Dark days, white nights confuse you big time

Day and night, is it the same old, same old?

When moving to Alaska, I didn’t think much about the white nights, and the dark days that we would be facing. I was too busy sorting out what to keep and what to toss, as the air freight costs are a complicated formula of volume and mass. When doing an intercontinental move, keeping all makes only sense when you own enough to move using a container. It also means about six weeks or so without your stuff as the container will go by ship. For us it was cheaper to reduce our belongings even further even when buying new ones later and go by air than paying for a move by container.

Prior to moving to Alaska, I wasn’t concerned a bit about the long dark days. I thought that it won’t be much different than in mid-latitudes in winter. There, you go to work in the dark and you come back home in the dark. Well, in deed, it is actually the same in Alaska.

#Alaska #travel dark nights after school
Darkness around 3 pm December 12, 2016 showing parents picking up elementary students after school. Temperatures were below -20s (less than -28.9C)

The Sun seems to hobble around you

We arrived in the mid of summer, i.e. during the period of white days. When having lived in mid-latitudes at about the same latitude all your life, you learned to orientate yourself by the Sun’s elevation above the horizon for directions and time. This sense was totally screwed up when going North to the Future. In the first summer, the Sun seemed to hobble around the entire horizon, just shortly playing hide-and-seek behind the foothills of the White Mountains. Even then there was still light outside.

#fashionover40 woman in a sheath dress
GNW Luxe sweater, GNW tight, Enrico Coveri silk scarf, Jord watch, Antonio Melani booties (all own), and sheath dress c/o Shein

You track the date with your cell phone

Getting used to daylight 24/7 was easy. We never bothered installing shades and additional curtains to darken the bedroom. The 24/7 daylight is very energizing and you may be up at 2 am without even noticing. However, you will notice when it is about 7 pm as around that times the mosquitoes become more aggressive.

#Alaska #travel sunrise and sunset in Interior Alaska
Annual course of sun rise and sun set in Fairbanks, Alaska. Twillight is about two hours. In mid August, enough daylight is lost that there are dark nights again and the aurora can again be seen in clear sky nights

When you take a staycation, no matter whether in summer or winter, you just stand up when you wake up and go to bed when you are fatigue. It doesn’t matter much. There is light 24/7 in summer, and it is dark most of the day in winter anyhow. There are stores in town open 24/7 except Christmas Day. All you need to do is keeping track of the date to come back to work on time.

#fashionover40 woman in winter outfit with booties
Darkness in mid December at 5 pm. Alida nubuk booties c/o coolway styled with own wool knit socks, Snow Touch floral down coat, GNW tight, and structured bag

White nights and dark days impact you when out of state

Interestingly, when you then go somewhere in the mid- or low latitudes in summer where there is day and night, you feel very irritated. Living in high latitudes makes you to associate dark with cold and light with warm.  😉

One gets used to the lack of light in winter, and the surplus of light in summer when living in high latitudes, but being used to it confuses you when traveling to lower latitudes.

You may also be interested in reading about Fairbanks’ fireworks on Independence Day in Alaska or why the New Year’s Eve firework starts at 12am New Year’s Day or moving to Alaska.

Focus Alaska is a series on Alaska lifestyle including insider travel tips, dressing, events, story telling, and all kinds of things that are different in Alaska than in mid-latitudes.

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Photos: G. Kramm

Graphic: N. Mölders

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