I sometimes wonder, usually while I’m stuck in Charlotte traffic, what it would be like to live in a more remote place. The thought of doing so is both appealing and appalling. On the one hand, I’d probably be surrounded by natural beauty with ample room to breathe. On the other hand, I can’t imagine that life would be very easy.
Barrow, Alaska is as far north as you can go and still be in the United States of America. It’s truly remote. Barrow doesn’t have any paved roads, not that it really matters because the roads that are there don’t go very far. The only way in or out is by plane or boat, and that’s how the roughly 5,000 residents of Barrow get there all of their stuff. As a result, prices for food and everything else are outrageously high.
And then there’s the weather in Barrow. It can snow on any day of the year, even in the middle of summer when the sun never sets. But as global temperatures rise, the amount of Arctic sea ice that Barrow residents were used to seeing has decreased. That may allow for tourists to explore the area more easily, and tourism dollars could serve to replace waning oil and natural gas income in northern Alaska.
As in most remote places, life in Barrow certainly comes with many challenges. Maybe it wouldn’t be the ideal place for me, but I’ll let you know for sure after my next traffic jam on I-77. In the meantime, here’s a look at America’s northernmost town: