A Travellerspoint blog

Polar what?

I guess you have never been naked in Alaska

sunny -50 °C

OK I have to take a break and address some current events. So apparently in the past few weeks many people, who have never ran around in the snow naked before, freaked out about how cold it was outside. All the commotions in the media vaguely reminded me of The Day After Tomorrow:

"Sir! The polar vortex is upon us! "
"We will have to declare national emergency! We must move everyone south of Indiana! With exception of people in Chicago"
"Yes Sir! We will communicate the order right away! ... wait, why not people from Chicago?"
"Because they think they are tough and can survive any cold weather."

...

"Sir! Reports from the south indicates people are freaking out over white stuff floating in the air!"
"What?! Are we under attack? Is it nuclear fallout??"
"No sir, it's just now."
..facepalm..
"Sir, it is creating massive traffic jams, we can't move any people north of Indiana southward."
"Oh god help us."

(Click on the photos for bigger version and even more photos!)

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For those who never been to Alaska in the middle of January, it is the coldest place on Earth. Once you reach -50C (-60F) your body can no longer detect the difference below that, even if you are naked. The thermometer pictured above proves that there are no temperature below -50C, even the temperature range on the Traverllerspoint blog entry posting proves this.

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It is so cold that even the malamutes starts to howl at night. Actually, they howl because we started doing it, some of the people tried to sleep was not too pleased, but it was a pretty cool sight nonetheless. Although the cold does slow the dogs quite a bit; the same 3 hour journey that took us in the warmer morning to sled, took us almost 5 hours to come back. I had to sing them motivational and upbeat songs to keep them going. I am now a professional singer.

Also to note, malamutes are not the same as huskies. They are built like an ox that can pull ridiculous amount of weight for equally ridiculous amount of time compared their more energetic cousins who are built more like a small race horse. Also, when they jump on you, you will feel quite a big difference.

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Due to some sort of sorcery, the photo above is actually the mid day sun. Not that I am complaining, as it gives the golden light (think photography people) all day long, even it's only 4 hours. There was also a strange halo around the sun, as known as sun dog, which is similar to rainbows, instead of refractions from water dropplets, the colors comes from the orientations of the ice crystals and it is much cooler.... get it? cooler?.... ok I'm done.

Just one last caution, when you dog sled, you do not stop the whole team if any of them needs to go to the bathroom. However, it is highly advisable, from personal experience, that you slow down, so you don't end up with a face full of dog exhausts.

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Posted by btang 20:52 Archived in USA Tagged snow alaska dogs sled cold northern_lights husky dog_sledding sun_dog malamute

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