We all long for the sun, and we say it every winter, and we know what winter is like here in Girdwood. After so many days of grey, and rain, and warming trends, Glacier Valley is truly feeling like its lost in the clouds. I hear from folks that come to Girdwood from Anchorage that it is colder there, and a little more sun shines in the bigger city. Today, I drove to Anchorage just as the sun was rising. There was a little bit of cloud cover, but not too dense. After completing my few first missions in the big city, wow, there was the big sun! Bright sun and blue sky with a few little whispy clouds. It is typical mid winter, nice crisp air, snow still on the ground. And the weather is not too untypical, except for the lack of snow in Girdwood. But once I stepped into that bright sun light, my skin warmed, and the synapses fired to remind me what I had been missing for nearly a month.
It never ceases to amaze me that around just a few bends, usually not even an hour away, the weather can swing one-hundred and eighty-degrees! That is one aspect of what makes this state, this geography so intriguing. The mountains divide space up so well, creating their own environments. Of course Anchorage receives so much more sun that Girdwood because the larger city is open to the south and west. Girdwood, on the other hand, is snuggled up to Mt. Alyeska and Max’s Mountain which block most of the winter sun. Old Girdwood is quite a sunny spot year around due to its openness out to the water. That proximity to the water lent it to the beautiful frost coverage earlier in the winter.
For now, all of Girdwood will remain just below freezing. All the running water had frozen over this morning and remained so all day. Driveways, parking lots and sidewalks are thick ice. Remember to wear your ice cleats. According to the forecasts, it looks like there might be a day or two of warm air again this week. There are still ice falls along the Seward Highway. The ice falls have been evaporating as the winter has gone on due to the wind and warmer temperatures. If you concentrate, you can see a hint of peach from the sunset on the face of this ice fall.
Not everyone has the ability to run into Anchorage regularly. So for now, enjoy this sunset and know there is more to come, just around the bend.