21 June 2022

June Twenty-Oneth

Good morning, all.

It's the summer solstice, which is a big deal up here. With some 24 hours of visible light, the mid-summer activities are in full swing. 

In Fairbanks, 300 miles farther north, the annual Solstice baseball game will throw its first pitch at midnight (go figure!). 

North of the Arctic Circle, some 500 miles from here, the sun will not set. In Fairbanks, 200 miles south of the Circle, the sun barely sets. Here in the greater Anchorage area, we'll have about 90 minutes of dusk between 2:15 and 3:45, when the sun begins rising again. The sun dips just below the horizon, but it's not very far away.

There are sports events, walks, meetings, and various other gatherings to commemorate the longest day. It's what we wait for all year: dreaming about summer's long days helps keep us going through the short (5 hrs or less) days in December. 

And wonder of wonders, it's to be sunny today. Too often, it's completely overcast when we need clear skies the most.

* * * * *

We're having one of the driest summers on record, despite how green everything looks. The heavy snows left water down deep where the tree roots drink, but the ground vegetation getting brittle. And the Department of Conservation reports that over 1,000,000 acres have burned already. I'm guessing that won't make the evening news anywhere else. 

And now for some fun: Two Alaskan pilots recently completed an old-time aviation adventure of their own. Dr. Michael McNamara and Mark Barker picked up a 1929 Travel Air in Kenosha, Wisconsin. What followed was a seven-day trip flying the open cockpit biplane back to Alaska. It sounds like a grand adventure but it had to take some courage too.