Coming to Alaska we hoped to get new experiences and amazing adventures, but also get to know and live the Alaskan everyday life. Living in a dry cabin without electricity and running water, with a wood stove as our heater, oil lamps and candles as our light and an outhouse as our bathroom, 45 km (30 mi) outside the city of Fairbanks, we think we just got what we wanted.
Our life in Two Rivers could be described by many words, but the first phrase coming to our head is definitely “close to nature”. And we were constantly reminded of how the nature ultimately controls your everyday life. Due to permafrost, frozen soil, it’s rare to have a water system in your cabin. Like many people in Alaska, we hauled our drinking water inside in 20-liter (6 gallon) jugs and carried wastewater outside in a bowl. We stored our food in a cooler that we buried deep in the ground in summer and kept inside in winter, filling it with bottles full of ice. We cut our own firewood during the summer to keep us and the cabin warm during the winter. And before you notice, all these things become automatic, normal part of your day.
Living in a remote area without electricity also affects many small daily tasks, especially in winter. When the daylight decreases your headlamp becomes your best friend. And you realize how much light a fire, whether in an oil lamp, in a candle or in a wood stove, can offer. You realize your commute or evening walks can be enlightened by moon, stars and beautiful northern lights in the sky. And eventually you also learn how to cook with propane stove and oven.
So what would make our everyday life even more special? We are already in Alaska, living in a cabin with limited facilities in the middle of a forest. Well, the people and the animals we’re living with. Our amazing landlord with his family owns a couple of dozen dogs that we got to know very well and enjoyed going out a lot.
In addition our “Alaskan family” has a barn full of chickens, ducks and goats that kept us busy after work and provided ingredients like eggs, milk and meat to our daily meals. In summer we also had a huge organic garden full of different salads, carrots, peas, beans, beets, raspberries, tomatoes, potatoes and so on. Goes without saying, we highly appreciated the home grown, clean food that we had opportunity to eat, many times with our Alaskan family.
Our everyday life was colored by several single or multiday trips around interior and other parts of Alaska. We went for road trips and hiking trips, went flying, floating, canoeing, skiing and snowshoeing, and drove with snowmachine and ATV. In winter we had a dog team that we mushed with. So seasons changed and days, weeks and months were full of action and exciting things to do. But we still found time to relax and just be at our Alaskan home and enjoy. That’s what we call a life!