Spring in Alaska
Spring in Alaska is known as "breakup," because that's
a pretty accurate description of what happens. One day there's
lots of snow on the ground -- gray because it's been there so
long -- and it's bitterly cold. The next day, there's still
lots of snow but it's melting fast and there are puddles everywhere.
It's time for parents to get out their children's "breakup
boots" before sending them off to school.
is melting in the big rivers -- the Yukon, the Kuskokwim, the
Tanana -- and the town of Nenana has been making money off the
fact since 1917. For many years, it has held the Nenana Ice
Classic, which awards a cash prize to the person (or, sometimes,
group) who most closely guesses the time when the ice will go
out on the Tanana River. That moment comes when a tripod on
the river ice moves enough so that a line attached to it stops
a clock on shore. That usually happens in late April or early
Spring, like fall, is one of Alaska's shorter seasons. Its
length depends on what part of the state you're in; in Anchorage,
it often begins in late April when the first carefully nurtured
crocuses appear and ends in early June when the lilacs bloom.
The photos above show Anchorage in the spring from two perspectives.
Both are views of downtown Anchorage. The top photo shows it
as seen from Earthquake Park near International Airport in early
spring when ice has melted in Cook Inlet but snow remains on
the land.The mountains behind the city are the Chugach Mountains.
A suburb, the Hillside, extends up the slopes of some of the
nearer mountains. That's where the second photo, was taken from
-- at 10:30 p.m., just before sunset, in mid-May.