My students are aware that I grew up in Alaska. So I must have just headed home, correct? It's a family vacation.
Alaska is Big. Really Big.
From north to south, Alaska spans 1420 miles - that is a little bit more than the distance between Chicago and the Mexican border. So here, in Fairbanks, I am more than a 5 hours drive away from my hometown. And the climate is way different than anything I encountered near the southern coast of Alaska!
But that doesn't compare to how far away I'll be this summer, when I'm in the Arctic circle. I will be another 9 hour drive away from Fairbanks, and about 15 hours driving away from my hometown. I'm going from one end of Alaska to the other.
There Are Not A Lot of People Here
Where I grew up in Alaska was moderately populated - Big Lake, Alaska has about 2700 people in 144 square miles. In comparison, Chicago has 2.7 million people in 244 square miles. So Chicago is only 611 times more populated than where I grew up! Not bad!
In contrast, the North Slope borough has 9600 people total for 95000 square miles. So Chicago is 110,000 times more densely populated than North Slope. Imagine if 24 people lived in the entire city of Chicago, from Howard Street to south of 95th, and you'll have an idea of what I'm talking about here.
All photos and maps originally obtained from US Census.