The natural beauty of Alaska in winter is stunning

I was just back from Alaska. My goal to visit Alaska was to see the northern lights! I will let you know at the end how did that go!

Our flight from San Francisco to Anchorage was delayed due to heavy rain the night before thanksgiving. Delta airlines customer support folks were clueless about our options. Some said your flight is still as scheduled, while we were receiving emails and text messages about the delay and instructing us to re-book the next day. At the end we decided to go to the airport anyway. The desk clerk at the airport turned up to more knowledgeable and found us new flights to Los Angeles and then Anchorage. At a delay of 5 hours. We were not happy but that is the best we could get. The other option was to wait until the morning and catch flights at 6 am which I hate. Also, I learned the airlines don’t have to reimburse for hotel stays if the delay is caused by weather!

Anyway, we made it to Anchorage at 5 am. After picking up our luggage we just waited for our rental car in the airport for two hours on the benches (super uncomfortable, and not friendly airport to sleep in). After a short walk to the car rental wing, we picked up our car very quickly. There was a huge fleet of cars, and being November, most were not booked. We had an AWD Kia SUV for roughly $25 per day.

Our rental car

The days in Alaska in November are short, super short. The sun rises at about 9:30 am and sets at 3:30 pm. It is really dark up until 9 am, and it is mostly dark by 5 pm. The sun at midday wasn’t high up as we are used to, that was weird to notice, it looked like it is sunset all day! After wandering around and paying a customary trip to Walmart, we visited the ocean side, and the city seemed to be very quiet. At 3 pm we decided to head to our couchsurfing host. We had a great thanksgiving dinner with them with very knowledgeable bunch of people and an adorable 2 years baby that delighted our evening!

The day after, we were on the move to Fairbanks to see the norther lights. The day was cloudy, so we had very little hope to see the northern lights. Meanwhile, during the day we managed to go visit Chena hot springs. It was very crowded which is expected for a thanksgiving long weekend.

After 2 hours at the outdoor natural hot springs, we had enough and we left to have dinner and then went on a mission to spot the northern lights. Little did we know that the moon was out too! So we had three aligned stars against us: cloudy skies, full moon, and minimal sun activity. So much for planning a norther lights trip!

After driving around for few hours from a spot to another, we decided we had enough, and we went home to our cozy little cottage by the river! In desperation, I woke up at 2 am and went outside to check again, just in case the northern lights decided to show up. Surprise, surprise…actually no surprise! There was still none. I went back to bed slightly disappointed.

Despite not seeing the northern lights, I really enjoyed seeing Alaska in the winter. The snow, cold, and the vastness of the place kinda invoke a sentiment of melancholy and nostalgia! I need to see Alaska in the Summer.


  1. Stefanie

    Excellent photos. Thanks for sharing

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