Something Beautiful is a self-imposed initiative to find a visual feast for each day of a year.
There is a continuing joke on this trip. We find that in this place of vast land and proportionately limited inhabitants—everyone seems to be removed by only 1 degree of separation. Now, I find that a quarter of Wisconsin is represented in the Anchorage area—not mining, but farming.
On our drive to Palmer, Alaska today to shoot at a helicopter company, we drove through the magnificent Matanuska Valley. Over lunch a member of our party explained that the valley was settled by farmers transplanted from the midwest in the 1930s. Iron ore mining was hard hit in the depression. In 1935 the Federal Emergency Relief Administration offered 40 acre plots to those from the Iron Range stretching over northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. 40 acre plots on the glacier rich soil on the flat plain outside Anchorage. Many came. Many failed and left. But the landscape bears icons from the colonists midwestern origins—barns in the land of log cabins.
The northern midwest is a favorite country, but the vistas pale a bit when set up against the Talkeetnah and Chugach Mountains that border Matanuska Valley. A farmer’s dream land—agricoltori terra di sogno.