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Very Fine Dance Shoes sandals, studded headband, Hermes collier de chien bangle, leaf earrings, DIY bag, Paloma Picasso sunglasses (all own), sun protective leopard print pants and top c/o Coolibar

This post describes life, dressing and more in Interior Alaska in August where many things are quite different than in midlatitudes. Not only the lack of dog days.

Contents
  1. No Dog Days in Alaska
  2. Weather in Interior Alaska in August
  3. When the Midnight Sun Shines 84 Days …
  4. … You Barely Switch on the Lights
  5. Nights, Aurora and Street Lights Have a Comeback
  6. August Means Fall and Harvest
  7. Finishing Summer Projects
  8. Back to School, But Not for All Students
  9. The State Fair Typically Has Fair Weather
  10. Fall Rains Bring the Mushroom Season
  11. Types of Mushrooms Growing in Interior Alaska
  12. Social Distance Is the Norm Most of the Year
  13. Life in Alaska in August in a Nutshell

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Important note: Terms indicated with * are explained in the High Latitude Style Glossary.

No Dog Days in Alaska

August brings the hot heat of summer in mid-latitudes and the challenge of dressing for the dog days. There is this running joke

Alaska has four seasons, June July, August and winter. #Alaska #lifestyle Click To Tweet

In Interior Alaska, August is the rain season. This means flip flops and rain gear at the beginning of the month. The heat low over the Interior, Yukon Territory, and Northwest Territory weakens in August and low pressure systems make their way into the mainland. Between low pressure systems, the moisture and still long insolation yields thunderstorm formation. While the rain extinguishes some wildfire, lightening strikes may still cause new ones. Wildfires are a natural landscape evolution mechanism of the Taiga.

 

Weather in Interior Alaska in August

The high cloudiness, humidity and notably shorter days as time progresses mean that temperature goes down as well. When it rains, it is cool. Sometimes flip flops go and you wear your rain boots. At the end of August, temperature drops to uncomfortable values as now darkness at night lasts several hours. Then, even the first night frost may occur. Thus, Alaskan women have not to worry about how to look professional at a work meeting during the dog days.

It unbelievable that in the land where there are more dogs than humans there are no dog days. #Alaska #curiosa Click To Tweet

Obviously, in the Interior dressing in August is quite different from what people wear in mid-latitudes. At the beginning of the month, a sun-protective jumpsuit like the LOTD is appropriate. A light knit jacket is needed by the middle of the month (see green-brown outfit later in this post). Coats or jackets and pantyhose are a Must by the end of the month (see black look later in this post). See my Alaska August lookbook for more looks.

style blogger in black and white leopard print pants and top

stylist in leopard print wide trousers and sleeveless top, white sandals

over 50 years old fashion blogger in hot summer day pants and shirt weekend outfit

stylist sitting on a rock in the heat of summer
Very Fine Dance Shoes sandals, studded headband, Hermes collier de chien bangle, leaf earrings, DIY bag, Paloma Picasso sunglasses (all own), sun protective leopard print pants and top c/o Coolibar

 

Never worry again what to wear when. Just look it up in my style book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy the book now.

 

When the Midnight Sun Shines 84 Days …

Imagine to live in a land with about 84 white nights with daylight followed by cutting about five to ten minutes every day after that until winter solstice. During those 84 days, you won’t need light, right? May be once in a while during a thunderstorm, but otherwise you walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night, not switching on the lights. Even the light in the fridge or oven is unneeded.

diagram showing the time of sunrise and sunset in Interior Alaska
Annual course of sun rise and sun set in Fairbanks, Alaska. Twilight 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

 

 

… You Barely Switch on the Lights

Of course during that time, the few times you actually switch on the lights, by accident or because a thunderstorm rolls thru town, bulbs die and you would not even notice. With a sudden in August, you need to switch on the lights when heading to the bathroom at night. OMG, no light! Or may be just one bulb left. Even worse when it happens in your walk-in closet! 😉 It’s like dressing in the dark during an outage.

I am talking about real light bulbs, the one forbidden now in Germany, formerly sold as heat bulbs. The ones that have not toxic stuff in them. This year, we replaced 17 bulbs! We first had to make a stop at the store. 😉

Alaskans call exchanging broken bulbs “celebrating the day of lights.”

