Seasons in Alaska

Table of Contents
  1. Winter
  2. Spring Thaw
  3. Summer
  4. Fall

I have lived in Ohio, West Texas, Louisiana, and now Alaska. I have always loved watching one season fade into the next, but seasons in Alaska, bring somewhat magical season changes for me.

seasons in Alaska
Our backyard

Winter

Winter in Alaska has quite a reputation, depending on what part of the state you are in. It alaso depends on who you ask as well!

Winter does come with its own set of challenges. But, for me, winter is still the most magical time of the year, even with the sub-zero temps that our particular area gets. It’s a good thing I like it so much because it is, without a doubt, the longest season, we have in the Copper River Basin.

Days are short in the dead of winter for us, but not as short as our neighbors who live further north. Winter Solstice is on December 21 and is our shortest day of the year giving us just a tad bit over 5 hours of daylight from sunrise to sunset.

Ever wonder how you can find out what part of the state is getting what amount of daylight hours? Alaska.org has a great tool that you can use by clicking here! If the town you are looking for is not listed, choose the closest town in the same area and what month you want to research!

Here are a few of my favorite winter things that I enjoy:

The views of the Alpenglow that stretch across the mountains.
The pastel colors that dance across the sky.
The Northern Lights.
The bright colors of your favorite dog team standing out against the race trail.
Halos & Sundogs being formed from the ice crystals in the air.
Shooting stars.
Frozen waterfalls.
Wildlife.
The sun glistening off the snow. (When the sun is up)
Moose tracks in the snow.
The sound of the crunch of the snow beneath my boots.

Spring Thaw

Spring thaw, otherwise known as break up season or mud season, is messy, but it’s also when everything comes back to life.

It’s exciting!

At this point in the year, even for those who are the most avid lovers of winter, are ready for a change! 6+ months of snow on the ground is enough at this point.

The days have gotten longer and Mother Nature has started to crackle warming up, cooling down, and then warming up again. The snow and ice start to melt and expose the ground below once again, and the frozen waterfalls start to burst loose and flow again.

The anticipation of summer activities and chores start going through your head.

After some time, the mud dries up and the browns start turning to green, and then you wait for the colors to burst out for summer.

seasons in Alaska
This squirrel enjoyed barking at us once he realized we were so close to him.

The pictures below were taken in April and May of 2020.

Summer

Summer comes and goes quickly around here. You have plenty of hours in the day to work with during this time of the year. The days are long and everyone is busy.

Everything has come to full life at this point. The bees are buzzing, flowers are blooming, rivers are flowing. Fishing season is also in full swing, and fishwheels are turning.

I don’t think anyone really notices the lack of sleep we all get. Summer Solstice brings our area the longest day of the year with just shy of 20 hours of daylight between sunrise and sunset. We have civil twilight the rest of the night in June and part of July however, so it never gets completely dark.

Fall

Fall comes with all sorts of changes. You can feel that winter is close as the clouds start to change, and days get visibly shorter. You start feeling the chill in the air as the leaves are now changing colors and you know the race is on before winter descends on you.

The activities of fall include berry picking, hunting and watching for termination dust as the snow on the high peaks start moving further and further down the mountains.

Being able to smell the fresh air and disconnect from the news and your phone—there’s nothing like it.

Jason Ward

The colors are truly beautiful

Termination Dust
First round of termination dust. View from the front porch in September 2020

Just like that, winter starts rolling in again… my favorite time of year!

It’s an experience I’d definitely recommend to any nature lover!

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