Sunday, January 23, 2011


It was -42℉ when I got up at 8:00 a.m. By the time we went for a walk with the dogs, it had warmed up to -40℉ (with a windchill of about -60℉). Alappaa means it's really cold outside! But we are not deterred! It is the day before official sunrise, so we went out to see what we could see.
Let me help you imagine what it takes to get ready to go out in this weather. I donned wind-stopper ski pants, followed by heavy duty fleece pants under my insulated ski pants. This was followed by turtleneck, sweater, fleece vest, goose down sweater, then my parka. Finally put on my insulated Sorel boots, fleece lined scarf for face cover, fleece hat under seal skin hat and seal skin gloves. As you can imagine, it takes a minimum 15 minutes to get all of this gear on to go out (not to mention getting the booties and coats on the dogs!). We "warmed up" the car for 20 minutes before heading out. I use that term lightly as it really wasn't warm at all by the time we left.

My feet are cold!
Climbing the snow mountain at Freshwater Lake

The real story today is the pending sunrise.

My understanding is that today is really a refracted image of the sun; it's not really over the horizon, yet. Tomorrow is the BIG day. Nonetheless, it was an indescribable view, so I took lots of pictures for your viewing pleasure!

Traditional Sled with Modern Sled at CakeEater Rd.

Nights and Lights

Started this last week...
Wow, Husband found this really cool sunrise/sunset calendar site on the Web today. I'm including a clip from the Barrow calendar for January so you can see the day and time the sun comes up and then how many minutes we gain each day for the rest of the month. Sorry, the whole thing doesn't fit in this space, but it's pretty cool. check out the site at:
You can put in your own location, or put in mine to keep up with what's going on here. Once the sun comes up, it comes up with a vengeance and we gain 2 hours and 32 minutes in 7 days. WooHoo!

Meanwhile, "Old Man Winter" is visiting today.  It is fiercely windy (26 MPH, gusting to 32 MPH) and a bit chilly (-15 ℉). With windchill, it's -45℉. Have I adequately impressed you with my meteorological knowledge? Really, I just check out the website (much more often living here than I ever did anywhere else).
We've been treated to some of those famous northern lights, recently. You can't really predict when they're coming even though we have a website that tries to (, so I just make sure I look up whenever I'm outside at night. Got some beautiful pics last week...this with my new digital Nikon CoolPix. I really love this little camera. Small enough to fit in my pocket, but has surprised me with the quality of low light pics it takes.
I may not have mentioned before that we live behind the Arctic Hotel. It isn't currently in operation and it looks like the inspiration for the song, Hotel California, particularly the part where you can check in, but you can't check out. All this to say that the Arctic Hotel is the building on the right in front of the lights.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sun Almost Rises

How many websites do you know of that sport a sign like this? The pending sunrise is a big feels almost like the anticipation just prior to Christmas. Sunrise fever is high here in Barrow with just a week until the big day.
I know you wonder what it's like to live in the darkness for 2 ½ months. Well, here's a's not really dark ALL of the time; just most of the time these past few months.  Since the sun set, we have had civil twilight for several minutes, which is similar to that hour or so just after the sun sets in normal climates. Now that we're only a week away from the BIG day, it's light for longer periods. Also, we have "almost" sunrises every day, now. The best viewing right now is out Clearwater Lake Road. We spent an hour out there today, walking the dogs and marveling at the sky.
It's between noon and 2:00 p.m. that these pictures are taken. It's been relatively warm because the wind is not blowing ferociously. Today it was around -13℉ and quite pleasant though I still wound up with frozen eyelashes. 

See how Raven gets a little white beard after running around? That's what my eyelashes look like at the end of our walk. In the 45 minutes we were out the sky changed dramatically. I took 82 pictures; I kept trying to capture the beauty. I guess you just have to be here to really get the "feel" of the sky, but I'm doing my best to give you a taste. Every day that we have like this, I keep thinking that Barrow is a very well-kept secret. Okay, it's not for everyone, and I'm sure you're thinking it's definitely not for you. However, I can understand why the IƱupiat settled here. 
There is a uniqueness throughout Barrow, as we were reminded yesterday when we made our monthly stop at the gas station. I can hear your gasps from here...yes, it is really only about once a month that we need gas, a little more often in this weather because we need to warm up the car for longer periods. 
Here's a common sight at the gas station...the local kids fueling up before taking off on an adventure. I'm thinking you don't see this at many of your local gas stations. Note they are wearing helmets, though it doesn't appear that they are eligible for driver's licenses!