 

Nights, Aurora and Street Lights Have a Comeback

In mid August, enough daylight is lost that there are dark nights again and the aurora can again be seen in clear sky nights. It was there all summer, but during daylight you can’t see it. You only notice that the aurora is there because it disturbs your cell phone. More on the aurora formation and its impacts.

Also the street lights turn on again even when there is no dark thunderstorm. You bring your car to the shop to have the tires exchanged and to replace broken bulbs. While it’s the law to drive with head lights on, in town many don’t. However, comes the dark season, head lights are needed. Otherwise you only need them for safety when traveling unpaved roads, and to not get into trouble with the police.

 

August Means Fall and Harvest

In mid August, the first leave start turning yellow and the vegetation season winds down The fireweed that blossomed in pink in July and turned the last year’s burned areas into a pink sea of flowers starts to build the seeds. Once they pop the seeds will fly in cotton-like packages. There is a saying that when that

When the fireweed seeds fly, the first flurries are just 6 weeks away.

August is the season for berry picking and collecting mushrooms. The berries have to be prepared for the freezer or be turned into jam.

berry picking Alaska raspberries
Alaska wild raspberries are much smaller than the mid latitude variety and they taste less sweet and more sour

 

Those Alaskans, who have a vegetable garden have to harvest and conserve their vegetables and fruits. When weather allows, they procrastinate as long as they can. Not because so much else is to do in August, but to take full advantage of the growing season. When frost is in the forecast, gardeners inform each other via social media, phone calls or texting. They cut the flowers and put them in vases and harvest the potatoes, carrots or whatever is still in the soil. At the end of the day, there are green tomatoes all over the kitchen counter. Read more on what Alaskans grow in their yards.

 

Alaska grown potatoes
From left to right: Red potatoes, Russian fingerlings in pink, yellow and white, not sorted yet, black potatoes, not sorted yet

Finishing Summer Projects

Since the first flurries can fly already in mid September, people also get very busy between frontal passages to finish their outside house maintenance projects. Moreover, windows, doors, and pipes have to be made winter-proof.

Back to School, But not for All Students

Most students go back to school in mid-August except of students from boarding schools. Boarding school students return to school after the hunting season (September) so they can help their parents with hunting, butchering and smoking. Thus, their school year is a bit off. This means they graduate about 2-3 weeks later than most students, right in time for the onset of the fishing season.

style blogger in green end of summer dress with knir jacket

over 50 years old Fairbanks woman in dress with cardigan

Alaskan blogger in green print dress

midlife woman in posh print dress
Interior late summer  work outfit: Karina Dresses dress, Gucci bag, Moda International cardigan, Hermes Medor watch (all own), and wood Musse & Cloud sandals c/o Coolway

 

 

The State Fair typically Has Fair Weather

On top of all the busy work to get Alaska grown food into storage, and finishing up projects, many fairs take place at various places in Alaska. The fairs provide Alaskans not only with entertainment like ferry wheels, carousels, music, concerts, dance shows, animal shows, and various competitions, but also with food to-go, clothes, machinery, art work, jewelry and Alaska harvest products.

 

Alaska wood and stone carved artwork
Example of art work. Stone and wood carved circle of the five directions displaying hunting and fishing

 

Of course, everyone wants to spend at least a day at the fair. Tickets are sold for entrance. When you use some of the entertainment equipment like the ferry wheel, you have to pay for the rides. Some people go to the fair on several days, i.e. buy several tickets, because they want to see certain shows or attend different competitions, for instance, Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars. Some shows, concerts and other events, and of course competitions are done just on one day of the fair.

 

 

midlife woman in posh chic cardigan with lace skirt

mature woman in black separates

midlife woman in chic lace skirt and knit top
Outfit worn towards the end of the month (with a coat in the morning and evening): eShakti lace skirt, Moda International sweater, August silk cardigan, L.K. Bennett pumps, pantyhose, multiple pearl necklaces (all own), wooden watch c/o Jord and Akoya single string pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source

 

For many rural Alaskans the fair is a great opportunity to sell their homemade products like art and bead work, buttons made from caribou antlers, beaded mukluks, wool or fur mittens, qiviut sweaters, scarves, and hats, home-made kuspuks*, and hunting trophies like antlers, stuffed dale sheep, moose, or caribou heads, fur, or whalebone. You can also buy smoked salmon and other delicious products made of salmon. Miners offer raw gems or when they collaborate with jewelers or work both professions jewelry made of their finds.

