Weekday Expeditions a Month from the Solstice

There are up sides and down sides to living in Alaska one month out from the solstice, both of which are closely related to being able to make the most of your average say, Tuesday night.

The Up-Side: It Never Gets Dark.

Let’s say you work until 5. Heck, let’s say you work until 6. This leaves you daylight time to still have a 1-2 hour activity of some sort, drive home, stop at the store, cook/eat/clean dinner and sit down to some television. All before it even gets dark! Good times. 

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Here I am taking in the view from Bird Ridge trail sometime around 8:30 pm.

 

The Down-Side: It Never Gets Dark.

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Dusk over the Cook Inlet at 10:30 pm.

I think the best way to illustrate this point is through a brief story:

My first week at REAP, right around 5pm, I hear a short tune sounding, followed by a loud rendition of the national anthem through my open office window. As I began to wonder what national holiday it was or where the sound would be coming from, Shaina shouts loudly from her office next to mine, “IT’S QUITTIN’ TIME, JENNY!”

National anthem plays = time to go home. Cut. And. Dry. 

(I later learned that the anthem is played by the nearby military base to signal the end of the official duty day and also serves as a ceremony for paying respect to the flag.)

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Sun setting in Eagle River at 11:00 pm. (This picture makes it look a lot darker than it actually was, too)

Anyway, usually for Sam, quittin’ time in the summer is when it gets dark. We turn around on our bikes to head home, cut the hike short, etc, based on when we’ll run out of light. I never realized how nice and important this check and balance (shall we say) is to not being totally exhausted all summer long! When it’s light until after 11 pm each night, by the time 8:30 pm comes and goes, we’re still left with this feeling of needing to do more, more, more. 

And even after 11, it’s not dark. It’s half-assed dark where you can still see light coming in through the window. This keeps me awake just long enough to think about what we might do tomorrow as I fall fast asleep.

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