Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Endless Summer

"Summer in Alaska is the best!" That's what I've been told for over a year now. When I returned to California last June and July I was met with shock and dismay. "How can you leave now? Summer is the best part!" I hate to break it to you, Alaskans, but your summer isn't all that. Sure, sure there's 24 hours of daylight, and that's fun if you're able to stay up and make use of it. I have to admit, it is nice seeing lush green everywhere instead of white.

Tanana Valley from Ester Dome

I was told the summer is hot. It isn't. Compared to -35? Yes. But to anyone from the lower 48? No. Temps have reached 80 degrees once and it rains every day. Let me repeat that. It RAINS every day. That, does not constitute a good summer. It never rains in California during the summer. And it is hot. 100 degrees hot. Sunsets are amazing though.

Yes, there are a lot of activities to partake of in terms of hiking, fishing, etc. However, it isn't safe to do these things by yourself. Last week a grizzly bear wandered through North Pole and into someone's chicken coop. Not just a black bear, a grizzly bear! People, if the grizzly's are in town then what the hell is going to be on the trails?

Not being able to take off solo has been an adjustment for me. In California I often went kayaking, hiking, camping, and backpacking by myself. Not that I necessarily should have, but I did. Sure, there was a certain amount of risk as there are bears and mountain lions in California. Yet, it never felt risky. Here, it does. In the same way that it feels risky to drive out of down more than 30 minutes by yourself when it's -40. It's just not a good idea. Going for a drive in the winter, and subsequently going for a hike in the summer, by yourself can get you dead.

So my activities here have been a bit curtailed. Since I can't convince my friends to play hooky from work all summer I'm having to come up with projects for myself. I'm contemplating painting my kitchen cabinets (those of you who have witnessed my past painting endeavors now what a task this is!), I'm practicing guitar and I'm going to plant a small garden. I finally hung black-out curtains in my bedroom (oh, blessed darkness!) This is what my apartment looks like around 11:00 at night.

Black out curtains are a must!

Meanwhile, on the weekends when my friends are off work, there are plenty of bonfires to attend and stay up till 3am for.We amuse ourselves by making the dogs and chickens be friends.

Even the chickens get tired.
This picture was taken at 12:30am. Notice the light. This was also the night that the mosquitoes ate through my pants and made legs looks like something a dermatologist would get excited about. Wearing shorts in public right now is not an option.

This picture was taken early Sunday morning at 3am. Again, notice the light.
This weekend there's to be camping and salmon fishing. I hear tale you can throw your line in the water with a bare hook and catch yourself one of them 'dar fish. Let's hope this Alaska tale is true! And let's hope someone else will want to clean the fish for me!