Sunshine has returned to Alaska, with ferocity.
The winter sun mumbles across the horizon for about a quarter of the day. December is our darkest month. I'm often asked if the darkness is difficult. It becomes very routine. I would say the sudden jolt of sun is more unsettling.
It's almost alarming how rapidly the amount of daylight hours increases.
As the time sprang forward the use of blackout curtains at bedtime became necessary once again. It certainly feels more strange to go to bed during daylight than it does to spend five pm in darkness.
But the shift of weather has been wonderful. It's still cold, but the sunshine and good gear help to enjoy the magic of winter.
The sun helps with house-training (adjusting to dog-life once again).
Having a high-energy puppy is such a shift from my lazy Stella. Walks are now a daily occurrence. After school it's become habit to meet up with my friend, the language arts teacher, Victoria, and her pup Maggie. Ada is finally learning how to play with other dogs.
After collecting water at the village's freshwater spring, we walked back via the river. Justin, Victoria's boyfriend, is getting ready for summer fire-fighting. He carried their bottles of water, eight gallons, on his back.
The walk on the ice inspired our Saturday adventure. Isaac, myself, and Ada met up with Justin, Victoria, and Maggie to walk across the river. There is at least six feet of ice on the river right now. It's the main route of travel between the villages. I've also heard of another village driving trucks between their village and the neighboring hub airport.
Mountain Village from the other side of the Yukon.
There are well-traveled snow machine tracks through the willows.
We couldn't help but venture down this tight trail. I was amazed at how straight the willows grow.
The moose have been rutting on the trees.
It was when I traveled to Nunavut that I first shifted to the uniqueness of winter. In winter we were able to walk around on land that would be nearly impassable on foot. We were able to just walk across the river. It was really incredible.
Isaac and Justin had a little fun shooting on the river bank.
Don't let the snow fool you, Spring is certainly here. I've noticed the return of a few birds and a some willows beginning to bud. There is still plenty of snow and ice to enjoy. I'm looking forward to getting out on Isaac's snow machine and taking more walks over the frozen tundra and river. All this winter wonder is only buoyed by the fact that there are only eight weeks left of school for the year.