One of my best friends, Jenn from New Hampshire just made her second visit to Fairbanks, this time braving the bitter winter temps in hopes of seeing the aurora. After I picked her up at the airport, we stopped by the University for a photo to document her introduction to the interior’s winter weather.
At the end of January, the sun doesn’t rise until a bit before 10 am, so we had plenty of time to head to Ester Dome to watch the sunrise. It was frigid, but not as bad as in the valley because of the temperature inversion. We managed to get some great views of the Alaska Range and even Denali.
Warm colors over the Alaska Range
Nice clear morning to watch the colors on Denali
It’s kind of unreal to be able to see Denali, the largest mountain in North America from Fairbanks, 150 miles away.
We also went to Chena Lake State Recreation Area in North Pole. It was a blast!
Well, it was about as much fun as you can have at the park in winter while not ice fishing or watching aurora. The light was pretty and I’ve always loved the birch forests there.
Birch forest over the frozen Chena River.
The next day we headed out to the Granite Tors trail in the Chena River Recreation Area. There’s a short 3 mile(ish) loop there that’s easy to do when you don’t have a lot of time. Almost no elevation change, but some great views over the river and the northern taiga forests.
Some open water on the Chena River at the end of January near Granite Tors.
The trail was very well compacted and smooth.
Sun on the hills
Beautiful day for a walk at the Tors trail
It’s fun hiking in the cold. Everything near your face turns to ice.
Frozen laugh – I took this after she faceplanted in the snow after stepping off the invisible boardwalk under the snow. I’m holding those photos for future blackmail.