Winter is Here

Winter has officially arrived on the Alaska Peninsula. The snow arrived about two weeks ago, and it seems set on sticking around for awhile. With the snow, comes the cold - and temperatures in the -20's have been making regular appearances. Despite the cold, winter has always been one of my favorite seasons. I love celebrating the holidays with my family, watching fresh snow quietly settle over the landscape, spending the afternoons ice skating on frozen lakes, and snowshoeing through the hills.


With winter in Alaska also comes the darkness. Sunrise is now at nearly 10am and sunset is at 4:45pm.  The shortened days make me feel like a hibernating bear, sleepy and ready for a long rest. I'll admit that winter always makes me sleep more, which I don't mind at all.  I also spend a lot more time indoors doing little projects, watching movies, cooking, and reading.


When the sun does show its face, I try my best to find my way out into it for awhile.  After school, I rush out the door to make some time for dog walks out on the frozen tundra.  The weekends are no different, except for the fact that we load the car and drive the dogs to different, farther locations to add some variety to our explorations.



While winter is beautiful and relaxing, it can also be a season for cabin fever and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  It's really important, especially in such isolated places, to find ways to keep yourself entertained.  SAD is an especially big issue in Alaska's far northern climates.


Last weekend, Cody and I were feeling particularly cabin-fever-y and just couldn't stay inside and watch one more movie.  The temperatures were in the single digits and the sun had been set for hours, but we didn't care.  We called our neighbors (the other teacher and her husband) and asked if they'd like to go explore the frozen lake. They agreed, so we all bundled up and walked the short distance to Loon Lake. The next hour was spent with all of us laughing, slipping, and sliding our way across the extremely frozen surface.  Within ten minutes of being out there, a Honda (4-wheeler) burst to life and a posse of our students showed up.  They'd apparently seen our headlamps and wanted to come out to play too.


Winter is a beautiful time in Alaska, but it's a harsh time too.  Finding hobbies, staying busy, and maintaining relationships with those around you are all important aspects to staying happy in the bush, especially this time of the year. As winter continues to settle itself fully in the area, and we spend our days locked in hours of shrinking sunlight, life continues to be an unforgettable adventure.

Your turn...Has winter begun yet where you live? 
Currently listening to...Paint the Silence - South



Comments

  1. Beautiful pictures! I've never experienced an Alaskan winter, but I have a love/hate relationship with my Idaho winters. I love the season, the holidays and the beauty that comes with everything being covered in a blanket of snow, but I'm not fond of the cold! At all!
    It's snowed a few times this year where I live, but just a dusting. Nothing major yet.

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    1. Thank you! Are you from Idaho? The other teacher in my village is from Idaho. It's a place I've always wanted to spend a bit more time!

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  2. Winter was so tough in Alaska with the darkness, I knew a lot of people that were affected. You definitely need to find things to do and keep yourself occupied. I also found that embracing the season was a must. If you didn't take advantage of the snow and the daylight when it was available, then you'd definitely be more miserable!

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    1. So true! I have to make time to get outside when the sun is out!

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  3. I admire your strength! Alaska really does seem beautiful despite how cold it is. We've been lucky to have warmer temps in Michigan this season, so we haven't seen much winter weather yet! I love your photos...it looks absolutely beautiful. :)

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    1. My parents live in Michigan and a couple of weeks ago they were bragging about the weather, not anymore though! Haha. I heard MI has been getting a big dose of winter weather.

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  4. Good thing you can appreciate the winter, given your home-sweet-home. I'm only in Michigan, and would prefer to hibernate til it's warmer again :)

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  5. Wow! Sunset at 4:45. It's early here in MI too, but not that early. We don't have any snow yet, but I'm sure it will be here soon. Traveling up north this weekend so may see some there.

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  6. Wow, I can't image the sun setting that early. Your photos look beautiful. I bet it's even nicer in person.

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  7. I suffer from SAD. It sounds like you have a great time there.

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  8. It's so pretty there and I always love the pictures that you share. I can't imagine the sun not rising until 10am. It must feel like your days fly by sometimes!

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  9. I'm so glad you found me so I could find you! Your Alaskan adventure is thrilling, I can't wait to catch up.
    Having a night-time stroll on a frozen lake with friends sounds magical!

    We've just moved to Merritt, BC, and for the first time in my life I'm experiencing temperatures below -20. Combined with the dryness and sunshine, I'm amazed at how much I like it!

    I'm excited to follow along on your adventures!
    xo Miriam

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    1. I'm glad we were able to connect too! I've really been enjoying your blog. It's wonderful : )

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  10. We've had winter weather for almost 2 months here in Glennallen (Eastern Alaska). Today it's warmed up, though, and is -2F! We had an extended stretch of temps in the -30s...
    Our snow is deep (has to be at least 2 feet) and the trees are just beautiful...
    We were in Palmer & Wasilla a week ago - still no snow there...

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    1. We got our first snow in mid-October, so it's been here quite awhile too. I feel like late Nov/early Dec it finally settled in for good though. I'm jealous of your trees, by the way! I miss the trees we had in SE Alaska. There aren't any out here on the tundra.

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