Ever heard of it? I hadn't... But recently I met the neatest/nicest girl who happened to be from there. She's actually dating one of our favorite friends. I couldn't even imagine a place like this existing.
If you've heard of Nome it is probably because it was popular during the gold rush and it is where the dog sled race (forget the name) every year ends. But if you haven't heard of it--like me--then that makes sense too. After all, only 4,000 people live in Nome, Alaska.
It is located in the Northwest part of Alaska...super cold! My friend said it gets 60 below there in the winter. Can you even imagine? They can't leave their houses, and they have to constantly plug their cars into the house to keep the engine warm.
It is a prime location for grizzlies too.
Nome is located on the water...100 miles from Russia. In the winter when the ocean freezes over there, people snowmobile to Russia. And she said the drunk sometimes start to walking out that way and the patrol has to bring them in--random tid bit.
What I had trouble understanding was how a town of 4,000 people in the middle of no where survives. For example, the roads literally end on the outskirts of town. You can't drive to the nearest town--Anchorage. Rather, you have to fly to get out of town. Flying is cheaper than maintaining a road system. Their closest town in Alaska is just as close is Russia. Again, they fly or helicopter out when they want to go somewhere. (I think Fairbanks is closer but because you have to fly there too you might as well go to Anchorage where there is more).
Can you imagine how such a deserted place must cost to live in. A gallon of milk costs $7.99. And I think she said that gas costs $6.00.
Again, I asked myself and her multiple times, 'why Nome?'
Not only is it a port there on the water, but also they have a lot of success fishing and crab hunting. Makes sense. But what makes it survive is that it supports tons of native villages up in the northern part of Alaska....villages that can't drive in. They have to helicopter in to buy food provisions and so forth. The villages have natives to the land that speak different dialects and so forth. The government supports them because they were natives to the land first. Nome has a hospital and grocery where all these villages must turn to.
Which is why my friend was brought there. Her dad was exposed to Nome fishing and took his wife there when he became a Dr. to work a few years and 'get it out of his system.' They just never ended up moving. He is one of the few Dr.'s there but as I could imagine in a town of 4,000, they have a strong identity. My friend graduated from a class of 25. And she has no complaints. She loved it. Her branch was really strong.
Nome serves as a hub for diverse native villages far and wide. I think the largest village is of 800 people. Some just have 100 people. She said that Nome serves over area the size of Nevada. I imagine that is quite the melting pot of people.
I really showed my stupidity when I asked if people/the natives lived in Igloos. That was more of a nomadic thing back in the day. They do build a big one for the tourist around the time of the dog race.
Many would laugh at me having never heard of Nome. It's the go-to for most northern Alaskans.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Sonja. She is one of the most lovely confidant people I've met where right off the bat you know they're top quality... one of Nome's finest.