by Roger Freed — Living In Skagway, Alaska means:
Having to buy used boots that are too big at the only thrift store in town after your old ones rot from all the rain and no place in town sells new shoes.
Buying lettuce and milk that are already a week old because all the food comes up on a barge from Seattle. And it only comes once a week.
Having the choice to go by either boat or plane to Juneau to get something cheaper or drive 110 miles into Canada to the only big grocery stores in the area.
The only health facility is a clinic staffed by three nurses except on Wednesdays when a doctor flies into town for the day.
Having a veterinarian come to town only twice a year.
Hearing about all the great new movies on television but not being able to see them for a couple years until they come on television (no movie theater).
Having to go out in the middle of a non-cloudy day in winter to get a small window of the five hours of daylight that manage to peak over the mountains surrounding you.
Being able to ride a bike everywhere in town — it is only four blocks wide and twenty some long.
Having the town go from 1,500 people in the summer to less than 800 in the winter because of the drop in tourism.
Having all kindergarten through senior high school classes in one school, and having only one student in the graduating class.
Going up 3,300 feet in elevation over the border to Canada to get out from under the oft overcast skies.
Wearing Extra-Tuff boots as your main footwear.
Having one full cruise ship come into dock and thereby tripling the size of the town. (Imagine what it is like when all four cruse ships are in town!)
Having the choice to catch a flight to the nearest town south that takes 10 minutes or catch a fast ferry that takes an hour or drive around the mountains separating you that takes FIVE HOURS!!!
Living in a town whose Indian name means “Birthplace of the North Wind” and finding out that it is so windy that even those Indians wouldn’t live here.
Living in a state that is famous for fish but because so much glacial silt comes down the river it scares them away.
Being in a town that exists because of the gold rush and now survives mostly on the tourism because of that Gold Rush.
Having no stop light, one supermarket, one school, no movie theater, and only one road out, but you have one of the only two railroads in Alaska!
Having an airport with no control tower so that an incoming plane must circle until the plane on the landing strip moves off. Also, radar doesn’t work in the mountains on either side of Skagway so that all planes must rely on vision for landing, which in winter means that you have a six and one-half window of daylight to land in.
Having the most famous town father be a professional con artist and gang leader who was shot dead in the first year of the town’s existence.