Sunday, December 12, 2010

Long Days of Winter

The nights are long, the days are short. Nine days until the solstice, the shortest day of the year. We have about 4.5-5 hours of daylight right now. On work days, I get to work before dawn cracks (even though it's 7:30 a.m.), and I leave when it's almost completely dark.

Lots of people have asked me something along the lines of, "Isn't it always dark up there??"

No, of course it isn't. Barrow, maybe. But here in Denali it's far enough south that we get at least a few hours of daylight all year.

And what daylight it is! I have yet to learn the physics involved with sunlight at such a low angle. But suffice it to say, it is stunning during daylight hours at this time of year. I wish I had a camera that took good enough pictures. My little Canon does fine in bright light (or when I have good enough batteries to make the flash work), but the subtle nuances of the daylight here in the Interior of Alaska are lost on my camera.

I went snowshoeing yesterday afternoon (about -10F at about 12:30 p.m.), and the snow on the tree limbs was beautiful. Everything takes on a very light purple-ish blue hue.

Today it's hovering around -21F, so I'm not out snowshoeing. Here in the office, it's slow. Park traffic should pick up after the first of the year. Until then, we are like the other animals that call Denali 'Home' - hunkering down and focusing on the little projects that we can't get done the rest of year when the park is full of visitors. And, yes, like the bears, I hope to sleep a lot! :)

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