Seasons in Alaska are different than seasons in other places. Our winter is anything but typical. Some years we are buried in record amounts of snow and some years we have rain in December. Our winter does always mean lots of darkness as the sun barely peaks out over the mountains on some days. Winter means it is time to be prepared for whatever may come. Shovels and gloves are kept handy. Blankets and boots are kept in the car, just in case, but with the hope they are never needed. The white snow that blankets Alaska in winter is beautiful, as are the frost covered trees. Winter in Alaska looks like the white Christmas pictured on Christmas cards.
Our spring means melting snow. Alaskan’s know this season as “break up” because this is when the ice breaks up and begins to melt. Children wear their break up boots (water boots) and go stomping in puddles. The temperatures are into the 40s during the day, although they sometimes still dip below freezing at night. Alaskan’s will be seen wearing t-shirts and no jackets, as the 40 degree weather feels much warmer than the subzero temperatures that often accompany winter. The Dark Song mentions the ice breaking apart and drifting in the Bering Sea. The Nenana Ice Classic is also a part of spring in Alaska, as people guess when the ice will break apart and tickets are sold to those who dare back their guess with money.
Summer is the highlight of the Alaska seasons. The long days bring endless hours of outdoor fun. Late night BBQs at local parks and midnight fishing are not uncommon in Alaska under the midnight sun. The temperatures are warm and the sun is appreciated after the dark winter. Alaskans declare a heat wave when the temperatures are above 80 degrees! Softball games, sunburns, and sprinklers are part of Alaska’s summer season.
Fall is usually a short season in Alaska. Farms and gardens are harvested and the state fair comes to Palmer. Livestock and giant vegetables are entered into various competitions. The leaves begin to change slowly at first and then very quickly they are gone. As the rain and wind come in we know that winter is right around the corner.