Last week, on February 9th, I woke up in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Peering out the window of Room 225 at the Marriott Springhill Suites in downtown Fairbanks, this was the view just before 9 am local time.
It is light outside. The birds are flying and the city is slowly springing into action. After a very late night, I’m trying to wake up and get out and explore Fairbanks.
I filmed a quick little video of the view. A police car goes by.
I put on all of my many layers, and my new down parka.
My friend James and I head out for a walk. Our goal is to walk for 30 minutes, and then turn around to walk 30 minutes back.
I stop frequently to take photos on my iPhone, quickly whipping off my glove, and snapping the photos. Then, quickly getting my glove back on, and my phone buried back in my warm pocket.
The light is magical. This is the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge across a frozen Chena River. The Immaculate Conception Parish church is in the background.
We continue walking on the sidewalk beside First Avenue. The street follows the Chena River, where Fairbanks began in 1901 when E.T. Barnette created a temporary trading post on its banks.
You can get a sense of how deep the snow is from this photo of a tourist information sign.
I picture a very different view for June, when there are many visitors walking the same path along the Chena River, minus the snow.
My friend James takes a screen shot of the weather on his phone. Although the temperature is minus 17 degrees F, AccuWeather says it feels like only minus 6 degrees F.
Ha. It is cold, but I have to admit it is not as bad as I thought it would be.
After all, the sun is out and there is no wind.
We keep moving. Both the road and the sidewalks had been cleared of snow, but there was a thin layer of snow on the sidewalk. Both the snow and the air are extremely dry.
I have to stop to take a photo of this church. Later, I learn that it is St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, originally built on this First Avenue site in 1904.
Although the original church building burned in 1947, the wooden altar and other carvings were saved, and were replaced with the present St. Matthew’s Church building.
Once we reached the Aurora Energy power plant, we turned around to head back to our hotel.
This photo was taken at 9:46 am. It shows how the sun is getting higher in the horizon.
Better light equals brighter photos
Heading back to the hotel. I’m cold after this 45+ minute walk, but I’m not miserable. I dressed for the part. The cold, dry air, however, is hard on my skin, and my nose and breathing are affected
Back at the Marriott Springhill Suites, I admire how all of the cars in the parking lot are plugged in.
Later, I see first-hand evidence as to why hockey is likely the more popular outdoor winter sport than basketball in Fairbanks, Alaska.
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