The locals refer to the current season as "Break Up" which is probably a better descriptor for this time of year. The frozen rivers are breaking up, the snow is (nearly) melted, dirt roads are mud bogs, and filthy cars are the norm. This time last year the so-called Haul Road to the North Slope was flooded over, strangling the oh-so-necessary supply of food, workers, equipment and booze. They are predicting this will happen again.
For us, "break-up" means that it's time to:
1) start watching the Nenana Ice Classic web cam. For $2.50, one can enter a bid of the date and time the ice officially "goes out" (another Alaskan term), as evidenced by this crazily-concocted tripod set upon the river ice which is connected to a digital clock on shore. The pot last year was over $600,000, half of which goes to charity, the other to the winning bidder.
2) find new places to walk Luna, as the normal trails are squishy and gross.
3) prepare for all the sad news articles about people falling through the ice, getting buried by avalanche or having surprise encounters with newly-awakened and hungry bears.
4) dodge the newly-minted Holland America/Princess tour bus drivers practicing their new skills on the local roads.
5) pull out the eye shades because we are officially going to bed before it's dark out.
6) elate at the return of the trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes and songbirds who still love to call northern Alaska their summer home.
7) prepare for the annual Clean Up day when residents head out all over town trash bags to clean up all the garbage which is no longer hidden under snow.
Oh, for the the third season standing, "break-up" for us personally means Collin goes back to a crazy flying schedule.