Some people think of the old gold mining towns of Alaska as a Hollywood Wild West scene, but the citizens of Butte, Alaska, find it to be the opposite. Instead of violence and noise, they love the peace and quiet. Yes, they can have fun together, but the great expanse of nature they are surrounded by, and the quite it instils, has drawn many to live there.
Alaska has always attracted hunters, oil drillers, and gold miners, and men outnumber women by a margin of 7 to 6. More than 60% of Alaskans were born elsewhere; in other words, most of them choseto live in the vast, beautiful and empty expanse they call home.
What kind of people make this choice?
- People who like space: Alaska is more than half the size of the continental United States. It covers 656,424 square miles and has only 683,000 inhabitants.
- Wildlife enthusiasts: Alaska lets you get close to all kinds of wildlife.
- Low-maintenance personalities: Alaska is rugged, and its way of life tends to be more on the rustic and side.
- Adventurers: Alaskans consider themselves to be rugged individualists, going out in the wild and testing their endurance and strength.
A love of the quiet of nature
According to my neighbour Dan, who own plasterer Darwin and he’s been in Alaska before, the most outstanding feature of Butte itself is that the residents describe it as peaceful and quiet. These are people who avoid city life. The crowding, the impersonality of a big city dweller, the distance from nature. They tend to be people who love to feel the wind in their hair, to experience the elements, to experience wildlife for real, rather than via films.
Being with the wilderness
Be it by horse, by husky drawn sledge, by kayake or by foot, and no one can deny the beauty, the quiet and the peace of Butte. Riding through the open woods with giant cottonwood trees, there is a wide variety of native plants. Porcupines, birds, moose, and many little critters will be around for the watchful eye. After meandering through the woods perhaps you arrive at the beach of the river with a panoramic view of snow-capped mountains stretching out before you. The unspoiled wilderness, the entirely of the swamps, the simple lifestyle, all-cause a stillness inside to match that outside.
Towering mountains, huge glacier valleys, fish-filled rivers and lakes, abundant Alaska wildlife, glorious hiking country, scenic camping and quaint frontier communities – the Mat-Su is what visitors dream about. That is what residence experience daily.
Always something to do
When it’s freezing, one can take a dog sledge over the silent snow, with only the noise of the sledge and the dogs. You can sit on The Butte during the warm season, or by the river and watch the wildlife pass by. The area is famous for salmon, moose, caribou, bears and bison. You can sit in awe of the famous glaciers and fjords and mountains, and more lakes, rivers, and waterways than one could imagine.
Quite can always be found in Butte
If you are still looking for peace and quiet after all this, you might want to enquire into the yoga class that takes place regularly at the top of the Butte. Once you have been quietened down inside, you can’t fail to feel the quiet and the peace the residents speak of.
Although the title of John Green’s book Looking for Alaska is not about the state, he does describe a state of mind that could well be describing a resident of Butte: “I’ve always liked quiet people: You never know if they’re dancing in a daydream or if they’re carrying the weight of the world.”