Today is the longest day of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere. Around the country, people are enjoying the extra daylight, but no one celebrates summer solstice quite like we do in Alaska.
After a long winter, which can feel like it lasts from October to April, we are excited for some much needed vitamin D and to take advantage of all of the amazing summer outdoor activities. Now if only the rain would subside long enough for all of us to enjoy the daylight!
Today the sun rose in Seward at 4:32am and doesn’t set until 11:27pm. That is almost 19 hours of daylight, and even when the sun goes down, it is still light out throughout most of the night. This means you get over 19 hours to explore, get out on the water, take a midnight hike, and celebrate at one of the many festivals and parties around the state. Just make sure to have your blackout curtains ready when it’s time to go to sleep.
Locals and visitors aren’t the only ones that love all of the daylight hours. The wildlife and vegetation in Alaska comes alive this time of year. From whales to bears, and grasses to flowers, everyone utilizes the extra sunlight as much as possible. The long daylight hours create nutrient rich waters for whales, such as the North Pacific Humpback Whale, to feed in throughout the summer. Bears use the opportunity to forage on the bountiful berries around the state. Alaska’s favorite flower, fireweed, also quickly cultivates this time of year. Fireweed requires a lot of sunlight, and the fuchsia colored flowers can be seen all over the sides of the Seward Highway.
Solstice Festivals take place all over the state to celebrate summer solstice. Last weekend we celebrated at the Moose Pass Solstice Festival just outside of Seward. This weekend you can choose from dozens of different events in Anchorage and around the Kenai Peninsula.
Beginning Thursday, we will start to lose just a little bit of daylight each day. But Seward will still have more daylight hours than anywhere in the lower 48 until late September.