Arctic Adventures: Volume 2—Around Town

Arctic Adventures: Volume 2—Around Town

I am working on lots of posts about the learning curve and experiences we’ve had trying out an Alaskan winter–the cold, the darkness, living without water, etc. But for now, I thought I’d give you a tour around our town!

Our cabin is in Healy, Alaska. The town is kind of in the middle of Alaska (considered “the Interior”) just east of the Alaska Range. We are 2 hours south of Fairbanks and about 4 hours north of Anchorage (both cities that you probably heard of in Alaska). More importantly, we are less than 20 minutes north of the entrance to Denali National Park and Preserve. For scale on just how big Alaska is, it is nearly 2.5 times the size of Texas!

The 2010 census population of Healy was 1,021 (I think they are updating that soon). Besides the National Park and its concessionaires being the biggest employers (more so in the summer), other enterprises include the Usibelli Coal Mine, Golden Valley Electric Company and the Denali Borough School System.

So let’s start with our tiny cabin. It sits on Hilltop Road, but there are no house numbers or street addresses in Healy.

Our view (not from our front door, but close enough)
Our backyard

We drive (or walk when it’s bearable) southeast on Hilltop and come to Otto Lake Road after .9 miles.

Just about another mile east on Otto Lake Road brings us to the Parks Highway (Route 3). There aren’t many “highways” in Alaska, but this is one of the main roads and it just so happens to bisect the town of Healy.

Parks Highway looking south (which would get you to Denali National Park)
Parks Highway looking north

We drive north on the Parks Highway to get to Healy’s main hub. Which basically consists of a grocery store, gas stations, a few hotels/bed & breakfasts (most of which are seasonal), seasonal restaurants, a seasonal campground and a few other random businesses.

Note the temp!!!!
We still plan the bulk of our grocery shopping in Fairbanks to save $$, but it is nice to have this at our fingertips!
We are totally spoiled by Three Bears Grocery Store because this used to be the town’s only store just 3 years ago!
Totem Inn stays open year-round (the bar opens at 4pm). We actually haven’t been there yet!
We’ve got police & a volunteer fire department. There are actually a fair amount of events at the community center.
Here’s the school/library. The library is only open after hours since it is the school library as well.

But honestly, the post office always feels like the place to be! Since there are no street addresses, there is no mail. So everyone has a P.O. Box.

Our address is PO Box 145 Healy AK 99743, in case anyone wants to send us a postcard from warm places (hint hint).

I hope I painted a visual image of our cold paradise. Got questions? Leave them in the comments!!

10 responses to “Arctic Adventures: Volume 2—Around Town”

  1. Jamie says:

    Looks cold!

  2. kevin culleny says:

    Kudos to you two. It looks way too cold for me!

  3. Kendall says:

    Brrrrrrrr! Looks cold but an epic adventure non the less!

    We hope you’re home when we drive through this summer on our motorcycle!

    Love that Subaru in your driveway!!

    We remember 3 Bears was Alaska’s version of Costco!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Kendall & Alyce Lee

  4. So Gr8ful says:

    Bear’s Den liquor? It looks like Bear’s Den is following you wherever you go!! Any Soy Joy bars hanging around? We love that we know where you are and what is around you. Your views are stunning, BUT the temp is staggering. What is the game of choice these days? Thanks for placing yourselves on the map. Oddly, your zip code is very similar to mine growing up (99203). Miss you two heaps as the Kiwis say.

  5. Ginger says:

    Love hearing about your adventures! Have you spent much time in Denali National Park? There’s a kids show on PBS, Molly from Denali. As I’m writing this their song is going through my head. lol
    Keep your updates coming and do tell how you stay warm.
    Much love,

    • plavigne says:

      We love DNP!! But we haven’t gone much this winter yet. I guess we’ve just been hibernating! We are hoping to go next week, so stay tuned. I’ve heard of “Molly from Denali,” but I haven’t watched it!! I probably would like it;)

  6. Misti says:

    Cold but gorgeous! And the lighting suggests daybreak but I’m going to guess it is more like mid day or something right now?? Would love to know what time these photos were taken!

    • plavigne says:

      Ah, I should have paid more attention to the times these were taken, but I know for certain most were between 2-3pm. That’s when the sun is going back down (it hardly comes up these days) and the moon comes out! The end of day is when we get that sweet alpenglow.

  7. Mary says:

    I am so jealous, and I really hope you are writing a book.

  8. Clara says:

    Your town sounds amazing!!!! The little post office and grocery. Any plans for a snowmobile? You might need it if you guys start hanging out at the bar! Haha. A sled dog would work too. I can send Chimi up there. He loves the snow.

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