Of course, once in town, they stock up on non-perishable food and other products that are much more expensive – when available at all – at their local general store.

 

 

Fall Rains Bring the Mushroom Season

August is the end of summer in Interior Alaska and the onset of the rain season. It seems to rain 24/7 with small interruption. These August rains bring flood (watching) and beautiful green lawns. Mushrooms of all kind pop out all over the yards and in the boreal forest which replaces the smell of the summer smoke by a moldy smell. The air is full of spores that sometimes it stinks like everything is moldering.

Last year’s fire scars provide a favorable environment for morels. Many Alaskans drive out to these areas to collect morels, which only grow on these areas. However, it is hard to predict which fire scar will have them. Of course, people keep their secrets. They sell the morels at the farmers market at high price. Many Alaskans also gather bolete and dry them to eat them later.

 

 

Types of Mushrooms Growing in Interior Alaska

A couple of years ago, we had a king bolete in our yard. This mushroom is also known as porcino in Italy and cep in France. In our yard, there are currently 7 different kinds of mushrooms (see the collage for some of them). In some years, we even have some fly agarics. The squirrels seem to like them, and obviously, can eat them more than one time. 😉 I have seen them several times picking them. They also pick the brown ones in the collage below.

 various mushrooms that grow in Alaska
Alaska mushrooms

 

We always have many of these gemmed puffballs, which I don’t like. When they are done, they are just like a dark chocolate skin with a whole at the top when looked at from the outside. However, when you touch them with your shoes or the lawn mover, they push out a black cloud of spores. This powder cloud is very concentrated and reaches about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) high. When you wear Converse, Keds or Vans or this stuff hits your pants they are ready to go into the laundry!

 

 

Social Distance Is the Norm Most of the Year

You probably wonder why Alaskans don’t skip going to the fair when their calendar is so full of very important and time sensitive work to be done? The fair is about meeting old friends. It attracts people from all over Alaska – people you only may see once or twice a year. It’s a meeting place. The fiddlers and those Alaskans who like to dance to fiddle music, for instance, won’t miss the day of the fair when the fiddlers play. They make friends there of whom they know they will not see them again before another big event that draws a lot of fiddlers to come into town. The ballroom dancers won’t miss the competition of Dancing with The Fairbanks Stars.

Warmup for Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars
Warming up for the afternoon show on the fairground with the event tent in the background

 

 

Life in Alaska in August in a Nutshell

At the Last Frontier, August weather, life and dressing are quite different from what you know from mid-latitudes like Germany, France, the Netherlands, or the Lower 48s. No wonder that Alaskan women only worry about what to pack for a summer business trip when they go out of state.

The busy schedule of finishing outdoor home projects, harvesting, preparing the house for winter, changing tires in preparation for the first snow and a full entertainment schedule plus preparing for the hunting season in September stresses people out. Thus, you often hear them saying that they can’t wait to get their lives back.

If you enjoyed this post, let your friends know too

See what August means in Alaska. #Alaska #rainseason Click To Tweet

Would you enjoy August in Alaska? Let me know, I am curious.

P.S. Still wonder about the funny featured photo? I wanted to sit down on the rock and hadn’t seen that it has a slope to the other side. And my husband hadn’t seen it coming.  🙂

When you liked this post you may like to read about Alaska weeds you can eat.

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Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2021 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. nicole! love the outfit! and so glad you put some movement into the pants to see what the shape is!!…and i have to admit, I was so worried abut your white shoes in the rocks!!
    xo eva

  2. Jodie

    This is so different from our life here in AZ. I loved reading this,
    XOXO
    Jodie

  3. thestylesplash

    That’s a fabulous co-ord Nicole! I love the frill hem on the trousers!

    Emma xxx

  4. donnadoesdresses

    Thank you for sharing life in Alaska as it is so different from life here on the south east coast of Australia. I’m glad you didn’t hurt yourself when you fell off that rock! All of your outfits look great and it certainly like your have a great life over there!!
    Donna 🧚🏻‍♀️❤️🐝

  5. Angie

    Nicole, this is absolutely fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing Alaskan experiences. – Angie

Comments are closed.