Wow, Blogger is allowing high resolution uploads again! I was starting to lose hope and thought I would just give it one more try before bedtime using Firefox instead of Safari.
I've lived in Alaska for over 20 years, mostly in places where the days get a lot shorter than they do in Unalaska, and I think everyone is affected to some extent by the lack of daylight in the winter. With long work hours and few days off, the only daylight I see sometimes is through the window and briefly at lunchtime. It can be tempting to go into "cave mode" in the winter, but those that resist and get outside know that all those favorite summer hikes and activities are still there and waiting. Here are a few keys for staying sane in the winter:
1. Embrace the weather in all its fury. Our temperatures out here don't get low enough to create truly deadly wind chill - and the old adage there is "no bad weather, just bad gear" certainly applies. Walk on the beach and watch the angry Bering Sea and be grateful you have a warm house and hot cocoa to return to after your walk.
2. Be flexible. When Chico and I walked up the backside of Bunker Hill last Friday and I took the above photos, I had completely different ideas of the pictures I wanted to take - it was the biggest full moon of the year, and I was hoping to be able to see it shining over Illiuliuk Bay from the top of the hill. What actually happened was a snow flurry came in as we walked to the top and pretty much blocked any hope of seeing much of anything - but it was still a great dog walk, just not like I planned.
3. Don't be afraid of the dark. With the landscape covered in snow (until the latest melt-off over the last few days) it is never truly dark. For me, the bottom photo lit only by the lights from Unisea and the Small Boat Harbor far below with a 1/8 second exposure is much more visually interesting than using a flash to try to banish the darkness.
4. Try things you can only do in winter. Goldfish and I love snowshoeing and we're looking forward to when we can get some snow that sticks around for awhile. There is also sledding and skiing at the Bowl, bird watching for those species that only winter in the Aleutians, and watching that most exotic temporary resident of all - the Bering Sea crab fleet with their DC circus in tow.