Ana Verzone

Anchorage

  Verzone with daughter Maia on a hike in the Chugach Range outside of Anchorage.

Verzone with daughter Maia on a hike in the Chugach Range outside of Anchorage.

love and mountains

What brought me to Alaska, really, was love, and mountains. So, love: you know, I met my husband in Nepal in 1999, and I visited [him in Alaska] shortly after. And [we] climbed a bunch of peaks and then could go out and have a burger after, because the light stayed out for so long-- it was amazing to me that we could do all these things in a day, 'cause of the length of the day. And so I had this great mountain Alaska love experience, and then went back to graduate school. But then came back to work a few seasons for Outward Bound, and then ultimately moved here: for love, to be with my husband.

feeling of community

To be honest, I think some people need to be in Alaska. For example, my husband would get pretty bored in any other state. He came to visit me in Oregon and lived with me for a while, and he pretty much climbed everything and paddled everything within thirty days, within many hours of driving. And for me, I really love mountains-- so for me, what’s helping me stay is really learning how to create community. I think because of the type of environment that Alaska offers, it really encourages community, because you really need other people here. You can’t get away as an island, on your own, as much, because it would get really depressing, or sad, in the winters for example. But I actually really enjoy the winter, because I feel like that’s when I see more people, we have more dinners, there’s really that feeling of community. So for me, I was here for love and mountains, and I stay for love and mountains. Even though I could have that in other places, what keeps me here is knowing that we will have many many years of adventures as a family. It won’t get boring. And I’ve learned to adapt. I think if you don’t learn to adapt, it can be really hard, but I’ve learned to adapt and enjoy that adaptation. It’s actually kind of fun to be uncomfortable and learn how to deal with that. And learn how to be comfortable in the environment again.

"Here in Alaska you could get to feeling really small, which I think is important these days: to feel small. You can feel small pretty quickly here. That’s really special, even though it’s not always easy."

 

Alaskan wilderness

At the concert last night. It was dumping [rain], and any other place, I bet half the people wouldn’t have come. But it was Anchorage, and there were tons of people out, and the band was saying, "This is the best audience of the whole tour!" And it was literally dumping-- my glass was filling with rainwater that I could drink, so I didn’t even have to go get water to drink; I just drank the rainwater that was in my cup. ... There’s not many places you could be in the wilderness, like you can here, anymore. I love the Sierra Nevada; that’s where I pretty much had my wilderness growing up, in California. You could go a few days without seeing any people, but here in Alaska you could get to feeling really small, which I think is important these days: to feel small. You can feel small pretty quickly here. That’s really special, even though it’s not always easy.