Next Stop: Alaska… in winter?!

January 9, 2016 | by Ken

Christmas in Alaska. Fairbanks, to be exact. Some friends asked if we were taking a cruise; others asked if we’d see polar bears. Then they’d pause and think about it. Fairbanks. It’s inland. It’s cold. It’s dark.

“Why are you going to Alaska in December?”

The main reason? To see our friends Chris and Angie, of course! They traveled with us to Peru and met us on the last leg of our world tour in China. Before all that, we had visited them in Fairbanks for the summer solstice in 1999, when the sun never set.

Now, we would be present for the winter solstice in 2015, when the sun strains to peek above the horizon before giving up the ghost and beginning its descent.

Here’s a time lapse view from our hotel room. Note the clock in the lower left corner- the daylight goes fast.

When you have a small sliver of daylight, you make good use of it. One day, dog sledding!

The next, examining ice sculptures!

Plus, we crashed Chris’ work holiday party, toured Angie’s office, drank too much wine and beer, ate too much food, joined a family for Christmas caroling, slid into a snowbank on the way home, got pulled out of the snowbank by a guy whose shirt had Christmas lights sewn into it, flew a flight simulator, and played with feisty felines Reachy and CeCe Dangercat.

Karen couldn’t resist cooking, so we dined on homemade lomo saltado (Chris’ favorite Peruvian dish) and okonomiyaki (my favorite Japanese dish).

Chris prepares for some muy bueno lomo soltado


Alas, my one regret was that we wouldn’t see the Northern Lights. The time of year was right, but the weather forecast called for cloudy skies, which would obscure the faint display.

Then again, since when can they predict the weather? Maybe there’s hope… stay tuned!