Friday, June 24, 2011


 Last Tuesday marked the summer solstice and the official start of the summer (although the kiddos have been out of school for over a month already). This is definitely a unique summer experience for the fam!

First off, I have never seen a community as a whole embrace and rejoice in summer as Alaskans do. No joke. And really, what would you expect, after being trapped in the dark dark cold for over six months? While everyone else marvels at their tulip-strewn Easters and blooming cherry blossoms in April, we folks up here in the Yukon are still snuggled in our down jackets and trudging through snow. So when the big bud break extravaganza happens in the deciduous trees in this area (around mid-May or so), the sudden burst of lime green sends everyone into a frenzy.

Suddenly, Fridays call for driving in the neighborhood extra carefully, since all the recreational vehicles of all forms are parked in front of houses, spiffing up for the big getaway for the weekend.  If it's not a trailer full of four-wheelers, it's a full-size RV. Alaskans do NOT take summer for granted, no sirreee.

And what a lovely summer it is. Here are some summer impressions of a newbie in Alaska:

1) Yay to clear roads and lane markings. I don't think I've missed lane marks on the road as I have this winter. I can see where I should be driving! Yippeee! That solid blanket of ice on all roadways that has made me crawl into a corner, bite my nails to nubs, and sob uncontrollably whenever I HAD to get behind the wheel is no more. The blessed visibility has given me back my nerve.

2) Sunlight! We have so much Vitamin D-filled hours, it's ridiculous. The solstice gave us 19.5 hours of full sunlight, with the remainder of the day in this weird twilight/dusk. The sun doesn't seem to fully set or sink below the horizon; it is never truly dark. I may be imagining this, but I find I have more energy during the day...and I can do yard work nearing midnight and I don't need a spotlight! LOL

3) Here's a thumbs down...Alaskan mosquitoes are the size of vultures. The ground shakes when they land. I kid, I kid. But, I have mistaken a mosquito for a small bee. Yep, I have become a big investor in OFF!

4) The dandelion is the (unofficial) state flower. Every square inch of yard/field/garden sprouted in full force along with the bud break. They were in so much abundance, it almost looked like landscapers did it on purpose. I hate dandelions. My Utah arch nemesis has followed me here.

5) There are days I still require a hoodie to keep warm. Love this about Alaska. Absolutely love it.  I do not like heat or sweat or humidity. This place is perfect! So far, the temps have not exceeded 70. Most days, it is a nice 67.  With the sun in full force. The kids still wear long sleeves, and a light jacket if it's breezy at night. It doesn't bother me to take the kids to the playground at noon (which was unheard of in UT unless you had a desperate wish for heatstroke). I love it, the kids love it, my flowers love it!

Our travel radius has only gone as far as Seward in the south, and Eagle River to the north. But this next couple months will seriously change that. This perfect weather calls for some serious hiking and exploring, and perhaps a trip to Denali Natl. Park. We have visitors coming next year around this time, and testing out activities for their itinerary is a great excuse to go see what's out there.

I've been absent from this blog, but not because I'm just too lazy to do it, really...I'm just having too much fun!

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