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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. 


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


The Down-Side: It Never Gets Dark.


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.)


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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I’ll be Right back!

There are LOTs of changes happening in the life of Jenny Lynes these days.
I’ve been brewing up some great blog post ideas and life updates, so get ready!!

See you soon!

I can’t wait!!

Holiday Hiatus

I’ll be back soon!

Hope everyone had wonderful holidays and a happy new year!

Stay warm,


College is Hard

Every year before school starts I daydream of getting back to Madison and attending classes, organizing my room, cuddling up at a coffeehouse to study, working out, and having fun with my friends.

But that’s never how it ends up!

Anyway, the point of this pointless post is that I’ll be back soon!

Like, tomorrow!

Don’t forget me,


Word Associations

Let’s play a game.
When you hear the word ‘politics’ what comes to mind?

Here are my answers:
Politico news magazine
Bills and laws

I’m gonna be honest though, I don’t really follow politics.
So, to many (specifically my friend Alex Vitale!), those answers couldn’t be more general or dissatisfying.

Let’s try another one.

When you hear the word ‘environment’ what comes to mind?

An image of a vast wilderness?
Global warming?
Al Gore’s face?
Polar bears?
Recycling bins?
The Amazon?

I’ve tucked away the idea of me fully understanding politics with distant memories of trying to pass freshman Civics class and constantly feeling out of the loop with the news. So, I know that everyone has certain issues where their word associations may not align with the day’s leading experts.

I am obviously no exception to this rule, but I am here to give readers some better words to associate with ‘environment’ than those given above.

I don’t claim to be an expert on the topic, but in this blog I want to continue to play the word association game. I’ll call it the Frame Game.
Hear me out here.

When I started my sophomore year of college at Madison, I would have grouped ‘environment’ with:

SOS club at my high school
Bikers with peace sign buttons on their backpacks

But, what I have come to learn is how the environment can be framed in any way you want, and like politics, its importance doesn’t diminish – it just becomes more or less personally important. What I fear though, is that the vastness of ‘environment’ or the vagueness of ‘green’ makes it sort of out of grasp; a project that will inevitably be saved for another day. I still feel that way sometimes.
Everyone has an idea of how the world may or may not be warming and that it may or may not be my or your fault. They may know that the polar bears are going extinct, and someone somewhere is probably asking them to turn down the air conditioning….

But what’s the big picture?

My goal here is to remove partisanship and hippie pretenses, and continue to evoke a passion and concern about the environment in you and myself while adjusting the focus from blurry, random word associations, to a clear frame of whatever image of ‘environment’ best fits into your life, your knowledge, and your capabilities. I think it’ll be different for all of us.

Here are words, exciting words, that I have come to associate with environment:

Good, healthy food
Seeing, expanding, and appreciating natural beauty
Healthy living
Looking out for posterity!
Lessening the gap between social classes and societies
Fresh Air

What’s not to love about that?
So, while even I get sick of hearing about saving the environment by buying a Prius or taking a shorter shower, I know that if everyone had the chance, and the time, to learn enough (and be scared enough) about the environment, they’d be sitting here writing this blog too. Since I have college professors and volumes of reading to tell me of its urgency, the will to write, and the motivation to improve my frame of ‘environment,’ this will be a place to explore the optimistic, practical and necessary side of making some environmental progress in everyday life.

I hope you join me!


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