This photo was taken when I first arrived at the end of July. It was cooler than I remember it being last year, in the 40s and 50s. Before September we even had a few nights that dropped below freezing. Still it was very pleasant although there was some rain leading up to Mom and Dad’s visit.
They managed to time it right though because that day was the first clear day in over a week. They had some lovely views on the flight in. Fields of red and gold from the trees and blueberry fields scattered across the landscape. It was hard for them to believe that just 2 weeks earlier all had been green and lush.
They flew in on Saturday to high 60s and low 70s, just as the leaves and colors were their most vibrant. By Friday when I got the moose, less than a week later, the temperature dropped to 30s and 40s and we had our first snow of the year. It has since been snowing every few days in the mornings and occasionally into the afternoon, though nothing has lasted long yet.
On their flight home they were very surprised to find the colors primarily gone. There was still a good deal of green from the evergreens but there was almost no yellow. The leaves that had greeted them on their way in, in just over a week had vanished.
This is the way the seasons go in the arctic. We have a long, fairly warm summer. In a week of two the leaves change then in less than a week all fall off. Temperatures fall from the 60s to the 30s in a week and from their it is true ‘fall.’ The temperatures continue to fall for a month or two until we start winter in earnest. I would say winter starts the first time the mercury dips below 0. Then we have months of cold and dark. Cold and dark is our longest season. Winter is as bad as all the stories and maybe this is the reason it is my favorite time of year. I hope latter in the year to post some of the winter fun.
After winter comes slush break up. In March or April he temperature climbs in a week or two from -20 to 40s and 50s which feels like a heat wave. Kids start running around in t-shirts and shorts running through the flooding streets and slushy snow. The ice breaks about a two months latter. Last year it was just before our last week of school in the beginning of May.
From there as the ice finishes melting the rivers and lakes rise and the tundra becomes a swampy soggy sponge. The mosquitoes come out in spades and the animals begin to come out again. Then the summer returns and we have looooong days which warm up gradually and with the end of school kids as well as adults find it difficult to go to sleep at any specific time.
Below are some pictures that illustrate the speed of some of these changes.
Time between photos 10 days.
The day after Mom and Dad left.
All of these were on the trees when Mom and Dad came. In one week they all fell off.