Friday, December 19, 2008

This and That in Interior Alaska

Today is December 19th 2008. Big day tomorrow in Fairbanks. We will be celebrating the winter equinox downtown complete with caroling,
Events include
Window Decorating Competition
Gingerbread Man Chase
Rudolph the Real Reindeer
Fireworks over the Chena River

This sounds almost as exciting as the mother daughter look alike contest I attended in Nenana during their Ice Classic. More on this exciting event in a later post.

My wife and I plan on attending tomorrow nights event, and hopefully I can take some meaningful pictures for a future post. The most important thing is the fireworks. Reminds me of when I first arrived here. I was listening to the radio and the announcer was all excited that she was going to the lower 48 during the 4th of July. And for the first time, she would see fire works on the Fourth of July when it is dark! Without that pesky sun being in the way.

One thing I would like to discuss is the animal life here in the Interior during the winter.

During the summer this place is bountiful with wild life, especially the birds. I used to drive 50 miles to Grand Island, Nebraska, just to see some Sand Hill Cranes. Here all I have to do is look across the river and see them grazing in the grass.

From our home in the winter, the only wild life we see are moose, chickadee (see picture), ravens, and once in a while the occasional resident squirrel, Rocky. I am sure there is more out there, for I do see the occasional rabbit, in their winter coat, run across the road.

Now in the summer, we have seen from our home, porcupine, coyote, fox, ducks, Great Horned Owls, mink, otter, beaver and the winter residents.

One other animal we get here starting in December through March is tourist. Yep you heard me right tourist! This year we expect about 7000 visitors from Japan. This started in 2004 and has increased every year since then. Japan Airlines (JAL) fly’s a direct flight from Japan to Fairbanks. The reason is the tourist comes here to see the Northern Lights.

Starting in December to March, we get little cloud cover which makes viewing of the Northern Lights ideal. Here is a good post on why the Japanese are fascinated with the lights and why it is just starting to take off. This article was written in 2007.

Oh one more thing, by the official count at the airport we have 28.2 inches of snow, 6” below normal. And right now it is -10 degrees. And we received a moderate snow fall in the past 7 days. Monday, I tried to capture our snow fall. If you look at this picture you can see in the background the white in the atmosphere, which is our snow. It comes down as a single or two or three flakes combined together. Very fine snow.

Well that’s about it for now. Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas. Looks like a lot of you will have a white Christmas in the lower 48 with all that snow, ice and wind. Better up here where you are all welcomed

The Misses and I will be having dinner at Two Rivers Lodge