: is that true?
Yes. I believe Hwy. 1 will get you there but is the only way in and out.
 

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I lived in Fairbanks (Interior) for 8 years and in Anchorage for 4. The interior is brutal, a young man's game, and just not my cup of tea. I spent about 60% of my work life outdoors there too and it can be extremely harsh. I prefer the "Banana Belt" region. 40K is doable but you might be living in a tree house or high end Tuff Shed on the Kenai Peninsula. Not that that's a bad thing. Humping your water in the winter gets a bit old and you don't know how much wood you use until it's your only heat source.

The outlying areas of Anchorage are probably where I'd be looking but as I age I enjoy the finer things in life....like flush toilets. :mrgreen: You'd probably be happy in Wasilla it's the boonies without being truly out there flappin. Your right about Juneau that you can't drive there. That's the case with many destinations in the southeast. Also keep in mind that in the southeast while it is milder it also rains ALOT.
 

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alaska

Hey Oarbender-
I spent about 5 weeks in AK in 2002, took the ferry up through the inner passage and stopped in Juneau. It was a small and quaint town until the cruise ships started rolling in. The passengers streamed off and crowded the small streets. My husband and I hiked Mendenhal Glacier,just outside of town (a long hike, about 6 hours) and had about 15 minutes total of quite time, otherwise choppers were buzzing over head with the cruise ship passengers. It left a bad taste-too busy for how small it was, but beautiful.
Stayed in Haines one week, small but amazing and very friendly locals. Met kayak guides living in tents, so that tells you about what you need to know for there.
Anchorage was the jumping off city for lots of beautiful towns and places but it was similar to any big town. Also, its loud with all the commercial, private and puddlejumper planes. Seward was small but packed with outdoor activities, close to a glacier and hiking, sea kayaking etc.
I don't know about prices for land but I imagine looking online would be a start. I would recommend taking some time to explore the different areas that interest you the most (easier said then done I know). And yes Juneau has no roads coming in or out of it-must come by air or water.
Hope it helps a little-good luck
 

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Check out the Kenai area, About 2 hours south of Anchorage. Kenai has 7533 as of 2006 numbers. Kenai, Soldotna and Sterling are all more built up, for Alaska standards. I worked as a carpenter when I lived in Sterling in 93. I personlly like Coopers landing, 1 hour south of Anchorage, and there is a class IV stretch on the Kenai River in that area. Place gets a little crazy when the salmon are spawning, and tourists can be thick in the summer.
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&lvl=11&style=r&cp=60.552898~-151.259750

North of Anchorage is Wasilla, another decent sized area to live.

McCarthy is cool, but that road is known to eat tires like mad. There are railroad spikes stuck in the road everywhere. 2 spare tires are the MINIMUM to carry if you travel that road much. McCarthy mountain is a full 12,000 feet of Vertical. But plan to any climbing in the winter or early spring when there is snow on everything. In the summer, do to the constant sunlight, vegitation grows like mad. Once the snow retreats from anywhere, the brush is too thick to get through.

I can't help you on prices, it has been 10 years since my last stint in Alaska. But a word to the wise. If you plan on boating much, you have to be prepared to fly in/ fly or boat out. What I mean by boat out is ferry boat service. For instance, to boat out of Cordova, you fly in and drop a raft and supplies below the canyons. Then you fly to the glacier with your kayak. Now you run class V & VI with the yak and catch back up to your raft. Now you have 110 miles of flat, but extremly fast flowing river to get to the sea. Back in Cordova, you take the ferry to either Valdez or Juneau depending on where you came from.

That said, Alaska is a great place and I plan on going back when my kids are older.

And yes, there are no roads to, or out of Juneau. You fly or take the ferry to get there. Alaska as a whole, does not have much of a road system. Look at a map and you have a single road from Anchorage to Fairbanks to Tok, making a loop. Then there is one road north out of Fairbanks, one road south from Anchorage to the Kenai Pennisula, halfway from Tok to Anchorage, you have one road south to Valdez. That sums up Alaska's highway system.
 

