30 Signs That You Were Raised in the Interior of Alaska

aerial view of McGrath
aerial view of McGrath

After reading Jennifer Gracey’s “11 Signs You Were Born and Raised in Alaska,” I couldn’t resist adding my own version, more specific to the Interior:

1. You know what a honey bucket is.

2. You have cooked food for your dogs over an open fire in your front yard. A lot of the time, that food included fresh salmon.

3. You used to comb ice out of your hair upon arriving at school in the morning.

4. You remember seeing daylight during the school year, on the weekends.

5. You never locked your door growing up, and sometimes people would just wander in and sit down in your kitchen.

6. You long ago figured out that mosquito repellents simply do not work. Corollary: the number of mosquito bites you used to have in the summer adds up to more than 60.

7. You dreaded the yearly break up party that was held on the river bank when the ice started to go out on the river, mainly because that party meant one thing: mosquitoes are coming. Soon.

8. You know how to build a fire in a wood stove.

9. You have harnessed dogs to a sled and gone out on a trail with them.

10. At least once in your life, you have gotten dressed under the covers in your bed because the house was too cold to be naked in even for a minute.

11. At least once in your life, you have slept with a thick quilt pulled over your head during 85 degree weather, because mosquitoes can’t suck blood through a quilt.

12. You have gone blueberry picking in your front yard.

13. You used to be afraid of the northern lights, and also afraid to learn to whistle, because as a kid you had heard that if you whistle at the northern lights, they will come down and chop off your head.

14. You have often been allowed to skip school to go to the Iditarod checkpoint.

15. You have an unfinished pair of mukluks in your closet that you began sewing in school in the 4th grade.

16. You have a finished, beautiful pair of mukluks in your closet that were made by someone with far more patience and skill than you have! And after 30 years they are still in good shape and are still the warmest footwear you own.

17. You still say “snow machine,” not “snowmobile.” And you’ve also heard the term, “iron dog.”

18. You have melted snow in a dish pan in order to wash dishes.

19. Your school had little lumps of ice all over the rail next to the school steps all winter long. Those were the places where bored kids spit on the rail to watch how fast the spit would freeze.

20. Your class, as a joke, once wrote to a class in the lower 48 and told them, “yes, we all live in igloos here. What do you live in?”

21. You or a sibling (or both!) owned at least one gun and an axe by the age of 12.

22. You drove a boat long before you drove a car.

23. At least once in your life, you have looked forward to the arrival of a barge.

24. You took at least one of your high school classes by correspondence.

25. You have gotten on a plane without going through security.

26. You know there is no place in the world more beautiful to live than Alaska, and yet you still sigh with pleasure when you look at trees that are more than five feet tall.

Okay, these last three are for people who are over the age of 40 and were raised in Alaska:

27. You still sometimes want to call AC, NC — because when you were growing up, it kept changing back and forth between Alaska Commercial and Northern Commercial Company.

28. You used to watch Aviation Weather, whether or not you are a pilot, because that’s what was on the one television station you got via satellite. (Later, a second station was added, and you were excited to have another viewing option: UAF extension classes on LearnAlaska.)

29. You remember when the mail came twice a week, on the Weinie Bird.Wien Air Alaska

And, a bonus:

30. You know what the word cheechako means, and you know that if you left Alaska and now live in a city in the Lower 48, you are pretty much an honorary cheechako again. Sigh.

Do you have more? Add them in the comments! 🙂


  1. You have gotten on an airplane with two ice chests full of fresh moose meat.
    You have gone to the airport with a handgun and rifle, and had no problem checking in.
    You laugh at the TV show ‘Ice Road Truckers’ because you drive the same road in a pick up.
    You think its funny people in the lower 48 get excited over fireworks, when you have a light show every night for 5 months.


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