Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

I tried catching the total lunar eclipse last night but it was cloudy so I couldn't get a good photo. This is supposed to be the beginning of winter but for many folks up here in Alaska, today is viewed as the beginning of the end of winter. Up until now, we were losing daylight but after today, we will start slowly picking up daylight. Today, sunrise was at 10:59 and sunset will be around 2:40. By March, we'll be back to over 12 hours of actual sun above the horizon which means about 16 hours of daylight. This time of year the only warmth you feel from the sun is strictly psychological as the sun is so low on the horizon.


Stacy said...

Hmm, one day I'll have to experience this thing called "Alaska".

Unknown said...


I was so close to Alaska. I filled up at a junction near Kitwanga and the dirt road north went to the Bear Glacier about 100 kms north on Hwy 37 to Hyder, but it was too late in the day, so we didn't. One of the best MC roads is from Terrace north to New Aiyansh . Lots of Lava flows in the Nass Valley

one day we will make it to your territory

Wet Coast Scootin

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Living here in Missouri it will be obvious that the days are getting longer from now on. I suppose I notice it more now that I commute to work on the bike.

And here, the sun does make a difference in the temperature. I grew up in Michigan and the sun could shine bright, but no snow would melt unless it was above freezing. Here if the sun shines non shaded snow will melt even with the temperatures in the 20'sF.

Happy Solstice and may you enjoy the return of the light.


Allen Madding said...

Everytime I think about you being in Alaska this time of year, I get a cold chill I can't shake. How long does it take vistors to adjust to the short daylight hours this time of year? Betting it would have the hibernation effect on me :)

Stay warm and Happy Holidays!


SonjaM said...

I like the thought of Winter Solstice being the end of the cold and dark season. Daylight will return and soon we will be out riding again. Have a wonderful Christmas time and thanks so much for visiting my blog. SonjaM

RichardM said...

I initially came up to just visit and ended up staying. I know a few who came up on vacation theen called back home telling family to sell everything including their house as they weren't planning on coming back.

From Kitwanga up the Cassiar to Watson Lake then on to Fairbanks is only 1300 miles. Only a couple of days...

I have never visited Hyder but there has been some discussion an advrider about something called Hyder-seek coming up in June.

Thank you both for stopping by and Merry Christmas!

RichardM said...

Up here it isn't unusual for the low temperature for the day to occur in the middle of the day. Absolutely no thermal gain.

You get used to the short days pretty quick. Dark in the morning, sunny at lunchtime and dark when you go home. Sounds like every other place I've lived. Fairbanks is a still a surprisingly popular tourist destination this time of year. People like seeing the aurora and the swimming in the hot springs are wonderful even at 40 below (F or C).

RichardM said...

Thank you for stopping by. Yes, I'm already anxiously waiting for Spring to arrive. Only about 4 months until our riding season begins.

Merry Christmas!

Mike said...

When people move away from Oregon, many either move to Montana or Alaska. I'll bet Alaska is beautiful in person!

Merry Christmas!

Troubadour said...

Wow, I knew you had shorter days that far north but by putting an actual time on it of 10:59 and 2:40 really puts it in perspective.
However you do have the beautiful Northern Lights to enjoy, I know it's of little condolence but I do miss them. (Have you ever heard them?)

Happy Solstice and Happy Holidays.

Bluekat said...

Yes, it does feel like the last day of winter - YAY. The tree comes down on the 26th, and then I'll be waiting for daffodils and watching the days get longer!

A big sigh of relief, that Winter Solstice is here!

RichardM said...

In Barrow, where I work occasionally, the sun set on November 19, 2010 and won't rise until January 22, 2011. About 2 months of darkness. Fairbanks is still south of the Arctic Circle.

Mike, Brad & Kari,
Thank you for stopping by. Merry Christmas!


Unknown said...


On IRT yesterday (IceRoadTruckers) they showed part of the Fairbanks Airport, the curved frontage. I squinted but didn't see you in the background

Wet Coast Scootin

RichardM said...


I'm not at the airport that often though sometimes it seems that way. Much of the scenery on IRT is familiar (which is kind of cool) and the road does get pretty rough north of the Yukon River bridge. You need to bring up your V-Strom and take it up the haul road or up to Inuvik. Bikes even head up in the winter!


Baron's Life said...

I guess |I'll have to visit Alaska this year..I can't imagine 16 hours of sunshine in a single day

Merry Christmas and a Happy |New Year

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M. (Machida):

Please be advised that your blog has been officially entered on the "Destinations" section of "Twisted Roads," the motorcycle blog featuring raw adventure and romance like broken glass.

I regret this action was long overdue. Your blog features a tight focus on motorcycles and biking isues, as opposed to other electronic editorial riff raff, like "Key West Dairy."

This will undoubtedly expose you to lots more abuse, criticism, and general harrassment. Quite franjkly, it couldn't happen to nicer guy.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

irondad said...

One always wonders how they would handle darkness for a couple of months at a time.

I got clouded out for the eclipse, too.

Nikos said...

Happy New Year!