Before moving to Alaska, winter solstice wasn’t really something on my radar, and we definitely didn’t do anything to celebrate it. However, when you live in a area that gets so little light during this time of year and so much during summer solstice, you start to take notice. As we began our homeschooling journey and started to complete nature studies and study the seasons, I learned more and more about the solstices. Now we try to do something special each year for the winter solstice. This year we created solstice lanterns!

Are you visiting the Anchorage area and want to see some of the waterfalls it has to offer, or are you local and looking for some easy yet stunning hikes? Here are three great options!

Beautiful, whimsical, delicious! Fiddlehead ferns are a sought-after plant with a very small window of harvesting time. These plants had been on my radar for a few years now (mainly because I thought they looked cool) and this year we finally got out at the right time, in an area with an abundance of fiddleheads to forage!

I am all for finding fun excuses to get outside during the winter! Some days it just seems too cold outside and the inside of your house is much more inviting. So on days like this I try to find a fun project to do outside that gets me excited about going out. We try to make snow candy at least once every winter and that is just what we did this week!

In January of 2020 I visited Matanuska Glacier for the first time. Since then I have returned twice, both times with my children. Let me tell you, if you go you won’t be disappointed!

I had first heard about The Nomad last spring. It was right around breakup time. I was so disappointed that I would have to wait almost a full year before it would be safe to visit this location, which is on mudflats. However, the time finally came! Just before New Years we made our way out to The Nomad!

Earlier this month we hit our goal of 1000 hours outside for the year 2020! If you haven’t heard of this challenge, it’s main objective is to get children to match screen time with outdoor time. The average child has 1200 hours of screen time each year! 1000 Hours Outside seeks to shift some of that time towards more productive time spent outdoors!

Often families post online asking for recommendations for a good hike for little ones close to the Anchorage area. My first suggestion is always Reflections lake.
Out of all the hikes we have been on Reflections Lake is likely the one we have visited most often. It is always at the top of my list when suggesting hikes for small children.
Reflections is a 1 mile Loop hike around Reflections Lake and boats amazing views or Pioneer Peak. The trail is mostly flat. Where there are hills, there is usually a path to the side that offers a less steep option. There are multiple rocky/muddy beaches along the trail, benches, and a viewing tower about halfway around. The parking at Reflections Lake is free and there are outhouses available close to the trailhead.

Summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and shortest night. It is the time of year in which earth’s north pole is at its maximum tilt towards the sun, traveling it’s longest path across the sky. This day marks the official start of the summer season.
Solstices are a big deal up here in Alaska. We get around 19 hours of daylight between sunrise and sunset on summer solstice. It is pretty modest compared to what Barrow (Utqiagvik), AK gets (approximately 79 days straight with no sunset). However, I’ll take it. And honestly, even after the official time for sunset it does not become as dark as what most people would consider “night”. It’s more like a twilight.

Recently our playgrounds opened again! We live just down the street from an elementary school and we often visit the playground there. Our first time back on this playground Jasper found a ladybug and his interest in this tiny insect inspired our ladybug nature study.