Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice in Alaska

Today is the longest day of the year!

Questions I am frequently asked about Alaska:

Isn't there 24 hours of darkness in the winter and 24 hours of light in the summer?

Not quite.
It seems hard to believe that during the winter solstice, the sun rose at 11:00am and set at 2:45pm. We have been steadily gaining 7 minutes of daylight since then and today we will have almost 22 hours of daylight! Starting tomorrow, we will start losing about 7 minutes of light every day. However, the twilight during the summer makes it seem like 24 hours of daylight many nights. The set time is only when the sun dips below the horizon. So, we steadily gain and lose light phasing into summer and winter.

Do you get depressed without the sun during the winter?

Not personally- I take a multivitamin with Vitamin D to ward off any imbalances. I was lucky enough to take my lunch break by a window, so I always saw a little sun.  Some people buy sun lamps to help, just like those living in rainy cities. The hardest part about it being dark AND cold is finding motivation to keep active and not sleep all the time. I'm still working on that pesky winter weight!

How do you sleep with so much daylight during the summer?

By keeping active, sleep follows naturally. There are times when I am running around town and I check the time and realize it is 10:00pm and I thought it was only 7:00pm! Many people who have trouble sleeping with so much light (enough to read a book) buy black out curtains. The best part about the summer is that there is so much more light to enjoy all the wonderful outdoor activities!

On Saturday, Fairbanks had its annual Midnight Sun Run. The 10K race began at 10:00pm and the many people were dressed in crazy costumes. I walked with some friends and it was one of the most entertaining things I've done in Fairbanks! At one point I was squinting and realized I should have brought sunglasses!

Sunday the Midnight Sun Festival was happening downtown from noon till midnight. There was delicious fair food, break-dancers, skateboarders, chalk artists, games for kids, and street vendors. And many, many devoted dog owners. I have never seen so many Fairbanksians in one place!

Tonight there is the Midnight Sun Baseball Game at Growden Memorial Park. It is a longstanding tradition of playing baseball into the morning hours without any artificial light. The game starts at 10:30 and has lasted till past 2am! Only in Alaska!

I love the summertime, the only sad part is knowing it will come to an end. 
aaand your obligatory pet picture:

PS. Isn't Joanna looking gorgeous toting Toby around? I hope to be an effortlessly stylish mom like her someday! Heck, I'd steal her clothes now!


  1. I LOVE the last photo especially :) Too cute. Miss you!

  2. How did I NOT know about some of these events?! GAH! I missed out, and now it is too late! I miss you girl! You enjoy it for both of us, okay?