I have yet to make it to Utqiagvik yet. Covid has put a halt to so many things, this expedition included. That being said, I spent some time a few weeks ago near the Arctic circle in Iceland. I got a taste of the midnight (near) Arctic sun.

    My two children were fascinated to learn that the sun doesn't fully set in the Arctic in the summertime. The "sunset" in Iceland happened around 12:30am, and consisted of a dusky sky, followed by the "sunrise."

    But why? My kids wondered. I explained that if you were to put a pole through the earth from the south pole through the north pole, and then tilted that pole as though you were going to roast the earth like a marshmallow over a fire, you would understand that the earth changes its axial angle throughout the year in relation to the sun.

    My youngest asked me about winters, to which I explained that it is the opposite: Very, very little winter sunshine. Both of my children were disinterested with the thought of six months of darkness.

    Personally, I was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep. I'm a thirty-something year old woman who sleeps with a fan on and curtains drawn tight because I'm such a light sleeper. How would I handle sleeping in a bright campervan for a week straight?

    The answer was: I slept fine. The sleep wasn't the major issue for me. With twenty four hours of daylight, the issue I discovered was that my appetite was zero, and my sleep schedule was completely off. I felt like I could start my day, go on adventures, etc., at any point in the day: Time didn't matter. Hiking at 2am? Why not!? Breakfast at 6pm? Sure! My circadian rhythm was so far off, but I found it to be liberating.

    So, hopefully I will make it to Utqiagvik, and I will already know that the 24-hour Arctic sun won't impact me too much. Keep your fingers crossed!


    Janet Warburton

    Hi Jenn,
    Thanks for posting an update!

    I can't believe that after two years of waiting, you are delayed due to COVID. I hear you are feeling better, which is good! Iceland is amazing! Even though I've lived in the Arctic and Alaska for over 30 years now, my body never gets used to the continuous sun and like you, I find myself doing many things all across the daylight hours. In Alaska, we call it the summer frenzy -- you just go, go, go. I love it! And then when darker days come, I'm relieved that I get to go into hiberation.

    Fingers crossed that you can get to the Arctic, again.