49 Voices: Mary Miner of Anchorage

Mary Miner of Anchorage (Photo by Katie Writer, KTNA – Talkeetna)

This week we’re hearing from Mary Miner from Anchorage. Miner helped to develop “Raven’s Roost” community living space, and is spending this winter at her cabin in Talkeetna.

MINER: I actually got hired out of Portland to come to Alaska to do map-making, back in the day before computers and it was done by hand. And my boss came into my office in our work area in Portland and on Friday evening after work said, “Would you like to go to Alaska?” And I said I would love to. So Sunday morning I was in Anchorage, and I had 35 cents in my pocket, but I had a job. And that’s how I came to Alaska, I came to make maps. It was so much fun.

The first time I ever saw the Chugach mountains, I just about fell over. And I still… the sky above the mountains, because of the air currents, the clouds there are so dramatic, and they’re just so beautiful. I never get tired of that. I never have gotten that feeling of awe, of how lucky I am to live in this place. It’s just so beautiful.

I was taking flying lessons, and we were pre-flighting his plane one day at the Anchorage airport, and he said, “What are you doing with your life?” And I said, “Well, I’m studying geology.” And he laughed and he said, “Well if you wanna be poor all your life, go ahead and do that, but if you wanna make some money, you better get into engineering.” And I immediately went back that fall semester and switched into civil engineering. I figured he knew what he was talking about. He had a couple airplanes and he had a cabin down in Seldovia. He had a lot of cool stuff that I was thinking about.

Our neighbors up there, the long time neighbors, there’s a number of people up there who are just the salt of the earth. They’re wonderful people. And they’re very quiet, and you don’t see them that much. But if you meet them on the trail and your snowmachine’s broken down, or their truck battery needs a jump, there’s a very strong sense of community that I get from the people who live out there. And there are some that’ve been out there for years, and we’ve never met them until just recently. That truly is the best part of being out there is our neighbors are all really really just super nice, super chill.