09 January 2009

A New Day

For the first time this year I noticed that the days are once again getting longer. Days getting warmer will come, but not for a while so I will be happy with the sun. When we were first married I traveled a great deal for my work. During that time I went to Alaska twice.
The first time was in early December. I looked like Nanook of North. I struggled on to the plane all layered up with a huge climbing pack of hubbys crammed full of long johns, wool socks, and sweaters pillaged from friends and family. (I lived in Colorado at that point and there was rarely a need to own such items.) I was in Anchorage and dawn began at about 11:00 and a couple of hours the dim day would turn to twilight then darkness by 2:30. I arrived late in the day so the hotel's cafe was closed. I decided to venture across the street to the grocery store I could see from the lobby. I was about to walk out the door when the lady behind the counter said, "I wouldn't go out there dressed like that if I were you." I looked at here with disbelief verging on obstinance. I was wearing so many layers I felt like poor little Randy from The Christmas Story. She quickly continued,"You will get frost bite if you don't cover your face. I have a mask you can borrow if you like." It seemed a little silly but I took the mask then stomped out the door. Then it hit me! I have never felt cold like that. I think it was about twenty or twenty five below zero with a little breeze. I wasn't ten feet out the door and felt like I had been hiking for half a day and my destination was still so far away! I think it took about twenty five minutes to cross both parking lots but by the time I got there my toes and fingers were numb, and my lips chapped and cracked-justlikethat. I think I spent the rest of the time in the hotels bar drinking hot toddies with some Shriner's who were also staying there. Yeah, no pictures of this one (thank goodness!)
My second trip was in February and was quite different. Still Anchorage, and still mostly dark (dawn at about ten and twilight at about three or four in the afternoon). I had also packed more appropriate clothes and I had a co-worker with me.
The temperature was closer to zero, but it felt perfectly comfortable since I had the memory of 25 below seered in my memory banks. We drove down to Seward stopping to look at Glaciers and a dog sled ride (of course!) Hubby is much more experienced with colder temps and snowy weather having grown up in New England. He was (and is) a good climber and will hike/camp any time of the year. He is a warm body and doesn't seem to chill easily. He is loving ski patrol, and can outski everyone I have ever met with the exception of one friend's sister who hangs out with people on the US Olympic Ski Team.
Since we moved to NH I have developed a full appreciation for the seasons and enjoy winter activities like ice skating, cross country, tubing, and hubby loves skiing. Of course, fleece lined jeans from LL Bean help a great deal! ;-) Art headed off for ski patrol at 7:30 this morning when the temperature was about 8 degrees. I imagine he will be home around 10:30 tonight with aching muscles and a huge smile on his face!
For the second year in a row we will be heading to North Conway for a ski week over Art's birthday. He likes Wildcat and they let you ski free on your birthday. My parsimonious hubby just loves that! The ice sculptures, and skating are my favorites up there.

My hope it to make it to Quebec City this winter. Hubby had a great time with our Canadian friends during Carnaval last year. If it's all the same I will stick to Alaska in the summer though! :-)


nikkicrumpet said...

My brother lives in Wasilla and he thinks nothing of those -20 degree days...I guess you eventually get used to it. Having lived here in New England for 8 years now I can truly say I NEVER want to get used to winter...I want it to Globally warm so that it's summer year round! I HATE the cold. I'm glad you've found a way to enjoy the winter months...for me It's a warm fire and a cuddly blanket! I did enjoy your pictures though! Snow is pretty in pictures!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I was in Anchorage last February, and I had forgotten what cold feels like. Brrr! And I don't think it even got as cold as zero while I was there...I'm just a Californian now. :)

Lisa said...

Oh my goodness. I am so glad you visited me at Cranberry Flats, thanks so much by the way. I have HAVE to come back to visit longer when I can. Your pictures are amazing! I had an aunt and uncle who lived in Anchorage for a few years they loved it. Such a beautiful place. I'll be back, come visit any time.

Uncivil said...

I was born in Anchorage back in 57 when it was just a US Territory!LOL!
Want to visit someday, but i think it would be fun to just visit from a cruise ship maybe?

Renna said...

Shannon, I LOVE your life!!!

EXSENO said...

Those are some great pictures. I always enjoy your pic's.