“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Failing heat tape, a power outage, and impassable roads are just a brief reminder about the severity of life in rural Alaska. Winter has not even started, yet.
I am not really living off-grid, but when essential utilities fail, that most of us take for granted, it feels like living off-grid. Temperatures dropped into the single digits and that’s when things break. Plumbers and electricians were working overtime in rough conditions and hard to come by. A foot of snow and no snow plow in sight. ..
I felt more secure 3 years ago living off-grid, 120 miles north of Anchorage. There was no road. There were no power lines. Everything, food, diesel, and anything else had to come by bush plane. There were weeks, when the plane could not make the trip due to inclement weather. But we were prepared. We had backup systems. We had fire wood for heating and cooking, the well would provide water all winter. And if we got a ton of snow, so be it, we did not have to go anywhere.
Oh, there were times when I called the mechanic. Not to make an appointment, but to walk me through the process of fixing a 20 kW diesel generator on a radio phone, where only one person could talk at a time. In addition, the phone was in a different building than the generator. Nevertheless, it all worked out.
I learned a lot in those 9 months.
The simpler, the better.
Anything man-made breaks at some point.
So here I am, freezing temperatures, failing heat tape, power outage, and a looming winter storm warning.
One more lesson: In the end it all works out, and if it’s not working, it’s not the end, yet.
One day later, the heat tape is back up, the power is on.
The car is still stuck in the drive way.
That’s for tomorrow.
Stay warm, be safe.