Spring and Fall in Alaska, you all know by now, are my two favorite seasons. To be honest, they have always been my favorite seasons even in my childhood when I called home the Rocky Mountains in the mining town of Butte, Montana.
I'm pretty sure these became my two favorite seasons because of my father was always telling me that we can keep pulling on more clothes to stay warm but you never can strip enough off to stay cool in the summer! It didn't take long as a youngster to figure out on a scorching hot August day in Montana cutting wood, fencing, trail clearing or whatever the activity for the day was that he was right! However, in the spring, fall and even the winter, you could always just keep pulling on the layers until you got it just right.
In the spring, there seems to be about a 4 to 5 week period when the days get longer but the temps stay cool and the snow is just right for playing on. This is the best, all the benefits of winter without the extreme cold temps. Just the bright sun, the squeaking of the snow under the snowshoes or skis and a long day enjoying mother nature when she is being very pleasant. Along with the longer days of warmth, you start to see signs of life starting to pop all over the landscape. First, you start to see the snow dropping out of the trees releasing the branches of its weight that has held them down all winter. The smell of pine starts to fill the air with the release of the branches and our favorite feathered friends start showing on the branches after their long flights from the South. Then, not long after that, you start to see ice and water in creek beds that has started to slowly trickle down through the snowpack from exposed rocks in the steep alpine terrain. Soon there after, you may be lucky enough to see a bear track from an old sleepy boar emerging from his winter nap. After seeing all these seasonal changes for weeks, suddenly, towards the end of spring, spring often times ends with creeks flowing ice, fiddle ferns breaking through the wilted brown plant life from the summer before, and swans show up on your favorite lake or pond nearby.
Ice fishing is great this time of year! The fish are starting to wake up with the increased sunlight penetrating the ice. The ice shanty actually gets so hot from the sun beating on its black walls that we end up fishing in our t-shirts. The kids start whining that they are to hot and want to take their snow gear off.
The only bad thing I can think of with the arrival spring is having to go clean up all the landmines left by the two Golden Retrievers and a Jack Russel all winter long. But, it comes with the territory if you're going to be a dog lover in Alaska!
Come along with us on a guided snowshoe trip, photography workshop, or guided ice fishing trip and see what I'm talking about! I promise, I won't make you clean up after my dogs, however maybe the kids! ;)
Denali Wilderness Winter Guides