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midnight sun

Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, I spent my summer solstice above the Arctic Circle camping beside the airstrip in Coldfoot. A party, attended by all the young seasonal workers of Coldfoot and neighbouring communities, and which I had no desire to go to, was underway at the not-too-distant river. A constant stream of drunken revelers, returning to the Coldfoot Camp, passed my tent during the night.

The next night, however, I was camping by a river 60 miles down the road and, at 12 o’clock, I left my tent where I was sheltering from clouds of mosquitoes, to salute the midnight sun in its revolution above the Pole.* I stood on a bridge above a fast flowing river with swallows circling my head as the sun shone through a gap in the mountains.

It had been some time now since I had seen the sun set.

The midnight sun on the day after the summer solestice.

The midnight sun on the day after the summer solstice.

Swallows circling at midnight.

Swallows circling at midnight.

There is something immensely exhilarating about existing in an environment of constant sunlight. I would find myself cycling at one o’clock in the morning without feeling in the slightest bit tired. The strangest thing I discovered is that it is impossible to be scared somewhere it doesn’t get dark – but one has to wonder what that bodes for winter.

* Speaking from the perspective of a ‘flat-earther’, it seems as though the sun is circling the sky – I do understand that astronomically that is not exactly what is happening.

{ 6 } Comments

  1. Family on Bikes | July 16, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    That midnight sun is pretty bizarre, eh?? It seems hard to believe that only sllightly more than a year ago, we were exactly where you are. Now we are in Panama, getting ready to cross the Darien Gap into South America. (www.familyonbikes.org)

    Anyway, enjoy your journey south! It’ll be a wild ride!

    Nancy

  2. cass | July 16, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    btw, am riding with an oz guy studying in montana, will be following the great divide ride south of banff. eventually.

  3. cass | July 16, 2009 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    great to read your blog and share your experiences, as that’s what we have coming up. we’re leaving for prudoe tomorrow, via Glenn and Denali Highway to Fairbanks, perhaps stopping off for some mountain biking along the way.
    send me an email – or perhaps we will bump into you!

  4. julie | July 20, 2009 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Hey there anna – what an astonishing experience to salute the midnight sun and take such beautiful photographs at midnight – it raises questions about our perception of time and the seasons which is so much influenced by the rising and setting of the sun and where it is positioned in the sky. As a plant grower I wonder about the plants and how they respond to nearly non stop sun for half the year and then nearly dark for the rest. Great to be part of your experiences!

  5. margie thomas | July 22, 2009 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    Hi anna…you may not remember me but you were staying with Julie and I called in to see her. you answered the door! I am fascinated to read all about your adventures and admire your courage. It’s not every day a person gets the opportunity to do what you are doing. Something to be remembered for the rest of your life. What a different world we all live in. I loved the dolls. Tried to work out all the materials they were made from. Looked all natural to me and none of those commercial things we see here. They certainly had character. Also interested to read about the bond you have made with your bike. ….think a comfortable seat is more than a luxury! Will follow your journey with keen interest and marvel how you have taken up the challenge.
    From Margie Thomas

  6. Irfan | July 25, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    For some reason, this article about a genius bear who has been getting into bear-proof cannisters made me think about you.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/nyregion/25bear.html?_r=1&hp

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