Low Temp: -6
Sunrise: 10:40 am
Sunset: 2:46 pm
We’re down to about 4 hours of daylight, but it’s only another two weeks until we can have a solstice party and celebrate the returning light!
And, as for the above reference to Collin, don’t panic. He hasn’t left permanently!
In the early days of angst--wondering just how we’d spend the dark winter months without divorcing or causing each other bodily harm--Collin sent a few resumes around for some wintertime flying work. While he was in Colorado last week, he got a job offer from Grant Aviation for a two-weeks-on/two-weeks-off gig that he will do until he goes back to work for the smokejumpers in April. So rather than come home from Colorado, he changed his return ticket to fly to Anchorage for training, then he’s off to Bethel, Alaska where he’ll be based, flying people, supplies, whatever between tiny, remote and (primarily) Native villages. Bethel is out there, reachable by only air or river. At 6,000 people, it’s the 9th largest city in Alaska, and is the heart of the region known as the “YK Delta” (Yukon-Kuskokwim river deltas). We have boroughs instead of counties here, and Bethel is in the, I kid you not, Unorganized Borough. Good luck with all of THAT, Collin!
As for me, this week I started volunteering at a couple of different places: Fairbanks Hospice Service and the Pioneer Senior Home. In between, I am staying busy keeping the dog walked, the home fires burning (literally), the larder stocked with food, the sidewalk shoveled, the cars running, overseeing the Denver rentals, organizing a Parkwest tour for next year, etc, etc. On the social scene, I’ve been to a variety of things: comedy shows, the Fairbanks Symphony Christmas concert, the play Endurance, a day trip out to Chena Hot Springs with a dozen ladies for a hot soak and lunch, and more. It’s all good—just cold—and dark. And I feel like I’m trailing behind the rest of the world, time-wise. For instance, I get the New York Times afternoon e-updates and hear the NYSE’s closing bell numbers in the late morning. I mean, the sun just barely came up and you East Coasters are going out for Happy Hour!
But when Collin is here, we should have some serious wintertime fun—flying! New friends Sterling and Krista are spending the next 3 months picking coffee beans and spear fishing in Hawaii. Lucky us: we’ve been left in charge of their Cessna 170/180-hp on skis! Of course, with limited daylight, and the l-e-n-g-t-h-y preflight process this climate demands, we won’t be going on any long flights, but…STILL! ☺
Other pending activities for the winter include snowshoeing (thank you, Diane!), bonfires with neighbors on the frozen river, ice festivals, and dog sled races. I keep hearing that I should try skijoring with Luna, but she and I haven’t discussed it yet.
We spent a fun Thanksgiving with our friends Keitha and Brent, along with their kids and a bunch of other Alaskans. Probably like many of you, we ate too much, and it was mostly delicious. I’m not sure what we’ll be doing on Christmas day, but I know on New Year’s Eve we’ll be watching the fireworks show that occurs then--instead of the 4th of July--since it will be good and dark.
Next month we will travel the 4000-plus miles to enjoy some warmth and sun and humidity at our Florida timeshare in Kissimmee. Colorado friends Dave and Cheri will join us for much of the week, and we’ll also squeak in visits to see friends and family in Venice and Bonita Springs.
So that’s pretty much my update from Fairbanks, Alaska! Come visit—anytime! ☺