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If you've got the inclination and the wherewithal, I say DO IT, and sooner rather than later probably...

I was up there back in '91 for 5-6 weeks with a college buddy after graduation, hithchhiking, backcountry camping, staying in hostels, etc. While we we waiting for our backcountry permit in Denali, we camped for one night in a vacant area outside the entrance to the park--I went back there last summer w/ my wife, and that "vacant area' was now all developed--I know AK is gi-normous, and there's still miles and miles of pristine wilderness, but the word is out, and people are flocking up there--

that being said, the place is so f'n incredible, like I said def. do it if you're able!

Talkeetna is a cool little town, kinda busy with the mcKinley climbers and flight tourists, but cetainly no metropolis--but it looked like there was still plenty of places on the outskirts to do something like you're talking about, and all along the highway from anch/wasilla up to denali and fairbanks too

Seward is also nice as has been mentioned, but touristy there too, but the whole kenai peninsula is frickin' awesome too

btw, have you seen the Dick Proenneke shows on PBS? --if you haven't, you've got to check them out--totally amazing what this dude did back in the '60s. This is his website:

Alone in the Wilderness, DVD and VHS available, the story of Dick Proenneke

but he's on pbs every now and again too

have fun, I'm jealous!

Jay
 

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check out talkeetna. toursity, small, but gorgeous! not toooo far inland, either...and oh... the caribou burgers at the West Rib.... mmmm...delicious! not too awful far from the Nenana or SixMile.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
yep, I saw one mans wilderness, it was amazing.


Thanks for all the info, i have several things to research now. much appreciated!
 

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No roads to Juneau. Maybe in the future...but it would cost hundreds of millions.

I spent two years guiding on the Nenana, at the entrance to Denali Park, May to September.

Interior Alaska is nice in the summer (highs of 60-90º - yes 90º), brutally cold (lows of -60º and average highs below freezing) in the winter. The coastal regions are more temperate and hold the majority of the population. The Anchorage area has 360,000 of the states 650,000 residents. Fairbanks (pop 30,000) and the surrounding area accounts for another 80,000. Juneau is good for about 30,000 people. Outside of these areas the towns have less than 10,000 people.

Wasilla and Palmer are both less than an hour from Anchorage, much smaller, and growing rapidly.

I would also recommend checking out towns on the Kenai Peninsula. They are small, but within a reasonable drive of Anchorage, and potentially (depending on where they are on the peninsula) closer to things like Six Mile creek (IV-V) and skiing at the only real ski resort in Alaska, located in Girdwood. And housing prices in Girdwood are a lot cheaper, or were at least 5 years ago, than at ski towns in the Lower 48.
 

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Major city problem

Wanting to be close to a major city will limit your options pretty severely. Alaska has one or maybe two: Anchorage and Juneau. Predictably enough, quite a few people have the same idea, so property within quick driving radius tends to be pretty pricey by Alaska standards.

If you're married with kids, that adds some further constraints.

If not, one possibility would be to buy a decent old boat (motorsailer, old double-ended trawler, etc.) and live on the water in SE Alaska. Your fixit skills would be exercised keeping the thing free of leaks and afloat. Sea kayaking is great. You could try different coastal towns (Homer, Sitka, Ketchikan, Juneau) where there are slips for rent, and also anchor out in protected inlets. If you like fish and seafood, rent a freezer locker in town and go for it.

I have friends who've done this, along with some commercial fishing, etc., and eventually picked a spot and built a house on shore. Main drawback is the long, rainy winters, with frequent rain in all seasons.

Chip
 

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One other issue— old boats with diesel engines tend more toward gallons per mile than miles per gallon— at $4-5 a serious consideration.

So it would be best to think about a) buying a boat in Alaska and b) mostly staying put.
 

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One other issue— old boats with diesel engines tend more toward gallons per mile than miles per gallon— at $4-5 a serious consideration.

