Summer in Alaska

Q. When are the summer months for Alaska? When is it all day? What are the best and worst months to cruise? -Tina

A. Hi Tina: Boy, that was a lot of questions packed into a tiny space, but I’m happy to answer them. I’m always happy to talk about Alaska. In fact I think the state should hire me to be a good will ambassador, because I have nothing but good will towards my lovely state.

I, personally, consider summer to be May, June, July and at least half of August.

As to how the light and dark breaks down, it really is not 6 months of light and 6 of dark as some people think. It is more like this: May June and July are extremely light. August, Sept, and October are easing out of the light and into the dark time, so that they are more or less ‘normal’. November, December and January are extremely dark. Then February, March and April are doing that old ‘easing’ again, ony this time from dark to light. For instance, by end of January we can notice the days are lengthening. At first it is a slow, few minutes a day, but if you stop and think, at only a 5 minute a day increase….in 10 days time you have almost an hour more of light or dark.

It is now mid September and our leaves are turning golden rapidly, but they are still hanging on for the most part. A night or two of good old Jack Frost will hurry them along though, and that can’t be far off.
This year, at least, I got all my rhubarb in before freeze up. There was one year when I kept procrastinating until one morning I woke to everything white with frost. Darn!! I couldn’t stand losing all that lovely rhubarb so I ran out in my nightgown, with my trusty butcher knife and harvested it….oh,boy were my hands frozen when I finished! Since it was going into the freezer anyway, I only had to let it thaw enough to slice. I decided I would never do that again though. And I haven’t.

I think the crusing season is from early May to September. Any of those months are good cruising, but bring some layers of clothing!

At the lightest time of year, you can read a fine print book outside at any time of the night (although who would want to?) And you could drive without headlights (although we don’t). In mid December, it doesn’t even get light until about 9:30 and isn’t full light til about 10 a.m. And the sun sets about 3:30 or 4:00 it rapidly gets dark. It might not be as dark as you imagine though because snow cover makes it seem lighter, especially when a full moon is shining down, making the snow sparkle like a million diamonds…..or when the aurora borealis is filling the sky. Then you just plain don’t care that you live in a land of darkness.

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