I chose to talk about this because I had a friend who moved up here and had no idea we had darkness. She was completely miserable.
Some places in AK actually lose sunlight for a period of time. I do not live in that part of AK, nor do I wish to. Therefor we will discuss where I live and what I know. Okay, ready, set, go!
I currently live in Wasilla, AK. Down a road called, “Knik Goose Bay Road.” I am told it is one of the more dangerous roads in AK. I do not have a problem with it, although many do have a hard time driving it.
We start losing daylight around “Daylight Savings”. We lose it very slowly. Before we start losing it we have daylight starting around 3 in the morning-around 12 at night. We lose daylight until we only have it from 12pm until around 4ish.
Some people do tanning or have these special heat/sun lamps to help with the large lack of sunlight. I have never used any of these objects so I can not give you any info on them aside from the fact that you do not need them to survive the darkness/winer. You need to be active.
Here are a few things that can keep you busy when you are not working.
If you are outdoorsy,
- Sno shoe
- Down hill ski
- Cross country ski
- Snow machine
- Snow board
- Ice skating
- Ice climbing
If you are not athletically inclined and prefer to stay warm,
- Go to the gym
- Go to the public pool
- There is a roller skating rink in anchorage
- Craft classes
- Glacier tours
Some people have to put themselves on a schedule. If you do not keep busy, or have something to do. Your body will have its natural reaction to darkness, that is to be tired. Until you get used to it you may feel sluggish, drained, or exhausted for no apparent reason. Stick to the schedule you made for yourself and your body will acclimate.
For those of you who are retired or who have extra time, who want something to keep you busy and active during the school season. You can sub for the school district. You get to chose when and where you work for the most part. The kids also help keep you active and on your toes.
Something you do have to keep an eye out for at all times. Are the moose. They will come out at any time in the winter and in the cooler part of the day in the summer. These animals are as big as horses and will just walk right over your 6ft property fence as if it is not even there. If you do have a garden in the summer and do not fence it properly the moose will get in and they will destroy your garden, so keep that in mind. These majestic creatures also enjoy walking across the road at random and highly inconvenient times. Keep an eye out for them because they will destroy your vehicle and can kill you. Always drive with your lights on, no matter what time of the day. I will make a separate post about these majestic creatures so you know the important facts about these beasts.
In the winter you also have to keep an eye out for something we call black ice. It is hard to see in the darkness aside from the shiny glass look it has to it. If you think at all that you are driving on this (DO NOT use the brakes! ) you will slide around and the outcomes of that are endless. Up here you can get things like studded tires to help you gain traction on the ice. If ice is not one of your comfort zones I suggest getting those. I drive in all season tires and have never been in a wreck (while I was driving). I also do not drive to anchorage often and I take the back road home to my house because Knik Goose Bay Rd or “KGB” as we call it. It is dangerous in the winter.
The fist day it snows I suggest you stay home, it is when everyone goes out and there tend to be a large amount of people getting stuck. You do not want to be one of those people if you can help it.
Avalanches are also a big thing here. We had a couple in Hatchers Pass last winter. Hatcher Pass is a park you can go to and to almost all of the outdoor activities that I listed above. If you wish to go there I would just check the weather and be careful when you go out. I do not want to make any one scared or keep them from having fun. But I also want you all to go out informed. Hatchers Pass is a great place to go have fun. Just keep up with the weather and the news. If you recently had a really warm day, and you are wanting to go out because it is cold enough remember that may not be a good idea because the snow could have shifted due to the climate change.
Alright, I think that about sums up what I want you to know about the dark winters up here. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me I will be happy to help you!