Today’s post began with spotting a beaver paddling downstream on a clear-of-ice Chena River. Mind you, this is the second week in April: we are approaching spring well over a month early. I must tell you this is really not the norm.
While some are still catching glimpses of the northern lights during the darkest hours of night, others are scanning the sky in search for the first goose to fly into Fairbanks. A ritual called the “goose watch” encourages anyone in the interior to call in when they first spy a goose overhead. The local Fairbanks Daily News Miner provided a history of the dates which indicate a trend toward earlier and earlier sightings. This year was the earliest sighting ever–March 30!
Residents have donned shorts and teeshirts, dug out their bikes, raked their partially thawed lawns, and all but sun-bathed. Greenhouses posted opening dates in the newspaper –perhaps to avoid the calls about when starter plants will be available? While walking today I found people fishing along the Chena. No, not ice fishing–but in wide open waters. Are we really being treated to such an early spring?
Yet another uniquely Alaskan event is the Nenana Ice Classic. A tripod is secured to the ice in the middle of the Nenana River; tickets are sold for a specific time when the tripod will tip over into the river due to the melting of ice; the winners are those who guess closest to the actual time the tripod tips. Proceeds from the tickets are given to both the community of Nenana and local Fairbanks charitable organizations. Again, this was the earliest that the tripod went out, April 14th to be exact at 12:21 a.m.
We are all about setting records–most daylight, least daylight–just about any “most extreme” that offers us a chance to boast. I hope you have plans to visit the Great Land in the near future.