My first time on the Kenai Peninsula was a solo trip in the late fall of 2020. When I told people I was living in Anchorage, without fail I’d be met with the classic —
“Anchorage isn’t Alaska, but you can see it from there!”
This might divide the room, but I disagree.
The landscape of the peninsula is divine, of course; the bright turquoise hue of the Kenai River and dense wildlife refuge land as far as the eye can see is hard to beat. But Anchorage and its outskirts have their own beauty.
I stayed in the city over the past two weekends for work, which is something none of my co-workers would opt to do, but I always jump at the chance. There’s something comforting about returning to my old town, and going to all my favorite spots now as an outlander.
When I wasn’t working, I got to spend time with friends old and new — waiting way too long for street tacos, summiting new peaks, eating late-night pancakes, skating on a frozen lagoon and driving through the city in the sun.
To me, Anchorage does have a specific allure. There are larger chains and mom-and-pop cafes, and colossal jagged mountains just a short drive from midtown.
It might be hard to see the jewels of the city for folks who have never lived there. But for me, the nostalgic symbolism of Anchorage will always represent the gateway to Alaska adventure.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at firstname.lastname@example.org.