So it would be best to think about a) buying a boat in Alaska and b) mostly staying put.
Might mean that a certain type of boat could be going down in price.
 

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There was a guy living in Seward on an old trawler. It listed about 10 degrees to port, the bilge pumps ran 24/7, and he had grass growing on the old teak deck. I don't know how he slept at night. In a survival suit I suspect.
 

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Trawler Trash

Yeah— there are reechy old hulks that sink at their slips, especially in the winter when it rains like a blind blue bugger.

But there are also boats that are in fairly sound shape, yet not economically efficient enough to take part in the fishery.

I flew in a bush plane to Port Alexander (tip of Baranof Island, S of Sitka) to teach and saw an ex-lifeboat (30 footer or so) that a high-school kid was converting for part-time fishing. He'd decked it over and built a nice pilothouse, all very trim and tight. The engine gleamed. It had a little woodburner for heat.

In that area, with no roads, the younger folks get boats rather than cars. If they can make a living fishing, etc. they trade up. So there are usually some well-maintained old starter boats on the market.

One uniquely Alaskan gig is to get a teaching cert and go bush: teach on the timber barges or in tiny fishing towns. I got enough of a taste to know it wasn't what I wanted to do. But I've met people who built their lives that way.

Chip
 

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Good old boats

Here are couple examples, plucked from the Web. Not cheap, but the really cheap ones aren't usually worth having. (Click for readable size.)

Grand Banks Jr..jpg

nice wood boat.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #18
okay, that's pretty crazy. My last web crawl was an alaskan live aboard site. this is wild, I guess boaters are boaters. anywho, been doing lots of research on options. One thing I have realized, is maybe I won't need the 50K truck. hell I;ll just pick up an enduro, to get out on, and focus cash on "home"

the last post I read was a port authority guy in charge of juneao( sp?) and the president of all of alaskas harbor master folk, anywho, he mentioned that while juneao is at the top of the list as far as per foot basis, the attitude with most harbor masters is live aboard folks are just fine, although North , its gets pretty wicked.( cold)

Im solo so wife/kids isn't an issue. In Juneao, he said 3.42 per foot, so thats not crazy at all. hell, I could probably swing a garage apartment, or something like for the dec/jan months.

although its getting away from my basic concept of life in alaska, I sure wouldn't mind trying it for a while.

I guess if i get tired of cold, i can just point her south, hug the shore, and look for the sign thats says" your here, Welcome to Cabo San lucas"

Yo? keep er comin on the ideas

Im lovin this!

thanks

OB~
 

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survival skills

If you can weld, machine, and fabricate, you might be able to get part-time work in a boatyard (and a free slip for your liveaboard).

When the summer cruise ships are in and things get weird, anchor in some remote inlet for a few weeks and fish or kayak.

One thing I'd definitely explore would be a marine satellite dish or sat-phone link, so you could indulge in this sort of babble from the boat. That'd take the edge off somewhat, when it rains.

And rains.

And rains.

Chip
 

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I lived in Juneau for 2 years and it's not bad if: you like 5 weeks of cool and misty summer; you like 30 straight days of rain, followed by 3 feet of snow and then another 10 days of rain; grey winter days when it gets light at 10 am and dark at 3 pm; insanely expensive everything (it all comes in by barge); getting your boat stuck on the mud flats when the tides are 20+ feet; being charged by garbage-fueled Brown Bears; and rain, again. It is beautiful when the sun is visible, and there is great mountaineering, ice climbing, fishing, flat-water kayaking and gaper watching during the summer. There is also some decent BC skiing and a little ski area on Douglas Island, but I witnessed more avies in my two years there than in 30+ living in Colorado, so the vaunted "coastal snowpack" is a myth. The State and Feds announced last month that they are finally going to build a road from Juneau to Haines, but that'll take them 10 years to finish if it ever gets built. Check out the Kenai Penninsula instead.
 
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