Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Eve in Alaska

It's been COLD up here. But New Year's Eve does involve braving the elements if you want to watch fireworks, and that what we did. Our friends invited us to their neighborhood sledding/bonfire/fireworks party (see photos of the event here). The kids had a hoot: there was sledding down their street & driveways -a good long way - and being pulled back up the hill by 4-wheelers. The grown-ups drink wine and other libations standing around a big bonfire, and everybody was bundled up enough that you typically did not recognize them until they talked for a while. We watched a great firework display sitting/lying around in the snow. There was a heated garage to take refuge in, with hot chocolate & food.

I personally gave up on the outdoor party and headed back to our friends' house after the fireworks. The clear night sky was just amazingly beautiful: a sliver of a moon, and millions of stars, and later we saw the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) too.

I headed inside on account of cold feet, having given up my second pair of socks to my daughter who only wore one thin pair & got cold, but she just had to stay for more sledding...
I've been noticing lately that my toes just don't hold up like they used to -- maybe I need to dig out those bunny boots we bought when we lived in Fairbanks: they're the funniest looking footwear, but they work! There's an insulating layer of air to help keep your tootsies toasty.

The temperature: it was 8 below zero on the hillside where we were, and 23 below when we crossed the river on the way home, due to the inversion pooling cold air in low places. I know that's nothing if you're from Fairbanks, but for us coastal types this is a cold spell. Yeah, I know I sound like a whimp, but I'm ready for some warmer temperatures, like 20 F: now that's perfect!

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