Thursday, May 4, 2017

Surprised by Spring

As winter started to come to an end here, many people cautioned me that it would be the end of May before the weather would be "nice." With this ringing in my ears, I was prepared for temperatures hovering around the freezing mark for the month of April and most of May. I was expecting nighttime temperatures to be in the 20sF (around -7*C). I braced myself for more snow. I held on to the hope that once the middle of May hit, winter would FINALLY be over. Imagine my surprise when it was hitting 50*F (10*C) by the middle of April and it was no longer necessary to bundle up to go outside. It has been weeks since we last had snow. Here it is the beginning of May and the snow is almost completely gone. This was not what I expected. This is not what I had been told. Break up (known as "spring" in other parts of the country) was supposed to almost as cold and miserable as winter. While it is true there are no leaves on the trees, or even buds for that matter, the pussy willows are out. There are no flowers poking up from the ground, but the geese, swans and sandhill cranes have returned. It is still very brown outside, but I can see swaths of green grass. Spring has come to Interior Alaska, and, like most other experiences I've had in Alaska, it is not what I was expecting at all. 

This was my front yard on March 31

This was my front yard on May 1. The snow is *almost* gone.

There are still small chunks of ice floating down the river.

The pussy willows

I stood in the middle of the river at this exact spot in February and watched the Yukon Quest dog teams go by.

 The locals tell me that the return of the of the birds to Creamers field is a sure sign of spring.

 What a welcome sound and view after a long, long winter.

Sandhill cranes