Arriving on a Bright, Sunny Night in Alaska


Arriving in Fairbanks, Alaska, was one of the strangest arrivals I’ve ever experienced. There was nothing wrong with the landing – it was a smooth (if cramped) flight on Frontier from Denver. But when I arrived at 9:37pm on time to the minute (OK, that was also a little strange), it was just so incredibly bright! I felt as if I had arrived somewhere in the morning on a redeye flight. It was that identical disoriented, groggy feeling, and yet it was nighttime.

I was exhausted, as it was 1:37am New York City time, which was where I had boarded my first flight to Denver at 1:30pm after leaving my house at 11am. So after nearly 14 hours of travel time and 9-10 hours of flight time, I was ready for bed. And darkness. Even though I was in the Land of the Midnight Sun, I didn’t expect the sun to be so… bright. It felt more like morning sun. Maybe it was 9:37am?

As I waited to get my suitcase from the carousel, it felt like the sun got brighter and brighter. And I got more and more tired. By the time we got to the Princess Fairbanks Hotel at 10:30pm (2:30 am EST), all I wanted to do was go to sleep.

Of course, once I dropped off my luggage in my room, the blue skies were calling my camera. The hotel backs onto the quiet Chena River, which is a gorgeous setting. The photo above was taken at 11:05pm. It’s still bright, but the softer light shows that the sun is at least on its way down by then. The sun sets around 1am, but I wouldn’t know exactly what time or what it looks like because I was fast asleep by then. Thanks goodness for thick window shades!

The other striking aspect of my arrival was my shock at how modern the Fairbanks airport is. I was coming from Central Terminal Building of La Guardia Airport, which is one of LGA’s sadder terminals (save for the presence of Todd English’s Figs). The Fairbanks airport is gorgeous! Turns out they completely re-did it last year. I was expecting something rustic a la Grenada.

Comped but never compromised: I’m on an Alaska Twitter Press Trip with Princess Cruises, but I’m free to write whatever I want.

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5 Responses to Arriving on a Bright, Sunny Night in Alaska

  1. Candice June 17, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    One of my Facebook friends keep posting pictures of Anchorage and places nearby…I HAVE to visit! Amazing!

  2. jessiev
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    June 17, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    wow – what gorgeous light!

  3. RennyBA's Terella June 18, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    What a great photo – and report! – from a beautiful place!
    As a Norwegian, I fell almost at home :-)
    Did you know that it’s at the same latitude as Oslo (where I live), meaning since we soon have summer solstice; you’ll have about 19 hours of daylight – enjoy!

  4. Terri P. June 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    I’ve always thought that experiencing the “midnight sun” is something that should be on my to-do list. It’s not exciting or dramatic, but something I just want to see. Lovely photo, btw.

  5. Vera Marie Badertscher
    Twitter: pen4hire
    July 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    I know the feeling exactly, although I haven’t been to Alaska. On a trip to Scandinavia, we experienced it.The Scandinavians were so delighted to have the long dark winter over that they were all out in force. Then we took a train to St. Petersburg, where we were strolling around at eleven p.m. Really strange, since my husband is usually in bed by 8:30.

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