It’s June 21st, and aside from my cousin’s birthday, the coming of summer rarely catches my attention. But in Anchorage, Alaska, the longest day of the year makes time for celebration, specifically 19 hours and 22 minutes of it.
Ever since moving to Alaska on June 10th, the long days have continually surprised me. Although I expected the extra sunlight, I pictured my plane landing at 10pm in darkness. Coming out of a movie at 11pm, the bright sun felt out of place.
Despite some chilly winds and scattered showers, downtown Anchorage hosted a great solstice festival last Saturday. The city teemed with shoppers and vendors, a band with enthusiastic headbanging, and an exciting girls roller derby. The festivities move outside of downtown and continue today with a mountain top circus.
Thankfully, I don’t need to fight the crowds on solstice to experience the great Alaskan wilderness. My Seeds of Success training with the Alaska Natural Heritage Program takes me outside nearly every day to get us acquainted with Alaskan plants. Our first foray into flora was in Chugach State Park. Twisted hemlocks graced each bend, while wild blueberry bushes coated the ground. The glacially-carved valley presented the perfect picture of Alaska.
Potters Marsh, the coastal trail, Goose Lake, and the Campbell Strip received visits from our group, too, and each introduced us to new and varied arctic vegetation. And when we aren’t hiking through the woods or spying moose on our bikes, we’re planning exciting new adventures. Seeds in Fairbanks, Nome, and Glennallen better be worried. We have plenty of daylight to snatch ’em all.
-Dan Brickley, BLM, Anchorage, AK