Midsummer in Alaska
Summer solstice is the longest day of the year. To clarify, there are still 24 hours in the day, just the most daylight hours we receive on any given day in the year. And in Alaska, those daylight hours turn into what is known as the midnight sun. Where the sun shines well into the hours of the “night”. So what is it like to celebrate the solstice in Alaska, where and when the sunshine seems endless?
This year on June 21st, the sun broke over the horizon just after 6 am and dropped below the horizon at 9 pm. Although the sun goes below the horizon, there is a consistent amount of “functional daylight” that happens beyond the direct sunrays. In Anchorage there are 22 hours of functionable daylight on the solstice! To put it into perspective, there are almost 14 more hours of daylight on the summer solstice than on the day of the winter solstice in the same location!
With this much sunlight, what is a person to do? Well adventure, explore, and get swept up in the many different festivities that happen on this day. If you find yourself near a city or town, chances are you will be able to find a celebration nearby or stumble into small gatherings. Some places hold all day events with music, food, activities, and music.
Some folks like to take to the outdoors to make the most of this day and connect with all the elements; traveling to glaciers, enjoying a helicopter drop-off, visiting peaks by ATV, going sea kayaking, enjoying camp foods by fire, and so much more. It really depends on the crowd. Some start their day in the valley, navigating to the highest peaks, honoring the journey the sun has taken to reach it’s height. One of the coolest ways we saw to enjoy the solstice was heading out to Glacier Camp on the Matanuska Glacier!
Life is buzzing on the solstice, from the birds, to the bees, to the wild humans, no celebration is in shortage on this day in Alaska. All it takes is a few right turns to nature or a stroll around the block before you run into a celebration of sorts. And sometimes, reveling in the grandeur of Alaska itself is all the celebration you need to enjoy the summer solstice in Alaska.