The middle of nowhere

The middle of nowhere consists of a lot of towns inhabited by lots of people, many of which are in Alaska.
Tourists ponder these locations for their romantic beauty and love the idea of living here, but never would. Some find no romance in the middle of nowhere, just temporary beauty with fish and or game to kill.
I’ve lived in three bona fide middles of nowhere, four if you count Ketchikan, which many would, but after growing up in Klawock – nowhere No.2 – Ketchikan was a big city. So there’s a gray area with Ketchikan though it has 50,000 fewer people than Manteca, nowhere No. 3. And it wasn’t that Manteca was in the middle of nowhere, it just didn’t have any redeeming qualities except for those driving through California on Interstate 5 and needing gas.
I’ve been to Fairbanks twice, once in June, and now once in January. It warms up to above zero, but it’s imperceptible, at least for a dude who lives in Ketchikan. You need half a mile to complete the slowing process for a red light, so you hope it turns while you have time, other wise you’ll bobsled into the intersection.
If I stay here long enough I’m convinced my bone marrow will get freezer burn.
But Fairbanks is pretty cool during the summer. All the dark now is light then, degrees Fahrenheit migrate here and, among other outdoor opportunities, the rivers are filled with grayling that are ridiculously fun to catch.
Maybe Fairbanks isn’t so bad and if you’ve got good people to freeze for a few months with, it might totally be worth it.
It’s weird to think about how people end up places. How does someone with a southern drawl end up this close to the Arctic Circle?
Other than work or military, it’s usually something about a family decision generations ago.
I’ve never lived in a trendy place large groups of people would think, “Oh, yeah that’s the spot.” People say that about New York City, or San Diego, or Portland, or whatever town Outside Magazine says is one of the Top 5 places to live. I’ve been there, but never lived there. Not sure I could.
Ordway. Klawock. Manteca. Ketchikan. Huh? Exactly. The antithesis of population density. How do people end up there? Pretty easily actually.
The funny thing is, the best part of the towns in which I have lived has been the ease of leaving them. Accessibility, not so much the town itself. Manteca was relatively close to the Sierra Nevada and mountain creeks with trout. Klawock itself is not happening, but it happens to be almost suffocated by the wilds, so when I leave it, I’m where I want to be almost immediately.
Southeast Alaska is peppered with communities that provide the right kind of balance. The right kind of happening, the right kind of outdoors, and most importantly, the right kind of weirdos who make that particular nowhere a good place to be.
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