Living on the Kenai comes with its fair share of danger and I don’t just mean the type of danger that comes from the weather elements. Although the cold is not to be trifled with, I’m talking the bigger dangers that exist on the Kena like the wildlife, earthquakes, active volcanoes and the mosquitoes.
There is an abundant amount of wildlife on the Kenai. Everything from bears, moose, coyotes and other furry creatures with sharp teeth but nothing is scarier than the beavers. While I have never met a beaver I didn’t like, I have heard that Alaskan beavers are capable of eating small dogs, neutering larger ones and in general making the largest of dogs whimper in utter fear. There apparently is nothing more dangerous on the Kenai than an angry beaver.
In addition to the wildlife, there are the earthquakes. Earthquakes are fairly common on the Peninsula. In fact, this year is the 50th Anniversary of the Good Friday Earthquake that cut off all access to Seward and dropped Homer Spit by 6 foot, which demonstrates the danger of earthquakes. However, the largest earthquake I’ve experienced since coming to Alaska was a 4.4. The rest of the earthquakes that have happened have either been too far away to notice or just felt like the earth farted.
Then there are the volcanoes. The Kenai is home to four active volcanoes–Mt. Spurr, Mt. Redoubt, Mt. Illiamna and St. Augustine. They sit on the western side of the Peninsula and are all visible by driving from Soldotna to Homer. They are as beautiful as they are dangerous. When you look at them from a distance, the beauty seems to shroud the danger that lurks inside them. Mt. Redoubt seems to be the one that likes to burp its stuff up the most although from the stories I heard, the last time Mt. Redoubt burped, the wind was blowing in the direction of Russia so all the fall out headed that way instead of heading east.
Despite the angry beavers and other wildlife, the earthquakes and active volcanoes, nothing compares to the dangers of the mosquitoes. There are 27 species of mosquito on the Kenai and they all come alive at the same time–summer time. What they lack in size, they make up for in numbers and it has been reported that a swarm of mosquitoes is capable of carrying off a small moose or baby bear.
In all seriousness, Alaska, like any rural area, has its dangers. The important thing to remember is be smart, be safe and be prepared which applies anywhere and everywhere. As an Alaskan Noob, I have experienced a bit of a learning curve but I’ve also found that most of the people on the Kenai are very willing to help when needed whether it is offering advice, sharing some insight or actually lending a hand. Alaska is home to the friendliest bunch of strangers you will ever meet but if that’s not enough, you can follow the guidelines for preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse published by the Center for Disease Control.