I’ve shocked folks, over the last couple of years, talking about the current temperature here in Chisana, Alaska. People have asked me repeatedly, “How do you stand it?”
The same way everyone else does! LOL, mostly, it is simply clothing and outer-wear. It is understanding the cold. Knowing it and being prepared for it.
Alaska generally, doesn’t even figure “wind-chill” into it’s weather reports, for two reasons. The first is that the temperature would be ridiculous. (Can you imagine being told or having any sort of reference to -110* F below zero??) The second reason is that once the temperature drops to around -30*, wind is rare, here.
Alaska Winter Weather:
0* F is cold, when you are in the field and have to get dressed inside your sleeping bag and get your camp fire started to have that first sip of coffee.
-10* F is the flag of winter coming in the Fall and gets the blood pumping with the promise of Spring.
-20* F is the temperature that separates Sourdough from Cheechako. It’s cold, don’t get me wrong, but it is only the beginning.
-30* F is the cold most complained about. It isn’t as cold as the forties or even the dreaded minus fifty, and it isn’t the windy negative twenties, but it is the cold-cold of not enough severe cold winter gear.
-40* F is the creeping cold. It’s colder – feeling than 50 below. It is the cold that makes the river sound like a war-zone with the ice booms. The negative forties, we work in a lot, and as long as you keep working, it’s fine. When you stop, the cold is dangerous.
-50* F is really cold. It is also spectacularly beautiful. The air is clearer than it ever is, at any other time. It is a different kind of cold. Not so much shivering-cold, it is too cold. The kind of cold that freezes the muscles that you aren’t using (like your jaw), so fast that you don’t notice, until you try to use them (by speaking). It’s the temperature that you don’t fly in. Things freeze and break too easily and the danger of the cold is too great.
-60* F is frigid’ COLD. It’s the kind of cold that you are only doing what has to be done in. Feeding animals and grabbing more firewood off the stack to feed the wood stove. EVERYTHING breaks at sixty below.
Still curious? Wonderful! This is going to be fun and always remember:
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.
~ Alfred Wainwright
Family Friendly Winter Vacations…. may be what you’re dreaming of.